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Want to Do a Rebrand Right? Take a Look at American Airlines

On Jan. 17, American Airlines created a sonic blast when it launched its first major rebrand since 1968.


Newspapers, design blogs, and advertising and PR firms have all been atwitter with different reactions — is the new logo as iconic as the previous one? What about the company’s continued internal problems? And what will those new uniforms look like? At TSC headquarters, we were particularly taken with two aspects of the rebrand: the fancy new tail paint …


… and the intelligence and forethought that went into the way in which the brand was unveiled.

Say what you want about the look, the timing and the appropriateness of the new brand launch — you can’t deny that the execution of the rebrand was flawless. Consider this:

  • The launch date was seamless. New planes, a new logo, a new website and a new PR video were all released on the same day for maximum market impact.
  • American Airlines AAdvantage members received personalized emails detailing how their experience would change and how it would remain the same.
  • Executives had responses to questions prepared and ready before the launch, giving them the ability to make timely, on-brand responses.

So what does this have to do with you?

At The Starr Conspiracy, we believe in taking an “inside-out” approach to the rebrand process.

  • For a successful rebrand communication process, start with your employees. They are the ones who will be your brand ambassadors, and they are the ones who need to understand the company’s branding goals from the inside out. Internal documents, PowerPoints and in-person presentations can all give employees the inside track on your new brand so they can get on board before the launch.
  • Next, explain your new branding direction to your most valued customers and clients. People already familiar with your brand will need to feel that they are getting the best version of something they like and that they’re welcome along for the ride. E-blasts and social media can create buzz for brand loyalists and give them a feeling of being “in the know,” which will help them remain loyal to you through any changes.
  • Lastly, address the general public. This is what American Airlines did well — by late January, there was no doubt that the new AA was here to stay. The new brand launch was well prepared, thorough and completely clear. There should be no confusion for consumers at the end of the process.

The purpose of a rebrand is to alter public perception, create greater brand presence and inspire trust. Only time will tell if the rebrand will help American Airlines’ bottom line, but it has already succeeded in starting a conversation. Well done, AA.

If you want to kick off your rebrand in style, get in touch — we know a thing or two about doing a rebrand right.