The evolution of Reebok
University of Bath Spa design student, Kate has been with us this week working on various design briefs and ideas as well as sitting in on various meetings and presentations. Kate has also taken the time to write a blog on one of her favourite brand transformations. Reebok is one of the world’s most recognisable athletic brands and although it has previously changed styles, it has only had two major rebrands since the company was founded in 1895. One of the main elements of a rebrand is changing a company’s image and identity which can lead to completely re-inventing the logo and look of a brand, as Reebok did back in 2014.
The original logo (which was used between 1895 and 1986) included a Union Jack flag, which acknowledged the founding origins of the brand within the United Kingdom. In 1986, both the typography and motif of the brand changed. The motif became a vector shape which was said to represent their target audience at the time, elite athletes.
At the time of the rebrand Reebok stated that as a brand, they have never been able to ‘inspire people to move’, which is what initiated the rebrand in 2014. There has been a rising interest in fitness across social media in recent years due to celebrities, social media influencers and highly visual channels such as Instagram. This may have influenced Reebok to expand their target audience to a wider range of customers as opposed to just focusing on athletes already established in the industry, especially as there is now an increased interest in fitness across multiple platforms.
This rebrand is specifically targeting an audience who are looking for a change in lifestyle or routine and this brand-uplift suggests that Reebok could be the brand that they choose if this is what they are aiming to do. As an audience, we are constantly being reminded of how important our fitness is, so Reebok is showing how their products could make a difference and be beneficial to them within this important subject.
The new Delta symbol, which was the key change in the rebrand, was designed by Reebok to represent three elements of change that can come to a person through increased fitness – physical, mental and social. By doing this, they are suggesting that choosing to use the Rebook brand provides multiple benefits and that their products are suitable for beginners just as much as professionals in the industry.
Not only were they changing their logo, but also changing their target audience and brand reputation. Reebok wanted to be viewed as a fitness brand rather than solely just a sports/athletic brand, growing their range of products and audience. Each of the three symbols used in the Reebok logos over the years, have all been fairly simple, however, this most recent design is even more so by using the Delta Symbol that is based on a triangular shape. By simplifying it even more, it becomes a stronger identity to the brand as it can be applied to a wider range of elements whilst still being as impactful.
Another reason that a company decides to rebrand is not only to remain relevant within the market but to also keep up with other competitor brands within the industry. Reeboks rebrand could be a way of reinventing themselves, like other sports brands such as Adidas and Nike have done, who have also undergone successful rebrands previously.
Although a new logo was introduced, the previous Reebok logos are still being used in ‘classic’ collections which are still being purchased today. Adidas also kept this as an option after a rebrand which has been a massive success, so it is definitely possible Reebok are following this trend and are trying to replicate this success. By keeping previous logos, they are reassuring customers who have already purchased and loved the old products, that they can still be relied on as the brand that they know and trust. This is ensuring they are not alienating the previous audience despite aiming for a new/wider one.
Within months of releasing the new logo design, it was reported that Reebok’s sales had increased by 22%, which resulted in around 9% growth, furthermore suggesting that the rebrand had been successful in what it set out to do. Alongside the rebrand, Reebok released the advertising campaign ‘Be More Human’, which Reebok wanted to dedicate to everyday people who prioritise their fitness. Using both these elements, Reebok are really showcasing their support for people who are motivated to achieve their goals and therefore persuading people that they are the brand to go for and standing out amongst fellow competitors.
My Thoughts to Conclude
My favourite design element is the hidden meaning behind the delta symbol. I think it can be extremely effective when a design can represent something through type or image that is not obviously stated within a design. By using the Delta symbol to represent three elements of fitness, they are showing they are relevant to a wide range of people and are inspiring healthy lifestyles to ‘everyday people’, not just the athletes. I think this will be a successful outlook as the audience will appreciate being put on an equal level as athletes.
In conclusion, this was a rebrand which was intending to expand their audience massively, completely redirecting their target sales to all fitness types. Having only rebranded twice in 119 years it was ultimately needed to realign themselves in the ever-growing industry and by looking at the statistics mentioned above, they have well and truly repositioned themselves within the current market.