How a Rebrand Can Unlock New Product Innovation

As I was unloading a third different Chobani product from my grocery bags the other day, it struck me how the Chobani brand has transformed over the past few years.

What, do you not spend your days reflecting on your grocery haul?

Chobani used to be just another yogurt option in the lineup at the store. Stark, loud words yelling at you from the shelf, all jostling to communicate flavor, texture, caloric intake, and health benefits on a small container. And if that wasn’t enough, Oikos added national treasure John Stamos as its spokesperson. Then in 2016, the Chobani brand went through a complete overhaul, and it has since unleashed a slew of new products.

In reality, nothing about Chobani’s products changed in 2016, nor did anything about the company itself. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, has built a notoriously generous company — in 2016, he gave all employees shares of the company to benefit from any future successes together. And clearly, that was a sign he was banking on some major growth from that point forward.

This is how a rebrand unlocks a new type of opportunity: it changes what you think is possible and makes innovation easier to fit into your story. It changes how you see yourself.  How others see you. And that changes how you behave.

A rebrand unlocks a new type of opportunity: it changes what you think is possible and makes innovation easier to fit into your story.

The before and after of Chobani’s wordmark.

Since the rebrand in 2016, Chobani has released a dizzying lineup of new products, including: oat milk, an oat drink barista blend, greek yogurt with oats on the bottom, a line of coffee creamers, oatmeal cups, probiotic plant-based drinks, a lactose-free line of food and drinks, and many more. Chobani created a refreshed, cohesive brand identity that allowed them to stand out in market while still communicating their unique company philosophy and cementing themselves as a leader in their category, and has since made room for them to pull out of sight from the competition.

Chobani’s visual identity moodboard.

You might be wondering, what does this have to do with digital products? After all, digital products don’t have actual shelf space to take up.

We can look at a consumer product like Chobani to see how a rebrand can have the same effect in the digital space. Brands are never a one-and-done, just like your product. Brands grow and change with your company, but it doesn’t have to be reactive; your brand can lead the way. A rebrand can unleash product innovation by giving you a fresh perspective to see yourself, and your value, differently. While competition and a macro-trend towards greek yogurt helped fuel Chobani’s rebrand (thanks Uncle Jesse), the value it actually provided was alignment to where Chobani needed to head, new product opportunities, and scalability.

While competition and a macro-trend towards greek yogurt helped fuel Chobani’s rebrand, the value it actually provided was alignment to where Chobani needed to head, new product opportunities, and scalability.

Your brand identity impacts all areas of your business, from sales and marketing to UX and development. Your brand also drives the perception of your business and this perception impacts every decision your buyers make. A rebrand can unleash new product innovation and inspire a new product strategy you never would have considered.

As you consider whether your digital product’s brand needs an overhaul, consider:

  • Does our brand align to the core values our product provides today?
  • Is our brand something we understand and rally around internally?
  • Does our brand speak uniquely amongst the competitors that occupy the same digital shelf space?
  • Can our brand encourage product innovation?