Take a brand, that embodies strength and muscle and turn it around to become more accessible, a standard household name. Sounds like a big leap, but for Black and Decker, a rebrand is crucial to staying relevant to the 21st century consumer. Founded in 1910, Black and Decker is definitely a well-known power tool and miscellaneous parts provider. They started out as a factory era company that produced machines for making milk bottle caps.
Now, the American factory boom is a distant memory and Black and Decker is focused on becoming a household must-have for everyone (not just the power-tool lovers). They’ve expanded and are now offering everything from coffee makers to vacuums (and yes, still power tools). So, it was time for the Black and Decker logo to change. That once relevant nut icon is no longer representative of the wide array of products Black and Decker sells. The typeface was outdated and spoke only to fans of the brand that already liked, knew, and trusted its products.
To revamp their image, Black and Decker enlisted NY based design firm Lippincott, famous for stripping the Starbucks name from the iconic cups. Just like Starbucks, Black and Decker has a lot of brand recognition and equity. But unlike Starbucks, there is not a large and varied population that has a real connection with the brand. The current brand loyalists are fairly predictable, and represent a small margin of the population. Today, Black and Decker is almost at the bottom of the barrel for power tools sales, and because of that they are seen as unreliable. Brands like DeWalt dominate the market, and so the less-informed consumer sees Black and Decker as the fall back option.
Staying true to their tried and true strategy, Lippincott simplified Black and Decker’s brand to portray high-end reliability in the modern power tools market. Besides updating the logo, Black and Decker has also overhauled their packaging. The old packaging contained a lot of information stuffed into small spaces. Of course, the information was useful in the pre-smartphone era when consumers relied on the packaging for point-of-purchase information. Now that consumers can learn everything they want to know and more about a product right in the store with just a tap of their finger, Black and Decker is simplifying their packaging to make the product the hero. The new packaging places the most important information front and center, grabbing the consumer’s attention. And most importantly, the brand no longer looks like their products are only for people into power and muscle. The new aesthetic is clean, modern, and accessible while still maintaining the image of power and reliability.
While we love the new sleek, streamlined Black and Decker they may run into problems with differentiation. Other brands like Braun or Bosch have also branded themselves as modern and streamlined.
And, of course, not every brand benefits from stripping down to bare bones. As more and more brands seek to find their contemporary and minimal look, it’s important to remember that your consumer and the evolution of your products will more often than not speak for your brand. Black and Decker, having expanded to vacuums and coffee makers, knew that their logo with the nut icon was no longer a fit. If you’re thinking about rebranding your company, consider your competition’s efforts and what will resonate with your consumers. Hint: it may not be modern and minimalist.