Icons that endure in time: Carbonell’s gypsy

When is the right time to make a rebranding?

It’s hard to stay up to date in an era where everything changes so quickly. The changes also involve large investments and an effort from consumers to adopt them. But if a brand gets stuck in the past and stays intact for too long, it risks being forgotten and dying in the minds of its hard-earned audience.

Big brands make changes to their image with some frequency, even if their identity is already well recognized by the public. To change is to evolve and, although the current identity is acceptable, we can always improve it and adapt it to what the public is looking for (sometimes without even knowing it). In fact, some say that a company’s corporate identity should change approximately every five years.

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, or McDonald’s have made changes in their image that have involved huge investments, as was also the case with the rebranding of the Spanish post institution Correos. Carried out by the well-known Summa agency, this project meant an investment of 250,000€. And, without a doubt, they have been necessary changes.

But there are symbols or icons that are so ingrained in the consumer’s mind, that removing them or simply modifying them can be very risky. It is the case of Carbonell and the renowned «cordobesa» gypsy woman that has been representing the brand in all its packaging for 150 years. What would become of this renowned brand of oil without it?

Precisely as Francisco Rionda, ex Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of Deoleo commented on the ReasonWhy podcast, this has been a topic of debate in the company on numerous occasions.

When is it too late to remove a symbol rooted in a brand? Perhaps when that symbol can represent the brand even taken out of context and without being attached to the logo. Carbonell’s label is easily identified among its competitors, even if we placed it in new packaging. So why risk innovating with her? That should be the question that has gone unanswered after many conversations at the brand’s offices. So much so, that despite having undergone changes to the logo, Carbonell’s protagonist has remained intact.

Innovating is a necessity, yes, but we have to know what elements we can innovate with. In this case, the consumer will accept new packaging, changes to the logo, new shades, or product ranges. But there is one thing you are not willing to let go: the symbol of the gypsy that represents so much the tradition of olive oil. Something so Spanish we can’t let it go.

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