Losing Brand Equity with Radical Packaging Changes

In branding, there’s a pretty basic guideline: don’t change your branding signals (colors, look and feel, packaging, logos, etc.) so much that customers won’t be able to recognize them. There is valuable brand equity invested in a brand’s visual identity and it can be lost if the changes go too far.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I noticed that Tropicana orange juice recently changed its packaging. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the changes may have gone too far.

The first sign of a problem came when I couldn’t find the cartons of Tropicana juice even when I had them in front of me. I had to ask an associate and he pointed them out to me.

Here’s a visual of their packaging both before and after.

Not only is the new look so bland that it can be confused with a cheap private label store brand, but Tropicana’s most important branding signal: the orange with the red and white straw (possibly one of the most brilliant logos of all time) is nowhere on the package!

The characteristic typeface of the Tropicana logo has also been replaced with a boring font that almost looks like the ubiquitous Arial.

So much has changed in Tropicana’s packaging that a competitor Florida’s Natural now looks more like the old Tropicana than the current version.

Whoops. They definitely dropped the ball here.

I wonder how many people will grab this other brand thinking that it is Tropicana, and if this package change will end up costing Pepsico (Tropicana’s parent company) significant sales (I would think so).

Think about this before you make changes to your brand’s trade dress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 + 10 =