The year was 2000 and PayPal was launched as an innovative new online tool for online payments. Through 2001, it rapidly expanded through its use by eBay and in 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion (a pretty number for back in 2002). We all know PayPal and we’ve all used it. But have we ever loved it? I’m not sure. It’s clunky, the brand feels boring and although at the time, it was revolutionary, it feels to me that it lost some of that innovative edge (or ability to communicate to the public) over the year. Things may have changed.
The company has certainly grown though (19% last year to $7.2b) and amidst rumours that PayPal will split from Ebay, the brand clearly needs to be revitalised for the marketplace, especially if it plans on releasing a range of new products / features.
Ask the people
In 2007, Paypal updated their brand from the original clunky logo to something a little more ‘today’ but it still lacked something. This year, the company performed a perception audit to understand with more clarity what its customers thought and the results were less than impressive. “Over time the PayPal brand identity, having entered the world as an innovator, now in some ways resembles the banking and financial establishment it once challenged,” the company said in a statement. This presents a problem, especially when as a company, you’re looking to launch out on your own (from eBay) and bring a fresh set of products to the market.
A change is as good…
It made sense to act fast and to act now. And that’s what PayPal have done. A new revitalised brand (that doesn’t look like a parking sign anymore) and that engages and resonates as a multi-platform brand looking to enter the world outside of online.
A great re-brand
A great re-brand needs 2 things
- A great story – You need a reason and you need a why. The branding world is littered with countless case studies of re-brands gone wrong because of a lack of effort to explain and tell the story of why (Case in point – The Gap rebrand back in 2010).
- A great roll out strategy – It’s simply not enough to change. You have an incredible opportunity to launch to market with an exciting change for the company. This has tremendous upside potential in opportunity, reinforcing positive sentiment and changing perceptions.
I think PayPal are going in the right direction and I do hope they continue to innovate and bring some fresh new products to market that are consumer focused. Give the people what they want – win wins all round.
Here’s the PayPal rebrand campaign.
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