A Camel is a Horse Designed by a Committee: Succeeding with a Rebrand Initiative

Often in re-branding, the core message and structure of a brand is lost in the crowd. During a rebranding initiative, multiple parties understandably want to have their voice heard and their opinion counted. Unfortunately, the old adage “a camel is a horse designed by a committee” is often a true depiction of the outcome of group-think and its impact on redefining a brand.Succeeding with a Rebrand Initiative

In large numbers, people tend to become less productive and decisive as important decisions and insights get overshadowed by too many voices and possibilities. Despite the commonality of business decisions being made by several parties, when it comes to your brand, less is more.

Branding without fail

Picture a committee tasked with designing the very first smart phone: 25 people are seated around a long conference table, trying to decide what “smart” means and choosing all the features required to fit in with that definition. It’s easy to see how such a group can get carried away with being everything to everyone and land on the nightmare of an over-designed product. Like designing a product, designing a brand requires a strategic approach that may fall victim to a number of obstacles.

Planning out a re-branding strategy can be a steep hill to climb, but you can improve the hike with a few helpful tips on what to avoid when facing this challenge.

Large groups

Heard the phrase “mob mentality”? Hive-mind is a natural part of human behavior, but may stymie the creativity that could be gained from smaller gatherings. Often people find it easier to agree on what has been said in favor of struggling for an independent voice among a dozen others.

Additionally, synchronizing many schedules can be painstaking and costly, while logistics for a smaller group allow for more timeliness and efficiency.


Planning a brand and making the right decisions for its creative direction does not need to be a democratic process.  Pleasing everyone in the group means making compromises and allowing for overdesigning when each person has to be satisfied with the end result. Choosing a strong leader to make the final decisions will help to stay focused on what is best for the brand.

Us vs. Them mindset

Crafting a brand is often about collaboration; when the task is left to a small group or agency to later present their work to a client, the end result should come as no surprise. The most successful branding is cultivated with respectful feedback and trust. Don’t fall into the trap of viewing the other side as an enemy that must be subdued.

Selling upstream

Real change, particularly with brand identity, cannot be seen through from the lowest ranks to the top of the tower. It isn’t uncommon that before your efforts get off the ground, a higher up will take issue with the project and impede progress. Transforming a brand should be authorized from the highest level and delegated appropriately to a skilled team. This order of communication is essential to the successful implementation of a brand.

Ultimately, a successfully re-branding initiative often requires companies take a different approach than they do for most other decisions. Re-branding is a tricky process and is one that is often met with difficulty by companies of all sizes. Thankfully, however,  by cutting out a large group, centralizing the decision making process, maintaining an atmosphere of collaboration, and initializing the change with authority, brands can successfully navigate the re-branding process and emerge stronger than before.

About Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson is the chief strategist and co-founder of Matchstic, a brand identity agency, founded in 2003 in Atlanta, GA. A native Atlantan, Craig graduated from Georgia State University and has worked on the business side of creative, starting with managing musicians and moving on to become business arm of Matchstic. His vision for the company was to create a place where smart creatives could thrive and produce work that generates real change for business. A current member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, Craig was named to the Top 40 Under 40 business leaders in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle at the age of 31.