People have an aversion to change. It can prevent growth, feed risk aversion and hold people back. This puts businesses in a precarious situation when it’s time to rebrand and embrace a more modern version of the company – customers have already developed an emotional connection to your brand and will likely take issue with any change.

In 2010, Gap unveiled a new logo in an effort to refresh its brand. The public outcry over the decision was so great, the company switched back to their old logo just a few days after the announcement. The way Gap handled its rebrand was disastrous and shows that rebrands gone wrong can have a major impact on business.

Rebecca Horan, a brand strategist who’s worked for Penguin Random House, Unilever and NYU Stern, said rebranding your business is a good idea so long as it’s done right. Slack, the popular workplace communication platform, recently unveiled its new logo and brand strategy, prompting a big discussion among users.

“There have been studies on this, and people generally dislike rebrands,” Horan said. “I think they did a lot of things right, actually. I’m generally in favor of it – they had to simplify a bit.”

Slack didn’t do everything right, but there are some major takeaways for businesses considering an overhaul to brand identity.

Slack’s original logo, the octothorpe (or hashtag/pound sign), was created before the company launched. It involved 11 different colors and had to be angled at a perfect 18 degrees. As the company grew from a small communication platform to a global force in workplace productivity, it needed a brand refresh that would differentiate it from competitors and set the tone for the company’s future. Horan said Slack’s rebrand focused on building longevity, establishing brand consistency and maintaining its original brand identity.

“They’re growing up – they got this IPO coming up,” she said. “They’ve definitely gone through a lot of growth and they’re not in their infancy anymore; this reflects that.”

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