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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Baskin-Robbins rebrands as Baskin-Robbins

After 77 years, ice cream kingpin Baskin-Robbins has decided it’s time for some changes.

No, it’s not doing anything really oddball like adding hummus to the menu. (Yes, I’m looking at you Dunkin’.) Instead, the company has decided to tweak its logo, employee uniforms and packaging to update the brand. Along with the rebranding rollout, the company has plans to sell merchandise, including bikes and bucket hats, from a dedicated online store for the first time as well as unveil several brand-new ice cream new flavors.

Baskin-Robbins last rebranded (sort of) way back in 2006 when it created a new “BR” logo incorporating the number “31,” a nod to its longtime slogan as the purveyor of thirty-one flavors of ice cream. When the company was founded by brothers-in-law Irvine “Irv” Robbins and Burton “Burt” Baskin founded the ice cream company in 1945 and then named “Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream” in 1953, it also introduced the concept of a different flavor for every day of the month. Hence, there were 31. Of course, there have long been more than 31 flavors, but this was the branding fiction maintained by the company to encourage finicky consumers to return for something different.

Originally, the Baskin-Robbins logo was based in circus and clown imagery and used the colors pink and blue prominently. The letters “BR” and the words “Baskin Robbins” were printed in a blocky, childish font. However, the new logo has replaced those design elements with a much crisper version relying on a color scheme combining brown and pink, brown and blue, and pink and white.

With more than 7,700 Baskin-Robbins stores open globally, the rebranding won’t come cheap. Luckily, the COVID-19 pandemic was good for ice cream sales. Baskin-Robbins is privately held and doesn’t publicly disclose sales figures, but it has shared the fact that sales grew 3.5% in 2020, and 10.9% last year.

Baskin-Robbins already has hundreds of flavors in its portfolio, but the rebranding will rely in part on three new limited-time flavors, including Non-Dairy Mint Chocochunk, Totally Unwrapped, made with peanut butter and chocolate ice creams, caramel swirls, fudge-covered pretzels, and fudge and caramel covered peanuts, and Ube Coconut Swirl, a flavor made with coconut and ube (a purple yam) ice creams with ube-flavored swirls.

Baskin-Robbins is hoping that its new look, flavors and merchandise will help keep that momentum going.

WHY IT MATTERS. Rebranding is not a new concept. Soft drink manufacturers Coca-Cola and Pepsi have done it numerous times over the life of their respective brands and they still are two of the best known brands around the world. In the U.S., changing attitudes about race and gender relations have led companies to change branding for popular products like maple syrup, instant rice, and prepackaged baked goods, all, arguably, to the betterment of the brands formerly known as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Betty Crocker.

Admittedly, it’s important for brands like Baskin-Robbins to always be attracting younger consumers, drawing on the ever-present pool of new customers, and the company has long been associated with consumers who have fond memories of visiting with parents and grandparents. Without new customers, the old customer base will eventually shrink and then vanish altogether.

But rebranding can be tricky. Just ask the folks over at Dunkin’ where most of the donut company’s standalone retail stores still carry previous iterations of the brand, including the iconic double D logo, the slogan “America runs on Dunkin’,” and even the name Dunkin’ Donuts. Done right, it can enhance a brand. Done wrong and it can destroy it.

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