Rebrand Review: Black & Decker

Two years in the making, Black & Decker has recently revealed their controversial new look.

The old Black & Decker logo (left) vs. the new Black & Decker logo (right).
The old Black & Decker logo (left) vs. the new Black & Decker logo (right).

What was wrong with the old Black & Decker?
For a while, Black & Decker has been a struggling brand. In the minds of power tool consumers, Stanley is the beloved consumer brand and DeWalt is the higher end prosumer brand. Although all three brands are owned by the same company (Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.), Black & Decker has suffered due to the strong market position of the other two brands. While Stanley and DeWalt both have set market positions, Black & Decker has been shuffled around like an awkward middle child; for a while it seemed to be aiming to be the discount brand, but its prices were never much lower than Stanley’s and its products weren’t always up to snuff. Lately, Black & Decker’s strategy seems to have been to flood the market with product variations, which began to harm brand consistency, especially across different product lines such as kitchen appliances, which DeWalt and Stanley don’t even compete in.

An old Black & Decker power drill (left) vs. a new Black & Decker power drill (right).
An old Black & Decker power drill (left) vs. a new Black & Decker power drill (right).

Does the new Black & Decker fix the problem?
While Black & Decker’s problems are three-fold (Lack of brand consistency, lack of strong brand position, and too many product variations), this rebrand aims to fix two of these. First, by creating a simpler and friendlier new logo, Black & Decker hopes to latch onto consumers who are looking for friendly, easy-to-use products. This should separate them from the more “Tough Guy” approaches of Stanley and DeWalt. Secondly, the simpler look should allow Black & Decker to streamline and simplify its actual product design, so that products are more consistent and iconic across different product lines, thus eliminating the need for endless product variations. Whether the product designs will ultimately stick to this strategy remains to be seen.

New Black & Decker packaging for a drill and vacuum. Note how the power tool packaging is mostly black with orange highlights, whereas the vacuum, being a home cleaning product uses a much softer colour palette. This is a good example of the versatility of the new look.
New Black & Decker packaging for a drill and vacuum. Note how the power tool packaging is mostly black with the traditional Black & Decker orange highlights, whereas the vacuum, being a home cleaning product uses a much softer colour palette. This is a good example of the versatility of the new look.

What new problems are introduced?
By abandoning that “Tough Guy” look, Black & Decker are throwing out a tried-and-true recipe for success in the power tool marketplace. Assuming they are aiming for the consumer level with their tools, it could very well pay off, but it’s a risky move that could alienate long time members of their brand community.

This new Black & Decker chainsaw keeps the "Tough Guy" look consumers expect from power tools relatively intact.
This new Black & Decker chainsaw keeps the “Tough Guy” look consumers expect from power tools relatively intact.

Is it an overall improvement?
It’s a risky move, but a definite improvement. Black & Decker now has a solid blueprint to rebuild their brand community upon: a friendly, simple line of consumer power tools and appliances.

This updated vacuum cleaner design showcases the newer, friendlier look for home appliances.
This updated vacuum cleaner design showcases the newer, friendlier look for home appliances.

Do you think the new Black & Decker is an improvement?

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Blade Studio

Featuring news and opinions on the latest rebrands, logos, ads and more from the designers in the Blade Studio.

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