Weekly Re-Brand #15: The Bay

Welcome to the Blade Weekly Re-Brand, a place for us to take a quick look at some of the rebranding going on in the world and give a quick impression of what went right and what went wrong.

Yesterday, The Bay unveiled a new name and look for their retail stores, likely in response to Target’s recent move into Canada.

The old The Bay logo (left) vs. the new Hudson's Bay logo (right).
The old The Bay logo (left) vs. the new Hudson’s Bay logo (right).

What was wrong with the old The Bay?
The Bay has a tendency to rely on its Canadian heritage (even though it’s now an American-owned company) to pull in shoppers, unlike Target, which uses great deals as its main draw. Over time, this has led to a loss of customers due to the changes in the economy, a lack of differentiation from other department stores, and a general sense that, even though there’s a Canadian name above the door, the company is now American and very little of the goods sold are produced in Canada.

“We’ve taken what is a very meaningful two-pronged approach to the redesign: maintaining our heritage while modernizing the new Hudson’s Bay Company. It’s a throwback to our remarkable history and an image for the direction we’re heading in.”

Tony Smith, Creative Director, HBC

Does the new version fix the problem?
The new logo attempts to capitalize on the draw of The Bay’s Canadian heritage by returning to The Hudson’s Bay Company’s classic coat of arms design. The essence of the re-brand seems to be a doubling-down on reliance of the Canadian heritage, in order to inspire a sense of patriotism in shoppers so that they’ll shop at The Bay and avoid ‘foreign’ brands such as Target.

The updated Hudson's Bay website.
The updated Hudson’s Bay website.

What new problems have been introduced?
The Bay’s yellow ribbon ‘B’ can be seen from many blocks away, and this new logo is nowhere near as bold and as such won’t be seen from such distances. Such a radical change in the wordmark will also take some time for consumers to adjust to.

Is it an overall improvement?
The look is certainly classier, and it does play up the Canadian heritage well. It remains to be seen if it will work on consumers, however. It will also be interesting to see if The Bay incorporates any more substantial changes to their business. An updated logo can be a great signifier of change, but a change in the logo alone rarely does the trick.

Is the new Hudson's Bay an improvement?

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