We scoured the country for brands that underwent extreme makeovers and found five that looked great to us. Then we put them to the experts for the test. Here's what they said about the "afters"--and what you need to keep in mind when planning your own great makeover.
Lynette Xanders: founder, Wild Alchemy, a Portland, Oregon, branding and research firm
Karen Post: the Branding Diva, a Tampa, Florida, branding consultant and author of Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers' Minds
Jeff Fisher: founder, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, a Portland, Oregon, design firm, and author of Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands
Founder: John Lee, 48
Behind the makeover: After Ubiq opened its Walnut Street location in 2004, Lee decided it needed a 2007 renovation more in line with the hip, urban feel of the $2 million athletic shoe and clothing retail brand. He worked with New York City design firm Architecture at Large to make the store feel like a cool place with a luxe attitude.
What the Experts Say
Lynette Xanders: This redesign works for me. Both ends of the spectrum--industrial/modern and warm/rustic--seem to have been ramped up. However, I feel [like] the store experience is ungrounded in terms of tying the look and feel of the place to the brand: the icon, colors, tag line, etc.
Jeff Fisher: Ubiq did a great job of recognizing the increasing sophistication of its target market and needs to implement subtle improvements over time to avoid having to do another major makeover in the near future.
Karen Post: I wish this store were in my neighborhood. If hip and urban was the goal, the new environment tells that story.
What's key here is that the décor and space are merely the foundation of this brand experience. What the employees are wearing, what the packaging is like and how it leverages the senses are the true glue.