The year in review: branding in 2009

Friday, 15 January 2010 19:49

When it comes to brand in 2009, what made the headlines, changed the way we think about brand strategy, raged through controversy and broke all the paradigms previously know? Here's our top ten.

Obama and the reinvention of the America brand

FutureBrand's fifth annual Country Brand Index report, where countries are ranked similarly to how retail brands are ranked, the United States took the top spot for the first time.


iSnack: Vegemite + cream cheese. Somehow the branding of a new Vegemite product became something everyone had an opinion on. It was universally derided, becoming a viral phenomenon, spawning blogs, clogging email inboxes and earning inclusion in the Urban Dictionary.

It took a while for Australians to calm down from the red hot emotions that messing with a major national icon draws.

Social Media

2009 was the year of the social media mantra. They may have been in our lives before the year's start, but 2009 cemented the power of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as essential communication tools for individuals and businesses alike. Success stories such as Dell, Zappos, Ikea were held up as the future of online brand communication. The two way street is now open.


The City of Melbourne refreshed its identity, bringing in a new identity system to represent Melbourne as the modern, vibrant and hip city that it is.

The type selection is unconventional and helps set the city apart from all the international cities that sport lowercase sans serifs.

The M logo is quite avant garde, but manages to come across as progressive and defining. The identity has a strong impact and suprising adabptability.

The Tiger Woods Brand

Tiger Woods went from having a personal brand conveying wholesomeness, stability and well-roundedness, to untouchable status (for now).

Many of his corporate sponsors have abandoned him, while Nike who have practically built their entire golf brand around him have no choice but to stay on board with Woods. This highlights the risk inherent in aligning a company brand with a celebrity brand.

Bausch + Lomb

The new identity is clean, bright, and modern. The highlighted + sign conveys medical associations. Transparency has been used, suggesting liquids (a good linkage with one of their key products - contact lense solution).


When it comes to building brand awareness, nobody comes close to Apple. In 2009 they solidified the association between Apple and the mobile market through the app market that's grown around the iPhone. And all the while keeping people guessing over their upcoming slate.

Lesson Learned: Great products create great brands.


As ANZ looks set to penetrate deeper into Asian markets, they felt a need for a new identity.

The central shape of the new logo is said to represent ANZ's three geographic markets - Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia Pacific. Particularly as they move into non-English speaking markets, a need was felt to have a graphic secondary device to make non linguistic recognition easier.


Tropicana rebranded to a public uproar. Faithful consumers across the US were suddenly unable to recognise the new Tropicana as actually being Tropicana. In an unusually dramatic move, the company simply reverted to their original packaging and brand, and issued an apology.


2009 saw a further proliferation of Google brands. With tens of Google products, there was a real need to provide differentiation whilst retaining the Google association.

Consistency has been achieved by providing product names in clean blue lower case letters alongside the Google logo.