This Job Board Proves Bad Branding Decisions Aren’t Exclusive to Silicon Valley

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Rebranding was big news last week. In case you missed it, popular photo app Instagram radically changed its look. They went from the relatively ubiquitous Polaroid-style imagery to something more akin to, well, OK, it looks like a rainbow puked on it.

Ugly aside (and slightly disturbing aside), brands exist to retain and hold a place in the human brain for as long as possible. Most rebranding efforts are minimal, as shocking your customer base is typically a no-no.

Well-known branding expert Laura Reis sums up Instagram move pretty well.

Two questions. One, why would you ever even think about changing a logo that has turned into an iconic visual hammer for your brand? Two, if you were to be so stupid why would you change it to this?

Another popular Valley brand, Uber, made a similar move this year as well, meeting quite a bit of criticism, moving from the well-known, serif “U” to what looks like a backward “C.”

These moves seem to be reactions to a bored marketing department or an ad agency looking for billable hours instead of sounds decision-making. The trap of believing “everyone knows who we are” or “we need a shake-up” is a dangerous, yet too common mistake.

In light of Instagram and Uber, it’s no surprise the employment industry makes similar brain-dead moves. Enter CareerBuilder.

An industry stalwart, launching in the mid-‘90s, CareerBuilder’s orange and blue imagery has always been a competitive contrast to Monster’s purple. As other color schemes and startups in the space came and went, the orange and blue “C” and “B” were easily recognizable in places like trade shows.

September 2015, CareerBuilder dumped their branding in favor of a “C” that reminds me of the Simon memory game of the late ’70s, in addition to their font and orange-blue color scheme, in favor of, wait for it, black.

It’s been almost a year since CareerBuilder made this change, and I’m still not used to the new look. And I live-and-breath this stuff. I’m just shocked they made such a move and haven’t gone back to what I’m so used to with a “just joking.”

Monster put Trumpasaurus out to pasture many moons ago. Simply Hired, a provider headquartered in the Valley, moved away from their “SH,” neon greenish, Web 2.0 branding a few years ago too. CareerBuilder is not alone.

But it’s a trend that needs to stop. Keeping up with every new bell-and-whistle and product launch in the expo hall is hard enough for hiring managers to track without major players mixing things up.

Coke was smart enough to euthanize “New” Coke in the ’80s and revert back to its old recipe, adding “Classic” to the 100-year-old branding. I’ll be so bold to say CareerBuilder’s move is akin to Coke’s faux pas 30 years ago.

Only moving to CareerBuilder “Classic” will make me feel better.


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