Sci Fi/Syfy Rebrand a Year Later


Sci Fi/Syfy Rebrand a Year Later: Did It Work?: Branding and good design are necessary for even the strongest company. However, a cult classic cable television station cannot expect to overhaul their image without a lot of protest. This is what happened to the popular SciFi Channel last year. The network shifted gears, changing the spelling of their name to SyFy and revamping their logo design and almost all of their visuals.

The spelling and most of the changes seemed to be an attempt to stay relevant as well as to embrace a widening range of offerings on the network. While Sci Fi means only one thing, SyFy is a little broader and a little more space age. It has a modern feeling (have you ever noticed all the Y’s in baby names lately?). A new tagline encouraged viewers to ‘imagine greater’ while the new 3D logo design was more serious and adult –and less purple—than its predecessor.

This wasn’t merely a new name and TV channel logo; it was the beginning of an entirely new brand. Marketing and public image for SyFy have both substantially changed since the switch. The new SyFy is a little less geeky and a lot more sleek and futuristic. This has the potential to be a positive change over the long term, but negative feedback was to be expected. Customers are rarely open to change, not at first as least. The real test of a new brand is how it looks a year and a decade later.

A year later, there is no real controversy over the brand, although few can forget the bad press that erupted when the change was first announced. SyFy decided wisely that ‘any press is good press’ and let their critics wail away. They stuck with their decision—anything else would have been admitting failure—and accepted criticism with good natured acceptance but absolutely no concession. Even as critics and protesters on the internet worked up to a fever pitch, the network launched a new and space age ad campaign to give their new brand and logo design increased exposure. Meanwhile, they kept augmenting their line-up with excellent new shows. Fans might complain, but they were doing so with their eyes glued to the screen of the very network they were protesting.

The result is that the rebrand was a success. Few people a year later even remember the outcry, and even the most dedicated Sci Fi fans have bought into the new SyFy network. In retrospect, it was time for a change. The logo design smacked of the nineties and the brand failed to represent the new lineup of shows the channel planned to release.

Many companies want a bold and controversial brand, with a catchy logo design to match. We all want to give people something to buzz about. However, few are willing to follow through when the talk hits the fan. In this case, SyFy did the right thing. They accepted criticism but didn’t bow to it, and proceeded to show their viewing audience why the new SyFy was going to be even better than the old. A year, the new brand has seamlessly replaced the old, which can only be called a success.