You are probably familiar with this scenario, or have read about it somewhere. Company rebrands and rolls out new logo, color palette, templates, a corporate font, new taglines, potentially packaging and decals, ads, and web site. Employees had front row seats to all this, vision and mission statement included.
It is an expensive endeavor, as you can imagine. A worthwhile effort done for the right reasons -- like a merger/acquisition/consolidation/evolution or to reflect how customers view the business.
Customers do care about the brand, yes even when it comes to banks -- see Wachovia becoming Wells Fargo (two completely different identities in terms of culture reflected in business practices), ING Direct becoming Capital One 360 (ditto 3x), Commerce Bancorp, Inc. becoming TD Bank (closer in culture).
The FedEx rebrand from FederalExpress, including the clever arrow between the "E" and the "x" of the new logo, is to this day the most well-known and the most successful at once. As customers, we said "FedEx" instead of using the longer name. Easier and faster to say. For an overnight -- when it has to positively be there the next day -- service, it made much more sense. A breakdown of the story and the corporate matrix here.
Building a better product is what got Harley Davidson out of the 80s funk. Brand reputation improved, sales lifted. If you have a product or service problem, fixing that will go a very long way.
Apple computer dropped "computer" from its name in 2007 as it introduced the first iPhone (I still have the brick.) Prior to that, the multicolor apple became more subtle based on the design direction for the company's hardware.
Starbucks logo evolved over time from black to green, from very detailed to simpler and borderless. The connection we can make to what it communicates is not difficult to make -- greener, as well as more easily recognizable from a distance.
True connections answer the why question.
How about Tropicana, SciFy Channel, Radio Shack trying hard with the Shack, Aol. period, Xfinity? Did the changes make sense? Or were they the product of business insecurity? Looking outside, when we should be looking inside.
When the London 2012 Olympic games logo was rolled out it did create a conversation of Olympic proportions. So there is that.