We believe their approach works because
- they knew what problem needed solving before the rebrand. There is no point to rebranding just for the sake of it. Clear objectives are a must.
- they took a long, careful look at their core consumer (C1) and made the difficult decision to focus more specifically on the core's needs.
- they respected the roots of the Gatorade brand and considered its role within the company (C2)
- they understood that it was crucial to distinguish themselves from competitors (C3) in a truly meaningful way.
In short, the Gatorade team kept its eye on all three Cs.
Just as important, though, they walked the talk. Everything that the new brand stands for is evident in every part of the business - from the product line to where they advertise. Sound strategy is absolutely critical, but committed execution wins the game.
Fast Company (required reading in our office) shares more of the background and particulars in its article, "How to Redefine a Flagging Brand."