Business Counsel Associates

Rebranding and Repositioning– The Right Brand Strategy Makes All the Difference

February 02, 2012 By: azjogger Category: Financial, Management, Marketing & Sales

By Phillip Davis

As companies grow, product lines expand and market conditions change,  business owners often find themselves with a company brand image that no longer  reflects who they are or what they do. Perhaps they started in a niche market,  or with a very specific product, and built their entire company identity around  it — and the business now serves a different, bigger or more diverse customer  base.

What to do?

A sure symptom of this brand misalignment is the constant need to explain or  clarify what the company really does. Or when an owner pines “We’re more than  just (fill in the service or product category.) At this point, a new brand  strategy is obviously in order, but it begs the question “Do I need to  reposition my company or completely rebrand it?”

Reposition if the name is right but the message is wrong

Repositioning a company makes sense when the company brand name is well  established and not in any way misleading. In other words, it’s not so much an  issue with the identity as it is with the message and focus.  Apple expanded beyond its original core product line of computers, but that  didn’t require a change in their name. They simply dropped the word “Computers”  from their name and shifted their branding to reflect their “Think Different”  philosophy. They no longer position their brand as a “computer company” but more  as a cool, digital lifestyle provider.

Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure felt restricted by their brand image as a  racing school. It affected their approach to advertising, marketing and product  development. After carefully determining their core value proposition, they  re-emerged with the tag line “Full Throttle Living!” The emphasis  shifted from the cars to the experience. And that experience has since been  expanded to include World War II re-enactments and firefighting drills. They now  position themselves as a lifetime adventure company that simulates a day in the  life of an adrenaline-charged professional. That’s a big departure from a racing  school, and that’s the power of repositioning.

Old Spice has made a concerted effort to reposition its brand from a stodgy  aftershave product to a cool, contemporary array of “fragrant man goods.” Their viral video  campaign has served to introduce a whole new audience to this once  old-school cologne.

Rebrand if your company name causes confusion

Rebranding comes into play when the original company identity has grown  outdated, confusing or outright misleading. The owners and staff can all agree  on the brand’s current position and message, but the customer can’t get past the  name itself. CompUSA struggles to brand itself as more than just computers.  Radio Shack remains mentally tethered to an old technology and a dilapidated  building. Burlington Coat Factory sells more than just coats. At some point, the  cost of clarifying a brand becomes such a drag co-efficient that it makes more  sense to start with a clean slate.

Would 3M be recognized as a global leader in innovation if it had remained  The Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company? Popular consumer electronics  company LG rebranded twice, from the original legacy name of Lak-Hui Chemical  Industrial Corporation to Lucky Goldstar, and in 1995 to their current moniker  of LG with the tag line “Life’s Good.”

Repositioning and rebranding keep a company current, relevant and  profitable

Both repositioning and rebranding serve the goal of greater brand clarity.  Repositioning highlights a company’s emerging role and redefines its new  territory in the marketplace, (often while keeping the legacy name in place,  e.g. Apple) Rebranding addresses the outward facing identity of the company,  typically the name and visual components, and helps to alleviate and/or correct  misconceptions about the direction of the business (e.g. 3M and KFC).

Rebranding and/or repositioning offer unique and specific benefits when  applied correctly. Clarifying the brand identity and market position allows  potential customers to place the company in the right mental “box” for easy and  accurate recall. This type of intuitive branding reduces customer confusion,  improves bottom line performance and positions your company for continued  success. With careful consideration, rebranding and repositioning will have your  customers remembering and revisiting you more often.

How about your company? Have you considered or attempted a rebrand? If so,  share the ups and downs of your experience so others can benefit.

Phillip Davis is president and owner of Tungsten Branding, strategic company branding consultants specializing in name development,  rebranding and brand positioning.

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