What is Rebranding?
Rebranding is a marketing strategy whereby the company adopts a new name, new logo, design or a combination of these to develop a new & differentiated identity of its own in the minds of investors, competitors and customers. Sometimes, rebranding is only about changing the logo or a name change whereas at times it involves a radical change of the look & feel of the brand and the themes used in all marketing collaterals.
Rebranding can be best described with the phrase: “Old wine in a new bottle.”
A company thinks of rebranding as a strategy to change perceptions without changing the business. This might be an intentional move or come as a reaction to an unplanned adverse situation. A company may apply this to a new product launched within the same brand or to re market an existing mature product or in order to reposition itself or a product in the market.
Types of Rebranding
When planning to rebrand a company must determine the extent of it. This further depends on the reason of rebranding.
There might be a situation where the company is well established since years, but is outdated as per current market situations. In such a case modification in the existing product or service or launch of a new product altogether is required as rebranding. That is, in partial rebranding the existing established brand name need not be disturbed; rather subtle changes to update it or make it competitive with the current market scenario are required.
Total rebranding happens in the case of a merger, a failed brand or in case a company wants to re-establish a lost image. In all these cases, the company wants to erase the old brand identity & replace it with a completely new image.
Brand known as Maison Orphee is a clear example of total rebranding. Maker of oils, mustards, sea salts & vinegar, found difficult to position itself amongst the upmarket packaged products. The company opted for a total rebranding & changed complete look of the containers & bottles & adopted a higher-end label design. The company scrapped all sub-brands and sold all products under the same brand name.
In current market scenario, many companies find relevant to take a relook at their brand in order to make it more relevant to the consumers & ever changing markets. A successful rebranding project can make or break the brand image of a company.
Rebranding is not a magical formula that will automatically lead to higher profits. Rather, it is complete methodical process which should be carried on in a subtle manner. Rebranding of a brand name or brand image should be carried out in a manner that does not affect the existing customer base in order to attract new customers.
Many big corporations like Citigroup, American Express hire third parties or vendors specialized in brand strategy. Companies invest heavily into rebranding because it is assumed to give long term benefits in terms of new customer acquisition & improved market presence and perception.
There are many reasons of why companies opt for rebranding. These reasons vary from company to company. A few such reasons are listed below:
1 Create some differentiation/ Competition driven
In today’s competitive world, companies have to repeatedly try innovative techniques to attract new customers & retain existing customers. There is an urge to create differentiation from the competitor to attract customers. Unless the company has a unique product or service to offer to public, it faces a threat of being lost in the crowd. To create an image & differentiate its product or service offering from its competitors’ the company needs to rebrand itself.
2 Elimination of a negative image
Rebranding might be a reactive approach of a company owing to a negative past. In other words, rebranding might be opted for, by a company to avoid or shed off its negative image and thus falling growth rates. Accenture, earlier known as Andersen Consulting is an apt example of this type of rebranding. Due to a bad past associated with its parent company (Arthur Andresen), Andresen Consulting initially separated from its parent company & later was renamed as Accenture.
3 Lost market share
Another reason company thinks of rebranding is a lost or dipping market share. In other words, brands that lose market share to competitors look at rebranding as a solution.
Rebranding of Apple computers to Apple is the best example of this. Steve Jobs not only change the name of the company but also added a new & fresh theme to it by using a tag line, “Think Different”. This allowed the company to not only sell products other than computers but also took it to new heights.
4 Merger & acquisition or legal issues
At times rebranding occurs due to internal restructuring, M & A with or by another company or due to some legal issues within the company. Brands like Pricewaterhouse coopers & Lucent Technologies are born out of M & A. As far as legal issues are concerned, trademarks are often the root cause of rebranding.
All the above reasons of rebranding are reactive to a particular situation that has already occurred. As a reaction to a particular incidence or series of incidences companies adopt rebranding. But at the same time there are certain proactive reasons also because of which companies consider rebranding. Following are a few such reasons:
Growth & profitability
A company might consider rebranding at the time of expansion, especially in the international market. The company might consider consolidation of various sub brands in one single brand to save money & bring a consistency.
Starting a new line of business
When a company enters into a new line of business that is not in same lines of its existing business, rebranding might prove to be helpful. This might involve a little tweaking in the name or theme of the existing brand to make customers aware of the extension.
Catering to a new audience
Imagine a fast food chain entering into traditional food society or state. The brand will have to adapt itself to cater to the new audience. Rebranding might be a solution to this.
A company might consider rebranding to make it relevant to consumers who might not be finding it relevant in current market conditions. For example, yellow pages shifted to the digital source to make itself more relevant & acceptable to the current net savvy consumer.
Whatever may be the reason, a corporation or company must approach rebranding with caution. Rebranding must not disturb the existing customer base of the company in question, Since the customers have a connection with existing brand, rebranding should not make them shift.
Further, rebranding is neither easy in the process nor cost. It involves a complete change of brand logos, signage, marketing collaterals, digital presence, etc. If outsourced to a specialist, it becomes all the more expensive. Thus, during the process of rebranding every department should be involved. This should not be considered as merely a marketing function. Entire workforce should be passionate about the new look & new brand.