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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Six Good Reason To Rebrand:
Rebranding Is Not a Cure-all

Should your company rebrand? Rebranding is expensive, and it takes time away from other essential activities. Before rebranding, ask, "What problem are we trying to solve by rebranding?" A sharp drop in sales may be the result of product defects or poor service. Rebranding will not solve this problem. Also weigh the costs/benefits and the impact of a new brand on your stakeholders.

Legitimate Reasons for Rebranding

Companies rebrand because of

  • A new focus--Kronos Incorporated, Lowell, Massachusetts, was a manufacturer of time clocks when it was founded in 1977. Now most of its revenue comes from software and services. Kronos, IBM, and other companies that transition from hardware to software and services usually rebrand.
  • A name that is unclear or confusing--a Massachusetts non-profit, Art beCAUSE, was rebranded FindTheCause to emphasize the organization's special mission: funding breast cancer research.
  • An offensive name, logo, or slogan--The high school in Natick, Massachusetts, changed its sports teams' name and logo from Redmen to Redhawks, to avoid the appearance of ethnic stereotyping.
  • Products that don't meet current standards for safety or healthy eating--In such cases redesigning the product and then rebranding it make sense. Could this be the future of Campbell Soup?
  • A name that reflects an obsolete corporate structure--Companies that spun off from Eastern States Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey insisted on replacing ESSO, the company's acronym, with a more neutral name. The company adopted the EXXON name, which later became EXXONMobil.
  • A desire to enter a new market--iRobot originally developed Roomba, the first robotic vacuum cleaner. Later it added commercial and military products, which required a different approach. Walmart, Staples, and other retail stores have added an online presence and then rebranded.

Rebranding is not a simple process. Companies should first explore why the process is necessary; what it will take in time, expertise, and money; what the likely effects will be; and whether the company should use their resources for other purposes.

Winett Associates helps companies
understand their customers and markets.

Copyright © 6/18 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.


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