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Rebranding: Turning Over A New Leaf
Indranil Gupta explains the art of rebranding with real life examples
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
It is generally believed that you undertake rebranding when there’s a problem or an opportunity. If a brand is facing an uphill task in the marketplace and needs extra firepower to garner fresh attention and evaluation, then rebranding is an inevitability. If a brand wishes to capitalize on a new positioning, or register a post-merger evolution, or make an impact on a new customer segment, rebranding is the answer.
Either way, a rebrand is tougher to pull off as compared to a fresh branding exercise. Every decision taken involves embracing the new versus sacrificing the tried and tested… the prospect of turning on customers to be evaluated against the risk of turning them off. Remember New Coke?
A rebranding exercise, often undertaken to register magic on external audiences, needs to involve, and can galvanize, employees. Rebranding provides the opportunity to amend or rescript afresh an organization’s culture, if this is a strategic need. More than being a graphic makeover in logo or packaging design, rebranding should be undertaken in a holistic way that prioritizes socio-psycho-physiological changes over the purely cosmetic ones.
One example stands tall as a comprehensive, historic rebrand… when Andersen Consulting changed over to Accenture (to gain independence from Arthur Andersen) at the turn of the 21st century. Some may recall the teaser ad. It featured a partially torn Andersen Consulting logo, and the headline said: ‘Renamed. Reborn. Redefined. 01.01.01.’ Thereafter followed the famous Accenture campaign “High Performance. Redefined.” with the new brand logo, “>” symbolizing the aspiration of becoming greater.
Tech Mahindra, upon its merger with Mahindra Satyam, needed to rebrand as a changed entity poised to offer new solutions, new product lines and services beyond the Tech Mahindra’s erstwhile offering. A new philosophy (Connected World, Connected Solutions), a refreshed identity and new company culture emerged, serving to register presence among a broader external audience, and integrating employees from two different entities under one umbrella.
To quote a well-known brand consultant, a rebrand marks the end of the brand as it was. Brand repositioning helps you rework the current brand to make it more competitive. In Accenture’s case, repositioning accompanied the rebranding. Amul’s transition from ‘Utterly Butterly Amul’ to ‘The Taste of India’ was repositioning without rebranding. In a brand refresh you adjust the brand code to pursue new opportunities. Indian Express’s ‘Indian Intelligent’ foray from its erstwhile fearless, honest integrity platform exemplifies refreshing to speak to today’s readers and layering an already established image.
Rebranding is radical; you can’t settle for a half-way house. It should be put into motion only if accompanied by significant changes in business and culture.
Rebranding comes with a responsibility… it seems exciting, but you need to get it right. Choose a rebranding timeframe when things are more within control, preferably not when the business is on a steep downturn or when the market is in a recessionary grip. It will only add to the pressures a rebrand brings.
Successful rebranding comes from a buy-in from all stakeholders. You need to have on board a cross-functional team of internal champions who command respect to participate in the build-up to the rebrand. Make it an inclusive and engaged process. You need all egos to be working for you, and not against.
A brand is owned by people after all, and if strategy is the art of sacrifice, then what people need to give up needs to be compensated by what they believe they stand to gain. Turning over a new leaf can and should always be inspirational.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.