Rebranding 101: Avoiding Potential Pitfalls

Rebranding is an essential, yet uncertain marketing strategy to redefine a company’s look and professional image. Rebranding is a common technique that companies use to distinguish themselves from competitors, regain market share or reduce negative press. Rebranding can be difficult if customers are already comfortable with the current image and associated product or services. Rebranding is also risky because it can confuse customers, cost a lot of money and result in potential market share loss. However, following the five tips below will help you avoid risks and reap the rewards of B2B rebranding.

Create a Story

Subway first aired the true story of Jared Fogle in 2000. Jared was an obese man who lost significant weight through his “Subway diet.” After a successful regional ad campaign, Subway launched a national campaign that rebranded itself as a fast food mecca for healthy eating.

Jared, or The Subway Guy, has filmed over 300 commercials and regularly speaks in public about fitness and healthy eating. Today, Subway continues to be popular over traditional fast food restaurants that have not fared well with growing public concerns about the disturbing connections between fast food and health problems.

In fact, Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary “Super-Size Me” is the antithesis of Subway’s successful healthy eating campaign. Consider creating a legitimate success story that highlights the advantages of your brand and company when rebranding. B2B branding is an excellent opportunity to integrate the client needs and clearly demonstrate the benefits of your services.

Rebrand Only If Necessary

The GAP is a popular American clothing and accessories retailer. In 2010, they attempted to redefine their logo with a contemporary design. That is, they changed the familiar white lettered, blue background logo with a bland black lettered, white background logo with a randomly placed small blue box. The public backlash was loud and immediate.

The GAP changed their logo back after only 6 days and the executive who oversaw the change resigned a few months later. Things that aren’t broken do not need to be fixed. The GAP attempted to force change where it just wasn’t needed and was counterproductive. Always perform select testing before implementing national changes. Consider consulting with long-term B2B clients to gauge their reaction and impression of proposed rebranding concepts.

Target the Correct Audience

The success of any marketing campaign depends on the ability to reach the target demographics. For example, Old Spice is a popular brand of male personal hygiene products.

In 2010, they found that over 60 percent of their body washes were actually purchased by women. Original commercials and advertisements were heavily focused on presenting rugged, shirtless men and how women were attracted to them. While this may be appealing to a man, it would have an opposite effect on the majority of women who actually purchase the products for their men.

As a result, Old Spice launched the “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign and within the year had an astounding 200 percent increase in purchases and 300 percent increase in website traffic. Rebranding is an excellent opportunity to refocus on the correct market demographics. B2B rebranding allows companies to adjust to market changes and reach out to new demographics.

Avoid Alienating Clients

Netflix is one of the most popular on-demand internet streaming website providers. Netflix revolutionized how their customers purchase online subscription media content. They have been cited as contributing to the declining market share of traditional multimedia brick and mortar stores. Experts have cited Netflix as being a primary reason behind the bankruptcy filing of the iconic video rental chain Blockbuster.

However, in 2011, Netflix announced they would be splitting into two companies and thus would be raising prices by 60 percent. As a result, Netflix reported an almost 90 percent decline in profits in 2012. In addition to this, Netflix has lost almost one million subscribers. The illogical move to split into two different companies with less convenient services at higher costs was a foolish business blunder it ended up costing the company significant revenue and alienated countless loyal customers. Always rebrand with the client’s best interests in mind. B2B rebranding must involve a continuation of excellent benefits and services to clients.

Integrate Rebranding into the Marketing Strategy

Radio Shack is an electronics retail chain that became popular during the 1960’s but recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Before this happened, Radio Shack implemented different strategies to avoid financial losses, such as corporate layoffs, canceling the employee stock purchase program and re-assigning or firing poorly performing managers.

After these attempts failed miserably, Radio Shack attempted a risky rebranding. However, all they did was merely rename themselves “The Shack” without any additional products, services or even changes to their overall business strategy. Rebranding is a critical part of the overall marketing strategy and cannot just be implemented alone. It is imperative that any B2B rebranding be integrated with other expanded services, benefits and customer service improvements.

In conclusion, companies can avoid common rebranding pitfalls through creating a backstory, rebranding only if necessary, targeting the correct demographics, avoiding alienating customers and integrating rebranding into the overall marketing strategy.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics, an online order fulfillment supplier.


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