Rebranding Strategy: The ABCs of Rebranding Google


Google made us uncomfortable!


When the third most valuable brand in the world [Forbes, 2015] announces a surprise rebranding, people notice.


On a recent midsummer Silicon Valley afternoon, the Co-founder and CEO of Google morphed into the CEO of Alphabet before our eyes. What’s Alphabet, we wondered?


Larry Page opened his official blog post saying, “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”




 Image via



“Uncomfortably excited” is a state of mind that Googlers are well familiar with; they say it comes up frequently during internal meetings. When Larry Page addressed the graduating class of the University of Michigan in 2009, he counseled, “Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.”[1]






“We Do Search”


With the perspective of a few days and hundreds of pieces of content produced by Google observers, the picture came into focus. People realized that Google wasn’t disappearing (audible sigh of relief), but rather that Alphabet was born to give Google the space to be Google. The bottom line is that from a consumer perspective, it’s business as usual!



 Googles Products



Google is a search engine and an advertising platform. And clearly, it’s a cash cow — which has everything to do with funding the next big breakthrough and nothing to do with Google’s (um, Alphabet’s) next passion project, whatever it may be.


As an obscure campus startup, Google’s mission was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Two years on, Google AdWords launched with 350 customers.[2] Overwhelming success has been declared in the blink of an eye, in about one and a half decades.


The authors of “The Google Story” discussed the profound impact of the founders’ vision to make all web-based information searchable via PageRank algorithms, comparing it to the first mechanical printing press in 1440. They wrote, “Not since Gutenberg…has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”[3]



The Google Story By David A Vise



“We do search,” was the core of Google’s philosophy as expressed in its original “Ten Things We Know to Be True”[4] document. However last winter, Larry Page said, “Google has ‘outgrown’ its 14-year-old mission statement.”[5]


So, on second thoughts, no one  should have been surprised by Google’s big announcement. In October 2014, Page laid it out in an interview with the FT,[6] expressing his desire to step away from daily chores at the colossal search engine. “The world’s most powerful internet company is ready to trade the cash from its search engine monopoly for a slice of the next century’s technological bonanza,” is how the FT put it. 




Spelling it Out


Alphabet is about brand innovation. When Larry Page titled his announcement “G is for Google,” the implication is that it leaves another 25 letters for Alphabet to dream big.






Several of the spaces on the virtual Scrabble board have already been filled in: Life Sciences, working on the glucose-sensing contact lens; Calico, focused on longevity; Nest for smart-home products; Fiber for super-connectivity and whatever words are played next, sometimes via acquisition.


Google X is the think tank for moonshots, artificial intelligence, robotics, longevity, health advancements, biotech, self-driving cars and smart glasses. Google Ventures re-invests.


It’s all about staying “uncomfortably excited” and attracting the best minds for collective ideation.






Brand Architecture : A House of Brands


Alphabet is now an umbrella for one of the largest brands we’ve known. From a brand architecture perspective, Google bucks the trend of the last decade which has seen large brands consolidate toward a single ‘brand house’ approach e.g. Unilever (2004), P&G (2011), Coca-Cola (2015). Google is doing the opposite by creating a ‘house of brands.’


The scale of Google’s size and scope demands a more efficient approach for managing multiple brands with different cultures, complex mergers and acquisitions, innovation, brand sub-cultures whilst satisfying Wall Street demands for accountability.


As an article published in the Harvard Business Review points out:

“…the financial returns of the search engine and advertising business could not be observed separately from the investments in all of the new businesses. The new structure ensures that there will be, at a minimum, independent accounting numbers produced for the Google business, and perhaps for the others as well.”


The Alphabet umbrella brand also reduces risk in terms of brand reputation management, with risk being ring-fenced around each individual brand and its own CEO within the ‘house of brands’. Alphabet will be much less vulnerable to major scandal or irregularity and it will also not be a consumer brand.


The point of a ‘house of brands’ structure is that the corporate brand becomes essentially invisible to the outside world, only relevant to senior employees and investors. How clever is Google?




What are the Branding Takeaways?


For smaller businesses, it’s more advantageous to manage a single brand or ‘brand house’ with one budget, one culture, one organisational structure, one employer, one leadership team and so on.


At first blush, the immediate branding Alphabet/Google learnings or takeaways from their initial announcement, for any size company or organisation, are as follows:


1)    Continually evaluate your core business, product or service and re-evaluate ancillary revenue streams, products and services to remain properly focused. [Note: Apple’s Steve Jobs used to tell Larry Page that he was trying to do too much. Page told Jobs that Apple wasn’t doing enough.]


2)    Secondly, re-visit your mission statement. It doesn’t belong in a box file in a drawer, but in a frame on the wall at reception and in the lunch room. Dust it off and discuss it, make it the heart of your business, a living breathing, authencitic expression of who you are and what you do and the true reason why you do what you do.



Mission Drives The Business Gapingvoid 

Image via, Hugh MacLeod




3)    Not every hiccup or even a crisis requires a rebrand, sometimes a brand health check is one of the most useful tools to protect your most valuable asset. Talk to us. 


4)    Does your existing brand name properly represent your business today and into the future or has it become something of a misnomer as your business has grown and evolved? Do you need some help re-evaluating your brand name relevance?


Larry Page explained the decision behind their new name.

“We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!”


Rebrands happen. For a number of reasons, they can be an exceptionally good move at the right time for the right reasons. We’re here to help.



You may also like:


• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?


• Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


• Brand Renaming: Name and Tagline Change Considerations


• Brand Audit: When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation    


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand 


• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


• CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?




Are you getting uncomfortably excited about your own business? Or just excited? Let us know what you think about these questions that pop into your mind as we ponder the changing Google landscape.




  • How can I know whether a rebrand will help or hurt my business and its reputation?



  •  How can I budget properly for all that a rebranding entails?


  • Are there potentially moments in the life of a business when a brand health check or rebrand is the right strategy, even when the company is performing well, like Google?



[1] Larry Page’s University of Michigan commencement address


[3] Vise, David, and Malseed, Mark. The Google Story, Delta Publ. (2006)


[5] Samuel Gibbs (November 3, 2014) The Guardian.

[6] Richard Waters (October 2014) Financial Times.





Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

The differences between a tired, old, has-been of a brand and a fresh, lithe and provocative one can be boiled down to a singular concept: storytelling. The art of telling a story, and telling it well, is integral to grabbing every potential customer’s attention, and a key part of your brand strategy.


An evocative narrative can also help your brand hold that attention. When your brand engages the hopes, dreams, aspirations, empathy, sense of humour and so forth — in short, the emotions of your clients — you stand a much greater chance of retaining those individuals attention, and being remembered by them, because they relate to your message and you have enriched their lives in a small but meaningful way.


Who doesn’t like to be surprised by a strange news story, or to laugh at a clever series of jokes strung together in a pithy YouTube video?


For these reasons and more, content marketing has taken its place at the top of the food chain, with every business feeding this great, omnipotent entity. called 2014 the “Year of the Story” due to the explosive rise of content marketing, and other modern forms of brand storytelling.


The venerable institution of the Harvard Business Review recently published a piece on the power great storytelling has over the human brain. With so much compelling evidence about the absolute importance of storytelling, and its growing prevalence, you might agree that its worth incorporating this dynamic tool into your rebranding strategy.



We Have Always Been Storytellers

Ever since humankind was composed entirely of hunters and gatherers, we have been congregating around campfires to keep warm, to be in good company and to while away the nighttime hours with storytelling.


Before we even learn to speak, we giggle gleefully at the cadence and colour of a good yarn told by our parents or grandparents. As each of us matures, we seek out more and more complex tales. That pursuit is part of what makes us human.


Stories provide shelter from the proverbial cold nights of human existence; they give each of us much needed catharsis. We have used many media to relate powerful, emotionally-charged stories over the millennia of human existence: cave paintings, tablets, parchment, novels, novellas, newspapers and, now, the Internet. What does storytelling look like on the Internet?



The Top 5 Components of a Great Brand Story


The secret to success in the elegant art of storytelling lies in understanding its fundamental components. Though by no means comprehensive, what follows is a breakdown of some major elements that any good story should include. These are in fact some of the key ingredients we incorporate in our Story Selling System™ used when developing our clients’ brand stories:


1. The Call

Also known as the outset or journey, this beginning is integral to the life of a story because it provides the reader/viewer/listener with the seeds of a theme that will grow over the course of the story. Rites of passage, the first pangs of a heady romance or a simple scene of a family at home each will set the stage for what is to come in that particular story. In other words, they provide the essential “why.”

2. Colourful Characters

Every story needs a cast of full-bodied, three-dimensional heroes/heroines, sages/gurus, villain, foils, clowns and so on. Research shows that character-driven stories with strong emotional content result in better understanding of key messages and stronger recall weeks later.

3. Setting the Scene

Next the teller will build upon the beginning by showing what “a day in the life” is like. Establishing the “norm” is critical to a good story, because you need to strike a balance before you can upset it.

4. Adversity

The difference between a great story and a simple anecdote is conflict. Conflict leads to struggle and strife, the expression of fears, failures and frustration. Uncertainty and self-doubt, among many other narrative tools, allow the storyteller to build up tension and, thus, excitement with sustained listener attention.

5. The Breakthrough

Also called the climax of a story, this is the part where, in branding terms, you make the conversion. After an enticing beginning, the introduction of a wonderful cast, setting the scene and building up tension through adversity, the climax represents the apex of conflict. Then occurs the breakthrough, that moment when, at last, we achieve resolution. This element is necessary to the successful conclusion of a story because it provides catharsis, which is the big reason we seek to escape through stories in the first place.



The Humanity of Brand Storytelling

A study published by the University of California, Berkeley, found that oxytocin is the neurochemical that makes it possible for human beings to experience empathy and take a voyage of the mind by reading, watching or listening to stories.


Character-driven tales resonate with the human brain on the deepest levels. To effectively translate this information to aid your rebranding initiatives, first know that oxytocin is also responsible for the human impulses of cooperation and charity. That makes sense, because these drives naturally derive from our ability to empathize.


This empathy is not limited to real-world (i.e. nonfictional) people, either. Our brains’ production of oxytocin ensures that we emulate the feelings the characters on the screen or on the page are feeling. In a tragedy, we are right there with the hero, grieving for the loss of his mother. An action-packed adventure liberates us from the mundane and makes us feel like we really are Indiana Jones, swooping in to steal an ancient artifact.


The most important, and often unspoken, rule of storytelling is that you must tell human-scale stories, because doing so humanizes your brand. You will have found a winning rebranding strategy if you can manage to instill your brand’s core values, mission, vision, promise, experience and personality into believable human characters.


A perfect example of this is Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” ad campaign. This ad perfectly targets the aspirations of real, everyday people, and thus the brand is powerfully related to our common struggles, making us much more likely to pay attention and, eventually, buy the product.






Unifying Branding and Storytelling

Video content marketing: 2012-2013 video was one of the fastest growing segments. Everyone now has a device that you can access good, high quality video from just about anywhere. Videos don’t need to be that expensive either. Sure, you need high end video, but telling a strong story through a video series is very powerful. Viral video does not equal content marketing, but a tool thereof. What you really want is to be shared, which requires an integrated approach. Consistently tell a story that enables customers to do something. Some stories are most effectively told through video, and more and more will fall under this category in the future.

Here is a great, short video by Joe Pulizzi to explain further.






The Personal Touch

A wonderful, multipart video ad campaign is Progressive Insurance’s “Small Business Tips,” which answers questions that any small business owner might have. Part one focuses on where to naturally find your ideal hires, showcasing short clips of a restaurant followed by the tip itself: “fish where the fish are.”


In just 39 seconds, this video tells a micro story which sets up the “why,” establishes conflict (finding those hires) and ultimately resolves the problem with the tip, the lesson learned.





Another type of cutting-edge and clever marketing is the interactive video. An advertisement for the Subaru Forester, entitled “The Big Night,” takes viewers on a visual journey during which they have to make choices. These may be technically simple, as the style boils down to “yes or no” or multiple choice. However, by putting the prospect into the role of a detective of sorts, he or she clicks through the mini-adventure out of curiosity.



 Subaru The Big Night 600px

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By the time the advert is over, the prospective customer has learned a lot about the Forester’s features but the experience was so seamless that he or she doesn’t even know that that information has been woven into his or her mind.




A Picture is Worth… You Know the Rest

In line with the video brand storytelling, a powerful way to evoke the emotions of your audience is to share your message in the form of eye-catching brand collateral or graphics and pictures. Whether inspiring, thought-provoking, comical, anything in between or any combination thereof, visual content marketing is on the rise.


We all know the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but there is a reason it’s considered a cliché: the sentiment is indisputably true. A great example of this would be the Panera Bread’s Pinterest page, which the company keeps constantly updated with not only hi-definition pictures of its products but also self-care and crafting tips, among other topics, all of which reflect the brands story and values while continuing to resonate with is constantly growing list of followers — now at over 40,000.



Panera Bread Pinterest 600px



No matter what angle you go for when creating and publishing your brand story through a visual content marketing campaign, just be sure that your approach is share-worthy yet human, personal and specific, yet primed for mass consumption.


The best part of telling a brand story well is that relating to your customer on a personal level is precisely what gives it the potential for universal appeal. We all, fundamentally, are endowed with the same capacity to love, fear, to be joyful or melancholy. Storytelling, in essence, unites us with the rest of humankind.




Storytelling Can Serve any Brand

Whether your brand is big or small, new to the market or an established behemoth, storytelling for the purposes of branding or rebranding is a really powerful tool that is easily accessible to you.


Instagram is free to use; a recurring blog with regular, fresh content can be put in place choosing from a plethora of hosting sites; and video blogs or mini-series can be put up on YouTube, Vimeo or your own website. The most important thing though is to ensure you are consistent across all your chosen brand platforms, channels and touchpoints.


Your brand story and how it expresses itself be must congruent and authentic in how it reflects your brand personality, values, vision, mission, promise and experience offered.


With so many apps and avenues to choose from, the hardest part might be choosing the one most suited to your brand strategy and primary target audience. The trick to successfully implementing brand storytelling to invigorate or reinvigorate your brand is to uncover what makes your brand truly unique and amplifying the elements that bring that special brand DNA to life through your brand storytelling.


In other words, what is your story? How can it be related to the struggles of everyday people (i.e. your customers)? How does your brand solve their problems and meet their needs?


Would you be better served by posting a series of captivating storytelling images, a customer testimonial backed by invigorating music or a short personable message from one of the leaders in your company, adding that invaluable human touch?


Brand storytelling helps businesses grow, increases brand awareness and most importantly helps increase profitability so what’s stopping you from telling your own brand story and bringing it to life in a way that really captures the imagination of your primary customer?


You may also like:

Brand Story: The Key Ingredients to What Makes it Compelling


Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


FMCG Branding: Top 4 Tips for Competing Profitably Against Own Label Brands


Brand Resurgence: 4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Comebacks


So what do you think?


• How does your rebranding strategy incorporate storytelling?


• What ad campaign do you remember well because it incorporated brand storytelling so successfully?


• Does your branding strategy incorporate the top 5 components of great storytelling?


• Could your brand’s adverts use more empathetic storytelling?


• Are your adverts strongly tied to your brand identity?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new startup company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.


Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand. It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.


   Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px



Getting your branding right, from the beginning, is particularly important when you consider it typically costs far more in the long run to rebrand again in the future, if you do it badly the first time, and that’s assuming you even get a second chance.


To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market. These are actionable points you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand — product or service — to market.



Top 10 Tips for Branding Success


1. Evaluate and Develop Your Brand Message

The strongest, most successful brands have a consistent message that encapsulates what the brand stands for, its promise and the expected customer experience. Your brand message should ‘show and tell’ your customers who you are through your brand story, and what defines your company—what you stand for and why you’re different, as well as what they can expect when they interact with your brand. They should be able to experience ‘what your brand stands for’ in a real tangible sense, as part of the brand experience.


Actions speak louder than words, so your brand will only be successful if you give your customers a compelling reason to buy through your brands mission, vision, values, promise and so forth. Your brand values and promise, the reasons ‘why’ you do what you do, must be a fully ‘livable experience’ within everything in your business both internally and externally from a customer perspective.

To use the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.’


Developing a strong foundation for your brand is vital to the planning and execution of your successful brand strategy.

Consider these important points:

  • What are the needs or problems of your customers?
  • How does your brand fulfill those needs or solve those problems?
  • What values and qualities are important to your brand and your primary customer?
  • What type of experience do you want associated with your brand?
  • How will your brand enhance your primary customer’s life
  • Does it make their lives easier?
  • How will your brand make your customers feel? What do you want them to feel?


Note: People buy with emotion (regardless of gender) and justify with rational so you need to tap into their emotional needs as much as their rational needs if you want your brand to be successful.


In evaluating these attributes, amongst others, you need to ensure your brand message is clear, authentic, relevant, and unique. We use the Personality Profile Performer™ system to identify, develop and articulate all the key factors mentioned, amongst others.



2. Define Your Brand Vision

How do you want your brand to be seen or perceived? Establishing the distinctive character attributes of your brand, together with how it sees the world and how the world perceives it, will help you launch with a strong consistent brand platform that captures the right audience.


Successful brands have a life of their own in the sense that they’re humanized entities through the personality and characteristics they portray. To be successful you’ll need to develop a clear mental image of what your brand is all about — it’s vision — together with its’ persona or character attributes before your launch.


Whether you’re going for adventurous, reliable, timeless, sophisticated, fun and youthful, or innovative and cutting-edge, create and develop your vision for your brand and incorporate it consistently into all your brand touch points or channels and brand collateral.



3. Get Your Employees Involved

Successful brands start from the inside out. As a well established business, entrepreneur or new startup, you have the opportunity to ensure your entire team is engaged and on board with your brand, prior to the revitalization and re-launch or new introduction to market.


This process is just as important if you are revitalizing an established brand or launching a new brand to market. Your team can provide invaluable insights and the more you involve them in the process the more likely they are to embrace it, take ownership and act as catalysts for change by being early adopters of new cultural behaviours throughout the business. Your brand promise is far more likely to be carried consistently across the customer experience if everyone believes in it and really lives it in everything they do.



4. Research and Develop an Intimate Knowledge of Your Customers

50% plus of marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that don’t influence the purchasing decisions of top customers (Source: McKinsey&Company). Find out what really matter to your customers.


It’s impossible to target a brand audience if you don’t know who that audience is or what they want. If you want to make your brand compelling you have to know what matters to your customers and the only way to really establish that is to conduct research.


This can include aspects of you customer such as demographics—the age group(s), gender(s), socioeconomics, geographic locations, what they have in common, what motivates them and so forth if preferences are not strictly age related and other relevant categorical factors that help define your ideal customer.


Do some test marketing or research into identifying your target demographics, and then find out what appeals to them—their needs and desires, and the problems your brand can help them solve.


It’s also important to consider developing Buyer Personas or Pen Portraits of your ideal customer to help you shape your branding strategy. The combination of both Buyer Personas and market research or limited test run service or production run (if you’re selling a physical product) can provide you with invaluable insights. These can then help you develop and plan your branding strategy specifically tailored to meet your customers real needs, particularly when you incorporate these customer motivations into your brand collateral and various branding platforms and brand experience.



5. Evaluate, Benchmark and Rate Your Competition

A brand audit or market research prior to re-launching or launching a new brand is critical not just for your target audience, but also for your competitors. You need to know what type of competition you’re facing in your intended market, and find out what they do well and where they may be lacking. Their weaknesses are your opportunities, potentially providing you with gaps in the market that you can leverage to your advantage.


Once you’ve identified your competitors’ weak points or areas of poor customer satisfaction, you may be able to build a brand niche on fulfilling those unmet needs for your customers. The ability to differentiate from the competition, be that perceived or actual, is key to a thriving and successful brand. By carrying out a comprehensive competitive analysis and brand audit of your market sector, you can build differentiation into your brand from the start.






6. Review Your Brand Concept for Usefulness

Some new companies make the mistake of launching a brand based on hype, touting their products as “new and different” or relying on surface factors (such as beautiful packaging or a stunning logo) in order to capitalize on the brand. However, if the actual products or services are not high quality and really enhancing the lives of their customers in a way that tangibly matters to them, the brand will fail.


The best brands fulfill a customer need or desire, or solve problems that other brands don’t. There are many forms this fulfillment can take, whether it’s true innovation, a new twist on an existing line, or even perceived value that is higher than the competition—but the core quality must be there for any of these strategies to succeed. This is where audience targeting can be crucial, as it can take some time to identify the right demographics for your brand to serve.



7. Design a Distinctive Brand Identity

Truthfully, obtaining perfection is an impossible goal—but your brand logo should be as close to perfect as you can get when you launch a new brand. Your brand logo design is the central identifier or visual component of any brand, and a great logo can be a powerful tool for success. Think of iconic brand logos that are instantly recognizable: the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, the Olympic rings, the Mercedes-Benz three-point star or Virgin. All of these logos help convey the values and qualities of the brands they stand for, and foster brand visibility and loyalty.


   Virgin Logo 600px

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Take the time to create a brand logo that is unique, clean and strong, and succinctly expresses your brand, and what it stands for, at a glance. When used consistently, a compelling and recognizable brand logo will support the drive for brand success.



8. Let Your Passions Shine

Whether you’re a long established business launching a new brand, a seasoned entrepreneur or an uninitiated start-up you are uniquely positioned to infuse your new brand with the passion that led to the launch of your business.


All of the enthusiasm and excitement that went into creating your company should be poured into your brand development and messaging with the same passion. This will enable you to build an authentic brand that connects with your customers and evokes emotion—which in turn fosters loyalty, repeat purchase and referral for brand success.



9. Develop and Commit to Your Brand Promise—and Never Break it

Every successful brand comes with a promise to its customers. For example, Johnson & Johnson baby products makes a promise to parents that the brand will care for their baby’s sensitive skin like no other. Domino’s Pizza promises that its customers will have their orders delivered in 30 minutes or less—and reinforces that promise with a money-back guarantee.


What will your brand promise your customers? It is essential to not only define your brand promise, but to keep it every time, with every customer interaction. Brands that break their promises quickly fall out of favour and struggle to stay afloat in the market.





10. Maintain Your Brand Consistency

Finally, successful brands are unfailingly consistent—across every customer channel, every brand touch point, and every piece of brand collateral. Brand consistency means infusing every aspect of your brand, from packaging to marketing to in-store, customer facing staff or online experiences, with the values and promise your brand stands for.


It’s about far more than maintaining your corporate colours in your marketing material (although that aspect is also absolutely essential too and the reason Brand Style Guides are created). Being consistent should extend throughout your brand presentation, communication, and customer service. Creating a single impression for your brand from the beginning enables you to quickly increase visibility and recognition, and develop a loyal customer base who will spread your brand message for you.


Strong, engaging, and consistent branding is the critical foundation that supports all of your marketing activities, and drives the success for your company. Use a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ to get a great started with a well-defined brand that meets the needs of your target audience and outshines your competition, and you’ll enjoy a long and successful branding experience.


You may also like:


Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand


Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?


Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?



So, what do you think?


• What excites you about launching a new brand? What are the challenges you believe you’ll face for your new brand?


• How well do you understand the requirements of your new brand messaging?


• Who is your ideal customer? What are the specific demographics of your target audience?


• How will your new brand differentiate from the competition?


• Does your brand offer the right quality and value to your customers for its positioning? How can you tie that offering to your target audience?


• Have you expressed your brands’ passions through your brand strategy? How will you capitalize on this?


• What is your brand promise, and how will you maintain it consistently across all of your brand touch points?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!



Brand Revitalisation: 9 Strategies to Revive Your Lagging Brand

Are your sales are slipping or have you been losing customers to your competition? Or is it a case that your brand simply isn’t performing as well as it did previously?


Regardless of how successful your brand has been or is at present, at some point in its life cycle every brand needs re-evaluation and revitalisation to stay relevant and keep up with changing trends and market demands to ensure its continued healthy growth and profitability.


Rebranding strategy or brand revitalisation can take many forms. A business may choose to make small but significant changes that affect the subtle ways customers perceive their brand, or it may embark on a massive rebranding campaign that transforms every aspect of the brand, giving it a whole new tone and stronger market position.


As with any effective branding strategy, your decision to revitalise your brand should be based on a thorough brand health check or evaluation which includes reviewing what’s going wrong or what should be improved and so forth, to ensure you implement a rebranding strategy that will deliver the required results.


A brand audit, brand health check or brand review typically underpins the first stage of any rebranding strategy and it’s the first stage we engage in when working with any of our clients using our Audit Analysis Accelerator™ system. The insights and outputs from the brand health check are then what help us decide which combination of rebranding strategies are then best suited to our clients needs. The following nine brand revitalisation strategies are examples of some of methodologies we often consider and deploy amongst a full array of different approaches when developing solutions to help re-energise or revitalise our clients brands.



9 Strategies to Revive Your Lagging Brand

Here are nine strategies you can use to revive a lagging brand, to recover and even expand your brand influence, your market share, and your profitability.


1. Become Customer-Centric

Your customers are vital to the success of your brand. If you’re experiencing problems with a flagging brand, one highly effective way to turn things around can be to really focus on them—essentially, to find out what your customers want, and give it to them. Of course, this is not a simple process. But with market research, insights, and thorough planning, you can identify the needs or desires of your target audience, and restructure your brand to deliver.


 Delta Red Coat Customer Service

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As an example, Delta Airlines recently instituted a more customer-centric approach that saved the organisation from near-certain failure. Facing near bankruptcy, the airline turned things around in 2013 by identifying and focusing on the things that mattered to their customers.


Some of the customer-focused changes Delta implemented for their brand revitalisation included:

  • Bringing back Red Coats—highly visible, “elite” customer service agents who are empowered to solve passenger issues on the spot, rather than going through management


  • Adding WiFi to their flights sooner than their competitors


  • Implementing a “flat tire” policy that lets passengers waive change fees and get seats on the next available flight if they’re delayed by unforeseen circumstances


  • Improving performance and efficiency to achieve 95% on-time performance with no flight cancellations


The move towards increased customer service saved the company, and restored Delta to one of the top airline brands.



2. Rename Your Brand

For a faltering brand, a name change can have a powerful effect. Renaming your brand can enable you to start with a clean slate, and go a long way towards reversing any negative perceptions that might have been associated with the previous name.


The New Zealand deer industry overcame preconceived notions about their venison products, particularly in the American market, by renaming their offerings “Cervena” as a way to differentiate from other venison brands.



Cervena Logo 

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Brand name changes can also be effective when the new name is more reflective of your brand platform and values. Recently, New Zealand dairy product company Fonterra launched a rebranding campaign by changing the names of their RD1 stores to the more descriptive and engaging “Farm Source”.


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In addition to the name change, Fonterra deployed a farmer-centric marketing strategy that highlights the provenance and roots of their products which creates stronger connections, transparency and authenticity for customers.



3. Streamline and Simplify

As brands grow, they may often experience slowdowns or lagging sales due to the expansion itself. Brand growth can result in sprawling product lines, confusing offerings, and diluted brand cohesion across the organisation. If your brand is suffering from dilution through growth and expansion efforts, a streamlined strategy can help you recover from falling sales and diminished brand recognition.


Technology company IBM successfully used this type of strategy to recover from substantial losses and setbacks due to increasing competition. In 1993, the company experienced a quarterly loss of $8 billion—which represented the largest corporate loss in history at the time. IBM’s successful revitalisation strategy was a return to the basics. The company discontinued business areas that didn’t align with its core competencies and focused on just three areas: hardware, business software, and IT services. Today, IBM remains one of the most successful global technology companies.



4. Reach Out to Your Community

Similar to appealing to customers, becoming a community-oriented brand can help you revitalise your image and revive lagging sales. Focusing your brand strategies on community connection and outreach can help you build a strong and engaging brand image—and in many cases can help you capture word-of-mouth, the most powerful marketing method for any brand.


One successful example of a community-oriented brand is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a restaurant chain based in Denver, Colorado. Chipotle’s actually based their brand strategy on giving back to the community from the beginning. The company spends very little on traditional advertising channels such as TV adverts—in fact, its yearly advertising budget is less than what competitor McDonald’s spends in 48 hours. Instead, the first Chipotle’s restaurant drew in customers by giving away lots of free food, and letting the product speak for itself.





The company has continued this community focus in high-profile ways. During the 1997 trial for a devastating bombing in Oklahoma, the company regularly delivered free food to the courthouse. Chipotle’s also currently sponsors a multitude of local programs and pioneered a campaign called “No Junk” that helps millions of school children eat healthier.



5. Amplify Your Brand Story

In order to have a successful brand, it’s vital to create a meaningful connection with customers. One powerful way to do this is through a compelling brand story, which is a key part of our Personality Profile Performer™ system, and used to created and develop your whole brand profile. You can revitalise a falling brand by refocusing on your unique brand story, and conveying your brand’s origins, values, promise and driving characteristics.


Brand storytelling can be highly effective for all categories and types of business, including premium brands. Recently, Chanel launched a video series that has sparked attention and driven customer engagement on social media to new heights for the brand—based on the powerful story of Chanel’s origins. Part five of the series, which tells the story of founder Coco Chanel, has been especially connective for audiences.




6. Wrap-Up in Something New

Your packaging design is absolutely crucial to effective branding. Research has found that 70 percent of customer purchasing decisions are made at the shelf, and 90 percent of those on-the-spot decisions are made simply by looking at the face of the product in less than 9 seconds. If your brand is struggling, launching a package redesign can help you refresh and restore success.



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A recent package redesign for a UK confectionary company led to incredible results. After creating a clean, simple uncluttered look for their iconic brand, their first image refresh in five years, Lees of Scotland realized a sales increase of 20 percent for its Snowballs and Teacakes treats.



7. Go the Extra Mile

For suffering brands, another powerful revitalisation strategy is to choose an aspect that your brand excels at, and make it even more effective—so that your brand stands out sharply from your competitors. This may be pricing (for discount or premium brands), faster delivery (such as Domino’s Pizza 30-minute delivery guarantee), additional features or innovations, or even exceptional customer service, a quality that online shoe retailer Zappos is well known for.


Enhancing the unique offerings of your brand will help you differentiate, and over-delivering on your brand promise can help to revive a flagging brand.





8. Go Against the Grain

It can be challenging for brands to stand out from a sea of competition. If your brand is struggling to remain solvent, think about how you can make changes that will give you a competitive edge. Often, the most successful brands have distinctive differentiation that make them more innovative, valuable, or desirable than the competition. The bottled water industry, for example, was transformed when companies began adding nutrients, flavours, and carbonation to various brand lines.


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As an example of powerful differentiation, UK cosmetics company Lush has realised phenomenal success and gained a cult brand following by providing organic cosmetics ranges amidst an ocean of competitor brands made with chemicals and formulations. This organic-style branding extends throughout the brand—all of their products are handmade and use minimalist packaging, and Lush retail stores are designed to create an exceptional, luxurious customer experience.


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9. Change your Price Points

Though it may seem counterproductive, you can effectively revitalise your brand by charging more for your products or services. Elevating to a premium brand can bring you greater market share and higher profits—but of course, it’s essential to offer customers something that justifies the higher price point. Rebranding for premium pricing involves an increase in either perceived or actual value for your offerings, and this can be accomplished in many ways.


Some premium rebranding strategies may include:

  • Constant innovation, such as Apple and Gilette
  • Unique product mixes, such as Whole Foods and Sharper Image
  • Selling an experience, such as Nordstrom and Starbucks
  • Creating a brand community, such as Red Bull and Harley Davidson


By increasing the perceived value of your products or services, you can turn a slumping or stagnant brand around and find new audiences who are willing to pay premium prices, and will remain loyal to your brand above and beyond your competition.


So, what do you think?


• How could you make your brand more customer-centric? Community-centric?


• Does your brand have a differentiation factor that you could enhance through your brand collateral and marketing campaigns?


• Is your brand packaging inconvenient, outdated, or too similar to the competition? How could your packaging stand out?


• What are some ways your brand could go the extra mile and over-deliver on your brand promise?


• How is your brand story currently incorporated into your customer touch points and overall brand presentation? Is there a way to enhance your brand story?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Rebranding: How to Make It Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger

A strong brand is the key to success and sustainable growth for your business. However, brands are not static, unchanging identities – the most successful brands live and breathe, evolving along with changing shifts in market tastes, trends and demands.


Rebranding or brand revitalisation, when properly planned and implemented, can be a powerfully effective strategy for rescuing or reinventing a failing brand, jump-starting a stagnant brand, expanding your markets, or initiating substantial business growth. A rebrand may be subtle or evolutionary in nature, or it may involve radically transforming a product, service, or entire brand.


Regardless of the extent of your rebrand, a thorough brand revitalisation strategy is a must in order to be successful. Here are the top tips on surviving a rebrand of any scale, and emerging as a stronger and more profitable organisation.


Understand Rebranding: It’s Much More Than Just Changing Your Logo

Even for those brands undergoing a subtle rebrand as an evolutionary step forward, there is much more to a successful rebrand than changing your company or product logo. Rebranding always results in shifted audience perceptions of your brand, no matter how large or small the changes – and this strategy should not be engaged lightly.





Approaching a rebrand without strategic planning, market insights and customer engagement can be disastrous to your brand, often resulting in storms of negative social media, if your brand is very high profile with an engaged audience.



Airbnb Belo Logo 2014



Airbnb, an online accommodations rental platform whose logo changed in July this year brought a flood of social chatter comparing the new logo to parts of the human anatomy. BBC News reported on the backlash, including a roundup of Twitter comments where it became the top trending item for a time. Others on the other hand praised the US home-rental services new look. Airbnb calls its new logo Belo, and says it represents “the universal symbol of belonging”. 



Airbnb Logo Change Twitter



Also earlier this year, the long-established candy brand Hershey’s caused a similar internet controversy when the company changed their logo from the traditional silver foil-wrapped Hershey’s kiss to a solid brown graphic with a gray curlicue to represent the iconic brand.  


Hershey Logo Change 


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Customers and commentators alike were also divided in their opinions with some having a field day online pointing out the shortcomings, as they saw them, with some very unfavourable comments compared to those who thought it fresh, demonstrative and sleek.


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Regardless of what your views are in relation to both these brands, simply launching a new logo is not the right way to approach a rebrand. You need a solid brand strategy based on a brand audit coupled with research, market testing, and an honest analysis of your current brand performance before making any changes that will impact your brand.





Make Sure Rebranding is Really the Answer

Prior to a rebrand, the most important consideration is knowing why you’re rebranding, what your goals are in making changes, and whether a rebrand is the right solution.


Some of the most common situations where it makes sense to undergo a rebrand include:

  • Relevance: In order to thrive, brands must stay relevant to their target market and keep up with evolving customer needs and desires


  • Competition: If a brand encounters aggressive competition that damages sales, rebranding can help to push back and restore a competitive edge


  • Innovation: In industries where rapid change is common and expected, such as technology, rebranding can help you preserve relevance to new markets and remain competitive  


  • Globalisation: Market demographics can vary from region to region. A brand that is looking to expand into new global markets can benefit from rebranding to suit a wider audience


  • Repositioning: Rebranding is required for a brand seeking to change its market position, such as moving from an economy level to a premium brand with higher pricing


  • Mergers and Acquisitions: If two brands merge, or one brand acquires another, rebranding is essential to establish the new, single identity of the separate brands 

On the other hand, there are some situations where rebranding or revitalisation is not the correct strategy. These can include:

  • Young Brands: Unless the existing brand solution is highly flawed, brands that have been on the market for a short time, such as 3 years or less, should not rebrand. Young brands would be better served to adjust marketing strategies or roll out new campaigns


  • Change for Change’s Sake: Rebranding should not be engaged simply because you feel like changing. There should be a compelling commercial reason to rebrand, since changing “just because” results in failure more often than not



Rebranding the Right Way: 4 Top Tips for Pulling it off Successfully

Once you’ve established that a rebrand or revitalisation is what your brand needs, how do you effectively plan a rebrand? Here’s how to build an effective rebranding strategy and make it through with a stronger and more compelling brand.


1. Assess Your Current Brand Perception Honestly

If you’re undergoing a rebrand, there’s a reason your brand is struggling. You need to know exactly what that reason is, and how your rebranding strategy will address it. This means there is no room for light observations or wishful thinking – you need to know the brutally honest reality of where your brand currently stands.


The best way to accomplish this honest assessment is through a comprehensive brand audit. A brand audit involves thorough examination of your market position, your brand’s performance relevant to the competition, its strengths and weaknesses, and a full view of both internal and external perceptions of your brand. Through this process, you may uncover surprising information about your target audience – and you may even discover new audience demographics that will be suitable for your brand with effective rebranding.



2. Obtain Organisational Buy-in

A successful rebranding relies not only on effectively changing customer perceptions, but also ensuring that everyone in your company participates in the rebrand programme. Each of your customer touch points must reflect the new brand collateral and brand values – which means your entire company, from sales personnel to general staff to CEO, top down, must understand the goals of the rebrand.



3. Ensure Seamless Consistency

Maintaining consistency is a primary key to an effective brand. When undergoing a rebrand, make sure that every piece of your brand collateral reflects the changes and the new brand vision – from product packaging and logo design to website, sales material, office and retail locations, staff uniforms, trade stands, presentation tools, in short all your brand collateral, and even email signatures.


4. Communicate the Rebrand Externally

Naturally, your new brand will be rolled out to customers but it’s important to get their feedback with some test research initially before you fully implement and launch to market. But don’t forget to involve stakeholders, shareholders, and media outlets with news of your rebranding. Awareness of a rebrand is crucial to its success.


Whether your rebrand is evolutionary or comprehensive, whether your reasons are to maintain relevance, beat out the competition, or reposition your brand to increase profits, surviving the rebranding process involves careful planning and strategisation and a willingness to ensure both internal and external consistency.


Your brand is much more than just your logo. Brands represent the total customer experience, and rebranding must be approached with care and forethought. But when implemented properly, a rebrand can deliver a wider audience, a strengthened brand platform, and higher profits for your business.


So, what do you think?

• Has your company undergone a rebrand in the past?


• What are the reasons you are considering rebranding now?


• Could your brand benefit from a brand audit, regardless of whether you’re rebranding?


• What would you change about your brand, and how do you think it would impact your target audience?


• How can you rebrand to improve your brand’s relevance?


• Could you raise prices and increase profits through brand repositioning?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can It Be Improved?

Have your sales hit a slump? Are hot new brands drawing your customers away? If your brand seems to have lost its shine, it may be time for a brand audit or brand health check.


Brand audits are effectively a health check for your brand. These comprehensive, honest evaluations look at the overall effectiveness of a brand and its current position in the market compared with the competition, as well as pinpointing inconsistencies and weakness, and identifying potential areas for improvement.


With a thorough and properly executed brand audit you can halt brand deterioration and refresh or revitalize your brand, giving it a new lease of life and effectively stopping the rot to grow your bottom line.



When Should You Perform a Brand Audit?

While a brand audit can provide you with valuable insight into your brand’s performance at any point, there are certain times when it makes more sense to have a brand audit done. One is at the peak of your brand’s evolution.


Brands typically follow a lifecycle that’s similar to most living things: they begin new and full of potential, enter a growth phase, and eventually reach maturity. At this point, you may begin to see market slippage as your brand loses relevance, or your customers move on to newer brands. Regular brand audits that are timed against your brand’s lifecycle can actually help you identify the signs that your brand is about to plateau, allowing you to refresh or revitalize before you begin to lose sales.


Another common time when a brand audit not only makes sense, but can actually be pivotal to success, is prior to a planned rebranding campaign. There are a number of reasons your organisation may be undergoing a rebrand, and a thorough brand audit is a crucial part of any effective rebranding strategy.


Brand Audit Team


Why Do You Need a Brand Audit?

Having a brand audit done at the peak of your brand lifecycle and prior to a rebrand are proactive strategies for preserving and developing your brand. There are also several circumstances that can merit a reactive brand audit—one intended to diagnose issues and problem areas, and turn around a flagging brand.


Brand audits can help you:

  • Determine the actual position of your brand in the marketplace, and develop effective strategies to elevate your market position


  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, so you can address weak points and capitalize on your strengths for more effective brand differentiation


  • Discover the actual expectations of your target markets and align your brand more thoroughly with its intended audience


  • Gain a clear perspective on market perceptions of your brand, and make any necessary adjustments to strengthen your brand platform and customer experience


  • Address internal issues and repair your brand positioning within the company, in order to strengthen employee morale, productivity, and empowerment


A strong and consistent brand makes more money, both through increased sales and decreased market spend as the power of your brand drives more word of mouth, greater customer engagement, and increased brand loyalty.


Comprehensive brand audits allow you to strengthen your brand and make it the best it can be, illuminating new growth opportunities and new ways to create resonance with your audiences.



What Does A Brand Audit Involve?

There are several factors that define the depth and extent of an effective brand audit. These include the size of both the brand and the organisation itself, the power of the brand relative to the industry and market, the required timescale to complete the brand audit, and the available budget.


In any event, the first step to a brand audit is to clearly define the objectives of the audit. You may simply want to perform a health check for your brand and gain an accurate measure of your market standing, or you may be in the early stages of a rebrand and require an extensive brand audit. The brand audit’s objectives must be absolutely clear from the start in order to develop an effective strategy for analysis and measured against the desired deliverables.


The actual elements of a brand audit vary according to the objectives and the factors mentioned above. These elements may include:

  • Internal elements: Positioning, brand values, culture, voice, USP, product or service positioning etc.


  • External elements: Logo and other branded design elements, all brand collateral, website, packaging, social media, SEO, advertising and public relations, content marketing, sponsorships and CSR, videos, testimonials, customer experience etc.


  • System elements: Corporate brand standards, brand style guides, customer service systems, sales processes, touch points, HR policies, internal systems etc.


Additionally, a comprehensive brand audit will involve strategy reviews, market research, communications reviews, customer research, and employee and HR research.


Internal Brand Audit Support: Getting Employees On Board

Without internal support, a brand audit that is carried out for the purposes of revitalising, refreshing, or salvaging a brand will fail. An essential component of a brand audit is ensuring that both your management and employees understand the reasons for the audit.


Employee Brand Champion


It’s critically important to get their full support and commitment on board, not to mention help get them excited about the upcoming changes. Employees who embrace your brand can become powerful brand ambassadors, allowing you to maintain brand consistency and cultivate a loyal customer base.

Some strategies for engaging employees in a brand audit include:

  • Communicate: Employees who aren’t aware that a brand audit is being conducted can’t contribute to the cause. Inform your employees early and often about the process, and invite them to ask questions and offer suggestions.


  • Solicit Input: Your employees are an excellent source of information about customer perceptions of your brand, as well as the business itself. Actively solicit employee input on how they view the brand’s strengths and weaknesses, what changes they would make if they could, and how they see customers responding (or not responding) to the brand.


  • Reward Participation: Employees who “live the brand” are powerful assets—and the more you have, the more effective your brand will be. Watch for employees who embrace the brand audit and strive to reflect changes, and reward them by publicly acknowledging their contributions, or even offering bonuses. This can also encourage others to engage in the process.



Enlisting Your Customers For Your Brand Audit

Public perceptions of your brand are a vital part of a brand audit, and may even be the main reason for performing one. The best way to learn what your target audience thinks about your brand is to ask them directly.


Online polls can be a simple and effective way to gauge customer sentiment about your brand. These one-question checks are quick for viewers to complete, they can be promoted easily online, and they can offer an honest starting point for more in-depth elements of your brand audit. If you have a Facebook page for your brand, you can run the Facebook Poll App and gain instant feedback from your fans.


For a more comprehensive customer view, you can create an online survey with several questions and multiple answers. Online surveys offer greater potential for detailed data and analytics from a wide sampling of your target audience, and can help you further refine your brand audit objectives.


Finally, hiring mystery shoppers is an effective and candid way to gain customer perspective on your brand. Mystery shoppers can engage with your brand at every touch point, and offer a detailed picture of the way customers actually view your brand from the outside—a perspective that is virtually impossible to gain internally.


We have found when conducting brand audits for clients using our Auditing Analysis Accelerator™ system that a combination of all these elements, together with face-to-face interviews, field and desk research  produce very insightful and valuable information, often throw up unanticipated surprises which can have a significant impact on the brand strategy going forward.


 Eurofound Brand Audit Cover 600px



ROI: What You Can Get Out Of A Brand Audit

Brand audits show you how your target audience truly perceives your brand, how your brand is actually performing, and how you compare to the competition. A well planned and executed brand audit will benefit your business in myriad ways:

  • Gain insight into your brand portfolio and brand architecture


  • Evaluate and refocus your brand positioning to improve engagement with your target audience


  • Align your brand collateral with your brand mission, values, and differentiation to strengthen the perception of your brand


  • Boost internal brand awareness and drive employee brand engagement


  • Refocus and improve your brand management and marketing communications


  • Provide direction for your brand into the future to maintain relevancy, consistency, and growth


As the success of a brand audit depends on honest, detached assessment, working with an experienced external brand agency is the most effective strategy to ensure a true picture of your current brand positioning, and to best identify areas for improvement to revitalise your brand.


What do you think?

• Has your organisation undergone a brand audit in the past?


• How could a brand audit help you identify potential reasons for business decline?


• If your sales are stagnating, what areas would you focus on for a brand audit?


• How would you measure the ROI of a brand audit? How many potential new customers would you need to justify the investment?


• What areas of your brand positioning may be slumped and in need of a brand audit?


• Would you consider a brand audit to identify potential loss of relevance and proactively refresh your brand to avoid declining sales?


Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Brand Resurgence: 4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Comebacks

Brands fizzle out all the time. From historic flops like the Ford Edsel to problematic launches from established brands, such as Crystal Pepsi and the disastrous introduction of Apple Maps, brand disintegration can hit any company for any number of reasons. But some brands are agile enough to adapt, adjust their strategies, learn from their mistakes, and re-emerge stronger than ever.


Brand revitalization can generate a powerful response for any business, whether your brand is guttering out completely or simply losing steam. Here are some lessons to learn from amazing brand comebacks that have revitalized some of the most successful brands in the world.



4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Revitalizations


1. Apple: An Unconventional Partnership

Despite the company’s problem with its map application, Apple is among the most powerful and well-known global brands today—but they weren’t always. It’s a well know story, the company started out strong in the 1980s with a decisive and profitable position in the computer industry. But following Steve Jobs’ resignation in 1985, performance dwindled, and by the mid-1990s the organization faced imminent bankruptcy.


Apple Newton Messagepad

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Jobs returned as CEO in 1997 to face the daunting task of restructuring the company and salvaging the brand. After scrapping the expensive Newton, Jobs took a bold and controversial step by entering into a partnership with Apple’s biggest competitor, Microsoft.



Apple’s customers weren’t thrilled with the idea of sleeping with the perceived enemy. But the $150 million investment from Microsoft not only allowed for the development of popular Microsoft programs like Office for the iOS system, but also paved the way for the iMac—Apple’s sleek, innovative all-in-one PC that represented the new brand positioning and served as a landmark for the company’s signature products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.


Jobs’ risk-taking may have met with initial resistance from his primary audience, but the partnership paid off and ultimately helped Apple claim the dominant position in the mobile device market.



2. Old Spice: Shifting the Target Market

Classic American brand Old Spice introduced its grooming products for men in 1938. The brand experienced steady growth, and by the 1970s was the top brand in its product class. However, the Old Spice brand aged along with its customer base, and by 1990 it had lost its appeal—Old Spice was an old man’s staple, and brand loyalty was at an all-time low.


 Old Spice Classic

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At this point, Procter & Gamble purchased the Old Spice brand from parent company the Shultan Co., and launched a brand retargeting campaign aimed at capturing the younger generation. A new deodorant line called Old Spice High Endurance was marketed to teens, and the brand’s performance slowly ascended. Then in 2010, the company released the first of a series of quirky online commercials featuring the “Old Spice Man,” aimed at the younger generation.



The video quickly went viral, and propelled the Old Spice brand to the top spot in the body wash market. Sales of Old Spice increased by 107 percent in June 2010, shortly after the video’s release.


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With a package redesign, new product releases aimed at a new demographic, and a video campaign that targeted younger markets by appearing in the channels they frequent, Old Spice created a brand resurgence that is still going strong today.



3. Dr. Martens: Banking on Nostalgia

Footwear brand Dr. Martens, known for patented air-cushioned soles and trademark yellow stitching, was a UK favorite for years. Dr. Martens boots saw peak success in the 1970s, when British punk rockers adopted the brand and created a craze. But when grunge moved in during the 1990s, Dr. Martens moved out—in a big way.


 Dr Martins Patent

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The brand fell out of favour in the fashion industry, forcing the company to downsize together with production stopping in the UK. In 2003, Dr. Martens’ production facilities relocated to more economically favorable China, leaving just a handful of design and office staff behind.


 Dr Martens Metallic

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But in 2007, the company took advantage of a growing retro movement to relaunch the brand—and pulled off a successful brand resurgence simply by changing the name of its product. The original Dr. Martens shoe was introduced as the Dr. Martens “Vintage” line, with campaigns appealing to their customers’ sense of nostalgia. By 2010, the brand appeared in multiple designer collections on fashion show runways, and in 2012 Dr. Martens was assessed as the eighth fastest-growing company in Great Britain.



4. Nintendo: Pushing Brand Innovation

The Nintendo Co. has existed for longer than most people realize. The Japanese company was founded as a playing card manufacturer more than 120 years ago, but is better known as one of the first video game companies in the world. Nintendo entered the video game market in 1974, and found incredible success in the 1980s with enduring classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.


By the 1990s, the company dominated the home gaming console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo, and handheld Gameboy system. But competition from Sony and Microsoft heated quickly, and sales of the Nintendo 64 system launched in 1996 lost out to Sony’s PlayStation. The next iteration from Nintendo, the GameCube, performed dismally against both PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.


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Following the GameCube, Nintendo stopped focusing on improving its existing design, and moved into a new more innovative direction. In 2006, the company released the Wii—an entirely new design that resembled no other system. It was easy to use, highly interactive, and marketed not just to video game players, but to families with children. In addition, it was no coincidence that the name of the product is pronounced “whee,” which strongly associated it with fun. The Wii sent Nintendo surging back to the top, far outselling both of its main competitors’ same-year system releases, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.


 Wii Family 

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A focus on brand innovation and a redirected marketing campaign allowed Nintendo’s fizzling brand to come back stronger than ever. To date, the company has sold more than 86 million Wii units and continues to outperform its competitors.


There are many ways to revitalize your brand with a brand resurgence or rebranding strategy, from a simple product name change to an extensive overhaul of brand packaging, brand positioning, and strategic brand partnerships. Regardless of the size of your business, these brand comeback lessons can help you revive a flagging brand and experience greater customer engagement, higher brand recognition, and increased profitability.


What do you think?

• Would a strategic partnership with a competitor help you leverage your brand? How about partnering with a complementary business?


• What kind of strategic risks have you considered taking with your brand?


• Is there a new market demographic you could reach by refining your positioning or brand strategy?


• Would you consider relaunching your products under new names to spark a brand resurgence?


• What innovations can you implement in your products or promote in your marketing to strengthen your brand?


Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Nostalgic Branding : Is It Right For Your Business?

Looking back can be a profitable forward thinking strategy for many brands, with careful due diligence and appropriate application. Nostalgia often evokes positive emotions such as warmth, security and a sense of comfort in the familiar.


These ‘feel-good’ associations can then be successfully transferred to your brand. Nostalgic brands are somehow seen as more ‘authentic’ and truthful – a brand that can ‘trusted’ in its genuine and well-rooted provenance. A sense of continuity and stability in a world of fast paced change, transience, increasing consumer distrust and instant gratification.


Some brands such as Coca Cola already have a rich heritage of nostalgia they can drawn on, which is guaranteed to catch the imagination of older consumers. Conversely they also appeal to a younger age group, which wasn’t even born first-time around but still love the products for their now-fashionable nostalgic look.


The success of the relatively new make-up brand Benefit is a good example of ‘nostalgic branding’. Their entire range has a 1950s faux-vintage feel and is aimed at a market of 20 to 30-something females.


Benefit Makeup 600px


In these tougher post-recessionary times, evoking a time period where life was apparently better, in some respects, can be a very successful move. In fact many brands leveraging this kind of strategy have exceeded expectations and impressively boosted their ratings, according to the Brand Power Index (BPI). This quarterly ratings tool highlights companies who have grabbed audience attention using both traditional advertising and social media channels.


One of these brands is Herbal Essences who played on their original 1980s TV adverts to win a 27 per cent increase in brand popularity. To enhance the nostalgic feel their ‘new’ campaign kept the original packaging of the Shine and Smooth range.



In a short video Microsoft Windows listed what they considered the big trends of the 1980s and 90s and explained their script with the succinct tagline “You grew up. So did we.” This resulted in an 18 per cent rise in popularity on the BPI scale.



The California wine company Sangwine set out to evoke a late 50s and early 60s nostalgic feel with its minimalist new labels which were designed with the popular colour palette of that time – mustard yellow, turquoise and brown in a strong colour blocking style.


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Tesco’s Mr Nicecream range again infers more innocent, happier times with its distinct signature turquoise and sweet pink packaging and use of evocative typography for a new range of ice cream sandwiches, cones, toppings and sauces. While avoiding all the typical clichés it reminds older consumers of a period when ice cream was bought from a much love ice cream van which called to their local home street, ringing a bell or playing a tune to announce its arrival, rather than getting it from the local supermarket, and the almost diagrammatic illustrative style of the fun cartoon character is set to appeal to a younger consumer.


Tesco Ice Cream


Vintage Branding : What are the Advantages?

  • It can create an attractive feel-good emotional connection and a strong sense of reassuring familiarity with consumers
  • Vintage style packaging can have unique distinctions which help it stand out from ‘modern’ contenders simply because it’s different to its more contemporary counterparts
  • The vintage look of some brand packaging can appeal more to certain target consumers, especially an older generation, who identify it with perceived ‘better times’
  • Younger consumers can view nostalgic branding in a ‘popular’ light
  • There’s no need to re-educate the consumer on what the brand is all about or stands for (provided it still has relevance) as the older generation know from first-time round and they’ve passed it on to their offspring. How many of you buy brands because your mother did?


Of course a nostalgic branding strategy doesn’t suit all companies. Reviving a brand line is all very well but today’s consumers expect more than just the original packaging or taste. A food or drink, which was popular in a bygone era, may not fit with today’s nutritional requirements, taste preferences or have the same relevance today.


It must also be noted too, that a brand’s ‘personality’ has to fit within the nostalgic context in which it’s placed e.g Hovis is a long established brand viewed by many consumers as a nurturing brand so nostalgia in this context has relevance. There’s no point trying to use nostalgia as part of your brand message if it’s incongruent with your whole brand offering. Is there room in your sector for another vintage style product? Or is it already over-subscribed and in order to differentiate itself it makes more sense for a brand to take an alternative approach?


It’s also important to look at the whole idea of nostalgia in a broader cultural and consumer sentiment context. For instance, once the recessionary sense of uncertainty and anxiety reduces and consumers start to feel more confident and forward looking again, while seeking out the ‘next big thing’, will reverting to a nostalgic branding strategy still remain relevant or have the same appeal?


When a Nostalgic Brand Fails

The owners of roadside café brand Little Chef finally admitted defeat last month when the company was put up for sale. A family – and truckers – favourite for more than 55 years the restaurant chain underwent a rebrand back in 2004. Fat Charlie (the iconic plate-wielding chef) was slimmed down and the plate removed. The product and service, however, remained much the same. And yet the nostalgic brand seemed to fit in with societal changes where thousands of Britons were cutting costs and holidaying at home.


Little Chef 600px


Last year in a last ditch attempt to improve sales innovative chef Heston Blumenthal arrived with a new menu and customers such as Victoria Beckham and Eric Clapton. The product changed, but it wasn’t what consumers were looking for. Little Chef is a sad lesson in the need to correctly assess both market sentiment and consumer needs before launching into any type of re-branding exercise – whether nostalgia related or not.


• Does your brand have enough relevant heritage to capitalise on a ‘nostalgic brand strategy’?


• If you are considering using nostalgia as part of your brand strategy, which era would your brand be most suited to?


• How crowded is the market place currently for nostalgia brands within your sector?

When Is The Right Time for a Logo Redesign?

2012 could be seen as The Year of Logo Redesign with some of the world’s largest brands taking a fresh approach to their corporate logos. From simplified updates of existing logos to completely new designs, the last few months has seen brand design success and fails from well-known global brands.


The evolution of brand logos is far from a new phenomenon and brands such as Coca Cola can track the transformation of their current logo over nearly 100 years. Latest trends in brand logo strategies however show that logo updates signify far more than an evolution in design-over-time.


 Coca Cola Logo Evolution



4 Reasons Why Your Brand Logo May Need A Redesign or Update?


Logos are the corporate face of the brand. The logo in itself is not the brand but it acts as the visual hook reminding customers about what the company stands for, its brand personality and values. It is the glue that binds all the brand information together. With the brand’s visual corporate identity at stake a logo change is no small matter. But how do you know when a logo redesign is necessary?


1. Change in Company Structure

There are often obvious reasons behind logo redesigns. Mergers, acquisitions or company spin-offs often necessitate a new logo that symbolizes the new company.


2. Audience Misperceptions

Sometimes there may be misperceptions and confusion among key audiences about what the brand represents. Powerful brands are ones that have strong values, with an authentic story, which are clearly understood and lived both internally and externally amongst stakeholders and customers alike. If the brand values and story no longer resonates with the target audience or, customer brand experiences differ from the brand promise, then a logo redesign as part of a complete brand revitalization programme, repositioning and re-launch strategy can help realign the brand with the customer and their brand expectations.


 Ebay Logo Old New


3. Shift in Corporate Strategy

If your company is expanding its offering, such new products, new features etc. then an updated logo can signal the brands evolution and change in the marketplace. Ebay recently launched their refreshed logo to reflect the company’s plans to shift their corporate strategy away from auctions and move towards full-priced merchandise. The new logo keeps the colours of the original logo but changes the letters and streamlines the design to reflect the new direction of the brand.


 Band Aid Logo Old New


4. Update of old design

Brands that have been around a long time with a extensive legacy often require a careful evolutionary logo refresh to remain relevant in the market without losing any of the much valued old brand provenance. Johnson & Johnsons’ BAND-AID brand has been in existence since the 1920s and, prior to its latest update, the logo had remained the same since the 1980s. Their latest bolder, more distinctive logo was deemed necessary to create something that feels contemporary and modern yet honours the heritage of the brand.


 Budweiser Brand Evolution


Budweiser has again refreshed its logo. It is hoped the re-evaluation of their brand strategy together with its visual refreshment, which emphasizes the colour red and reflects their ‘continued commitment to quality’, will reverse reduced consumer interest in the brand. Critically the brand’s updated look incorporates the core brand hallmarks that loyal brand followers will recognize.


 Twitter Logo Old New


Earlier this year Twitter launched their revitalised logo. While still a relatively young brand, the company saw a need to simplify and streamline the iconic blue bird. The new logo is created from three overlapping circles, which according to Twitter head of design is “similar to how your networks, interests & ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends”. The new logo reinforces the brand identity with the customer and strengthens the consistency of the brand image online.




In contrast Microsoft launched their new logo design, which is the first time the brand has updated their logo in a quarter of a century. The new design was created to attract and embrace a younger broader demographic to the brand.




The Potential Risks


While logo updates are often necessary to remain relevant in the market it is critically important not to damage any brand equity developed over previous years. The last thing logo refreshment should do is to alienate or confuse loyal customers.


 Jc Penny Logo Confusion


American retail brand JCPenney has redesigned their logo three times in as many years. The changes were designed to coincide with the brand’s repositioning strategy but have left many customers confused as to what the brand stands for and its identity.


 New Old Gap Logo


Retail giant Gap suffered one of the biggest logo redesign disasters in decades when they launched a completely new logo last year. The brand made a fatal flaw when they failed to research and explore the influence of the logo on their customer base. The new logo received major criticism from both loyal customers and design critics alike, who slated the company for changing the brand’s iconic blue square.


While the brand’s desire to modernize the logo for the digital world was understandable, they missed an critical opportunity to engage with their customers and the online community in the redesign of the logo.

 Maguire   Paterson Old New Logo 2008


Brands need to constantly manage their engagement, reputation and image in the market in order to remain relevant with their customers. Sometimes it is small updates to the logo, as was the case with the old Maguire & Paterson Matches brand, dating from 1882, that can breathe new life into a brand and update it for the current market to keep it relevant and take it into the future.


• Is your brand still relevant and resonating effectively with your target audience or in need of revitalization for continued growth?


• Does your current logo meet the needs of both your brand and your target market?


• Have you undertaken recent research to identify your customer’s perceptions of your brand?


If you’d like to find out more about what’s involved in a Brand Revitalisation and Re-launch Programme, and if it’s the right strategy to support your business growth, then feel free to give us a call. We’d love to talk.


Epicom Relaunch Their Very Successful Food Manufacturing Brand

Epicom, a very highly regarded, specialist food manufacturing business based in Navan, Co. Meath, have relaunched their brand to market.


 Ipad Epicom Website Wheat


Epicom provides a full turnkey, ambient food manufacturing service for the retail market on behalf of their customers, which typically includes global multi-nationals and large exporters.


 Ipad Epicom Website Choc


Much sought after for their rigorous operation standards and multi-allergen controlled production units, Epicoms’ service includes every aspect of the manufacturing process from new product development, research and development, full allergen control to bespoke quality control solutions and distribution.


The real secret of their phenomenal success though lies in the people behind the brand. They are an incredibly skilled team of highly qualified professionals, who are not only very committed to what they do, but are also very friendly approachable. Theirs is an ethos of complete operational transparency with a ‘can do’ culture, of doing whatever it takes to meet their customers needs. 


 Ipad Epicom Website Isaac


To find out more visit their new website