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Brand Repositioning: Revamping Your Company’s Image

Brand Repositioning: Revamping Your Company's Image

Have you ever heard that old saying, “You can't teach an old dog new tricks”? Well, that saying simply doesn't hold water regarding brands. Companies of all sizes and industries constantly evolve and reposition their brands to stay relevant and top-of-mind with consumers.

Think about some iconic brand evolutions – Apple going from producing computers to becoming a leader in mobile phones, music players, watches, and more. Starbucks transformed from a small Seattle coffee shop to a global juggernaut redefining the cafe experience. Even ancient brands like LEGO have undertaken successful repositioning to transcend being “just a toy” and reinvent themselves as a technology-driven product engine.

So, what exactly is brand repositioning? Why do companies do it? And how can you successfully pull it off for your brand? Let's dive in and explore this fascinating world of strategic brand renovation.

What is Brand Repositioning?

Dunkin Donuts Rebranding Example

Brand repositioning means changing how your company and products/services are perceived in the marketplace. It involves proactively shifting your brand identity, personality, messaging, and overall positioning.

This reboot can take many different forms – tweaking your logo and visual identity, adjusting your product mix, redefining your target audience, or even pivoting to an entirely new market opportunity. The overall goal? Modernise and realign your brand to make it more relevant, competitive, and valuable to customers.

Signs Your Brand Needs a Refresh

How can you tell when it's time for a brand repositioning effort? Keep an eye out for these telltale red flags:

  • Declining sales or market share despite your best efforts
  • Difficulty standing out from competitors or commoditisation of your offerings
  • Changing customer needs, preferences, or market dynamics that your brand no longer addresses well
  • Brand perception has become outdated, damaging, or simply doesn't match the experience you deliver
  • Your company has fundamentally changed direction, such as entering new product categories

Common Brand Repositioning Objectives

Companies typically pursue brand repositioning for one or more of the following aims:

  • Update an outdated or stale brand image to seem more modern and fashionable
  • Broaden appeal to expand into new customer segments or geographic markets
  • Differentiate from competitors and clarify a unique brand meaning and value proposition
  • Reflect a new corporate strategy, vision, or area of strategic focus
  • Recover from negative brand perceptions or publicity crises

Planning a Successful Brand Repositioning Strategy

What Is A Website Refresh

Like any major business initiative, brand repositioning requires careful planning and a detailed strategy. Here are some critical steps to follow:

Conduct Research

Don't shoot from the hip on something as critical as repositioning your brand. Take a step back and truly understand the current state through:

  • Market research to analyse trends, competition, and target customer needs/preferences
  • Social media listening to gauge sentiment around your existing brand
  • Employee interviews and surveys to get internal stakeholder perspectives
  • Reviewing data like sales reports, customer feedback, brand tracking studies, etc.

This research will reveal insights about your brand's strengths, weaknesses, white space opportunities, and any perception gaps to address through repositioning.

Define Your Aspired Positioning

With that foundation, it's time to map precisely where you want to reposition the brand. Ask yourself:

  • What customer needs are we aiming to own and deliver against better than anyone else?
  • What specific brand attributes, personality, and tone should we convey?
  • What unique value propositions and points of differentiation can we stake our claim on?
  • How do we want customers to perceive and describe our brand ideally?

Be clear and specific in articulating your brand's revamped positioning through examples, personification exercises, and visioning. But ensure it's still authentic to your core business and not just empty marketing fluff.

Update Marketing Elements

Breathing life into your new positioning means updating all your customer-facing marketing elements, likely including:

  • Brand identity system (logo, colours, fonts, etc.)
  • Messaging architecture and brand voice guidelines
  • Website design, content, and user experience
  • Advertising campaigns across multiple channels
  • Social media content strategy and brand persona
  • Sales tools like presentations and product literature

Consistency across every brand touchpoint is critical for the repositioning to resonate, so it requires a comprehensive, integrated marketing approach.

Internal Culture Alignment

However, a brand repositioning strategy is utterly toothless if your employees don't understand it or can't deliver the revamped experience. Companies often underestimate this critical internal dimension.

Get Buy-In Early

Don't blindside your workforce by suddenly rolling out a dramatically different brand one day. Instead, involve them and buy into the repositioning vision and rationale upfront.

  • Share the market insights that sparked the need for change
  • Explain the strategic thinking and intended business impacts
  • Emphasise how it will create more value for the customers they serve
  • Actively seek their input to pressure test ideas and build ownership

The more your employees understand the “whys” versus just being handed something, the more committed they'll be as brand ambassadors.

Rethink Policies & Processes

Your operations impact the customer experience as much as your marketing does. So you may need to revisit internal policies, processes, and enablement around:

  • Customer service and support models
  • Employee training and brand education programs
  • Sales incentives, territories, tools, and enablement
  • Product development briefs and innovation roadmaps
  • Corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs

Think holistically about all the enterprise workstreams that influence how you manifest the brand promise day-to-day.

Cultural Change Management

At the deepest level, you may need to evolve your company's ingrained ways of thinking and working to institutionalise the repositioned brand fully. This is a challenging cultural change best driven through the:

  • Vocal leadership modelling and accountability
  • Consistent communication and celebrating progress
  • Updating official company values and codifying new behaviours
  • Incentives, rewards, and recognition programs
  • Further, hire training and cultural onboarding
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Remember to consider the degree of concentrated effort required to make the brand repositioning stick organization-wide. Even reevaluating your physical office environment can reinforce the cultural shift.

Measuring Success & Refining

Mcdonalds Rebranding Healthy Options

Like any strategic initiative, you'll want to put measurement plans in place to gauge the effectiveness of your brand repositioning over time. But what exactly should you track?

Brand Metric Dashboards

At a minimum, implement comprehensive brand metric dashboards monitoring areas like:

  • Brand awareness and aided/unaided recall
  • Brand attribute ratings (e.g. perceived as innovative, trustworthy, customer-centric, etc.)
  • Net Promoter scores and customer advocacy levels
  • Social media sentiment and share of voice
  • Website engagement and search trends
  • Customer acquisition, retention, and lifetime value metrics

Look at these through the lens of your target customer profiles. And analyse any divergence between how customers view you and your intended repositioned brand identity.

Business Performance Indicators

Ultimately, though, you'll want to correlate brand metric shifts to higher-level business performance indicators like:

  • Market share or category leadership
  • Revenue growth and sales results by product/region
  • Pricing power and product profitability
  • Ability to recruit and retain top talent
  • Stock price and overall company valuation for public firms

These prove that your brand repositioning pays dividends and creates value – not just updated logos and advertising fluff.

Agile Optimisation

Rather than launching your repositioning with a “set it and forget it” mindset, embrace an iterative test-and-learn approach. Constantly monitor brand metric and voice-of-customer data to make agile adjustments like:

  • Tweaking your messaging hierarchy or amplifying specific value props
  • Evolving visual identity elements like package designs or digital experiences
  • Shifting media mix, targeting strategies, or promotional tactics
  • Updating sales tools and training curriculums based on what's resonating

The most effective brand repositioning is continuously optimising every element towards those core brand pillars and customer value delivery.

Brand Repositioning Success Stories

Burberry Rebrand Logo Design

Enough talking about brand repositioning in theory. Let's look at some real-world brands that successfully pulled it off:

Dunkin' (Formerly Dunkin' Donuts)

This coffee and baked goods chain undertook a significant rebranding and menu overhaul in 2018. They dropped the word “Donuts” from their name and logo to reposition it as simply “Dunkin'” – a beverage-focused, on-the-go brand rather than just a doughnut shop.

This reflected their increasing emphasis on coffee beverages, breakfast sandwiches, and other food/drink options outside of doughnuts—the simplified branding and store redesign aimed to show Dunkin' as a modern, fast-casual concept.

Oldsmobile to “Not Your Father's Oldsmobile”

In the 1980s and 90s, GM's Oldsmobile brand was perceived as stodgy and outdated – selling cars only appealing to grandparents. Their “Not Your Father's Oldsmobile” campaign brilliantly repositioned the brand to seem more youthful, edgy, and performance-oriented.

Through ads featuring the smash hit song “Wouldn't It Be Nice” and drastically updated vehicle styling and marketing, Oldsmobile shed its “old person” stigma for several years until the brand was discontinued.

Burberry Luxury Rebound

For decades, Burberry rode high as a prestigious British luxury fashion house. But by the early 2000s, rampant counterfeiting and overexposure had caused their brand cachet to plummet. Their signature check pattern became ubiquitous even on cheap accessories, making Burberry seem too commonplace.

Burberry staged a dramatic luxury repositioning under a new CEO and creative director. They pulled licensing of their check pattern from many product lines. Advertising projected a more upscale, exclusive brand personality and product quality. Selective retail distribution and higher prices again made Burberry an elite status symbol.

Old Spice #SmellingRebranded

Stale brand perceptions plagued Old Spice deodorant for years as an “old man” product before their game-changing social media and advertising campaigns in 2010. Their “Smell Like a Man, Man” videos went viral by completely repositioning Old Spice with an irreverent, over-the-top personality personified by quirky pitchman Isaiah Mustafa.

The campaign tapped into a “so crazy it's genius” millennial mentality and social sharing. Sales skyrocketed almost overnight, demonstrating the power of clever brand repositioning and harnessing pop culture trends.

Conclusion

There you have it – an exhaustive guide to successfully repositioning your company's brand to stay competitive and meaningful in our ever-evolving world. Is it easy? Absolutely not – brand repositioning requires meticulous strategy and tireless commitment across your entire organisation.

However, the potential rewards of capturing new market share, boosting customer loyalty, pricing power, employee engagement, and business growth make it well worth the effort. Don't let your brand go stale. Be proactive about monitoring cultural and marketplace shifts, and have the courage to reimagine your positioning when the time comes.

Approached thoughtfully, brand repositioning can be a powerful catalyst for corporate transformation and sustained success. Unleash your brand's true potential!

FAQs

How long does it typically take to execute a brand repositioning?

There's no simple answer, as it depends on factors like the scope of changes, company size/complexity, and internal cultural barriers. A full-scale repositioning can take 12-24 months from start to finish if done comprehensively. More minor “course corrections” may only require six months or less.

How much does brand repositioning usually cost?

Again, costs vary tremendously based on the degree of repositioning required. Modest refreshes like tweaking visuals and messaging may cost $100K-500K. Transformational initiatives can easily reach $1M-5M or more when you factor in advertising, operations changes, agency support, etc.

Should we change our company name as part of repositioning?

Not necessarily. Changing your name is a significant decision that can provide a clean break from past baggage but also risks losing brand equity. Many companies opt to keep the name and update other branding elements instead. Analyse your situation carefully.

What role does market research play in repositioning?

Customer, market, and competitive research is critical. It allows you to make data-driven decisions about your aspired positioning versus just guessing. However, avoid getting bogged down in analysis paralysis – combine research with vision.

How do we get employees aligned with the new brand?

Early involvement, continuous communication, training, incentives, and leadership accountability are critical. But above all, ensure the repositioning directly improves their ability to create value and wow customers day-to-day versus just being a marketing exercise.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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