Customer Engagement

Rebranding-8 Steps for Refreshing your Brand

rebrandingOne must contemplate the distinction between branding and rebranding. Rebranding is often miscast as an exercise in repairing one’s reputation. Some rebranding efforts focus on mitigating a negative image (such as Philip Morris’s name change to Altria or AIG’s move of their advisory business to Sagepoint). Yet rebranding may also represent subtle changes in positioning, or the recasting of visual identify, such as Starbucks recent move to a more contemporary look.

If you’re thinking about rebranding your company, bear in the mind the following considerations:

Seek out simplification-Today’s rebranding efforts are often a function of providing clarity to the marketplace and removing brand confusion. Citi’s recent rebranding removed a single word (if the word bank is in your name, it may not be a bad a idea to remove it). Our cluttered market values simplicity.

Leverage Social Media from the ground up– Within our firm, we recently rebuilt our website, refreshed our brand, and printed new business cards (including a QR code). All of our marketing includes embedded social media components, with the intent of driving traffic to our website where prospects can experience various multimedia tools that are featured online.

Use emotional triggers-Google famous Parisian Love ad (when an American finds love in Paris) is a classic example of using emotional messaging to capture the imagination of your audience. All marketing should utilize emotional triggers.

Enter new markets– Pabst Blue Ribbon, perceived as an also-ran in the U.S. rebranded in China as an ultra-premium American lager (PBR) and is selling for upwards of $44 a bottle (the Chinese may not have everything figured out).

Reshape perceptions about quality-Rebranding should not appear cosmetic or contrived. Harley Davidson’s slide in perceived quality in the 80’s was magnified by stiff competition from Japanese competitors.  The company’s drastic repositioning included a return to its core products and the formation of the Harley Owners Group (HOG’s),  which reestablished Harley a bad boy brand.

Identify unmet needs– Your offer may need to change as the utility of your product or the benefits that differentiate it may shift over time.  Marketers will often use a tag line when they wish to preserve there brand equity, and point out new features or benefits.

Use professionals– Rebranding can back fire when companies draw attention to their marketing.  Many smaller companies try to utilize self service template web sites and similar home grown tools that come off as……home grown. Marketing requires constant investment. Hire people who can assist you with both messaging and technology.

Understand the hard and soft costs– Change can be expensive, given the need to reprint, re-sign, change email addresses, etc. Consider all your  hard and soft costs (including management team band) with as you refresh your brand.

Organizations often under appreciate the importance of branding. In this world of hyper-competition, the way you communicate the nuances of your brand are more important than ever.

Category: Customer Engagement

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Marc Emmer About the Author: Marc Emmer

Marc Emmer is President of Optimize Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning. Emmer is a sixteen-year Vistage member and a Vistage speaker. The release of his second book, “Momentum, Ho…

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  1. Anonymous

    April 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Rebranding is the right solution when your existing brand no longer aligns with the organization’s business strategy, goals and priorities. OR…Fundamental organizational changes — such as expansion into new markets, addition of new products or services, focus on new target audiences, changes in management, merger or acquisition, stronger competition, rapid increase (or, in the current economy, decrease) in company size, or persistent recruitment challenges — require new positioning strategy. OR…The existing brand perception, message and image are outdated and no longer reflect the organization’s current standing in the marketplace. OR…The brand image and message have become a patchwork of weak and inconsistent parts that no longer fit together, a fixer-upper that requires some TLC or, perhaps, a complete rehabilitation in order to stand tall again among its competitors. Learn more at

  2. These are 8 great tips. The foundation for a successful rebranding strategy. 

  3. These are 8 great tips. The foundation for a successful rebranding strategy. 

  4. Anonymous

    April 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I am finding mysel needing to rebrand or should I say align my brand with what my customers want. I am learning that my customers, Federal Healthcare, do necessarily want a product or service, but almost a life long advisor. I believe I need to refocus on the relationship first, including the branding of ME, and then advise on solutions.

    I also like the comment about “soft” costs. I am assuming these are the costs that are hidden from immediate sight. Thus, many times, especially in technology, we do not take into consideration of soft costs.

    R/Mike Whitecar

    • Marc

      May 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

      They are any costs that are not a specific line item on a P&L keyed to an activity. So you might buy an ERP system which have hard costs (licensing fees)  but also have many labor costs that just get lost in salaries and not attributed to the implementation which are soft. If you need any advice reach out to me at

  5. joseph panigrahi

    October 17, 2012 at 1:25 am

    i i want develop the higher education in our city i.e. Rayagada.
    2 i want to every young most be competent in computer.
    3i want to natural materials most be get every people.
    4 i want every orphan should be get food,education,cloth,good knowledge.

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