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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Pros And Cons Of Rebranding
Posted by Anonymous on
6/21/2008 at 3:50 AM ET
I am marketing a medium-sized enterprize selling investment goods of a pretty new technology to a rather small (because specialized) B2B target group positioned all around the world. The market is not yet developed, the technology in its entry phase. We could describe ourselves as technology leader, in a way first mover (there are competitors, but with less efficient technology).
Though, the company had been working on this task for several years yet and I would think the important customers know the name. They just started up with PROFESSIONAL marketing last year. Since then quite a bit has been achieved with international pr, trade fair contacts, etc. Money is not an overflowing good for the marketing department.
Unfortunately in the past, there had been another crew acting under the actual name and doing many mistakes - especially the sales person. customers (in the small target group!!) still remember the mistakes and mistrust the companies name. i even heard of the sales persons name being put on a "black list" together with the companies name... regaining trust is tough work of course and some doors seem to be closed forever. On the other hand some equity has been built up so far.
Now my CEO came up with the idea to rebrand.
I am uncertain whether or not this is a good idea! On one hand: yes, we could get rid of old mistrust and its easier to establish a new image than change an old one, but on the other: Eh! It's easy to trace back to the old name... and we would loose everything good we built as there are still many people, who say: I've read about them. They offer good quality.
The problem is: There won't be a chance to do a real check (study) how big the damage is resp. whether good or bad weighs more... Costs would be too high, target group is spread all around the world...
What would you think about a Re-Start in such a situation? Could you give me Pros & Cons to put on my list?
Thanx a lot,
6/21/2008 at 11:10 AM
Nothing is ever clear cut and I'd recommend you stand back and look at the bigger picture. A customer survey is recommended to ascertain the depth of your problem.
You need to take stock. Your situation may not be as acute or as serious as you may (or your customers) perceive so avoid any knee jerk response until you can get better clarification on the problem(s) and use any brand activity now as a potential opportunity.
Re-branding has high investment costs, takes time to see results and often difficult to co-ordinate internally/externally depending on values and your corporate Vision. On the flip side, potential rewards include higher profits over the long term, perceived to be of higher quality & value and better than competitors.
The importance in limiting any negative brand PR is acknowledgment of the problem, dealing with the issue countered with visible plans for change and followed up with reportable actions as you make them happen. It is essential, as a brand and a PR exercise, to move from a negative perception of the brand to another as quickly as possible within planning constraints and practicality. You will need consistent and frequent brand updates internally and externally.
If you do not address the problem(s) now then a % of the negative perception will stay with you until you have built strong enough Brand Equity.
If your CEO is committed to rebranding it has to be lead for the right reasons and not because you think changing a name, identity design or stationery will help customers change their perceptions of your past. Your rebranding must be based and supported on genuine Product Truths and your company's Brand Values .
This could be an opportunity for your company to rejuvenate your Brand's Vision amongst your employees, embed your brand/company's positive values & overall corporate Mission. It is also an opportunity to re-engage with current and lost customers to add/build further brand equity and to solidify relationships. This does need thorough planning and a senior management must be lead this all the way through your organization.
As with any brand activity it's essential, before going external with any messaging, the whole organization understands what is being done, who is involved, how it affects them and what message employees should be conveying.
Hope this helps.
6/21/2008 at 12:27 PM
Yess! Right you are! That is exactly what I thought aswell.
The possibility to be caught is too high! There are only few competitors and all in different countries. so already the company would make clear, who we are. not talking about the technology specials which are obviously leading to us...
But... What about an official rebranding? In terms of: Everything has changed (and indeed it has. all new staff, all new engineering/machine) so it is only fair to have a new name (though the old one was really best choice!) for a new product and service. I would combine that with a "major quality offensive". One could put that on pr telling about all the changes leading to the rebranding?!?
Or would it be better only to put the money in a pure quality campaign - but would that be "message enough" to receive pr?
Thanx & best,
6/21/2008 at 12:39 PM
Thank you very much for your long response.
I feel, I need to add, that the company itself has been changed a lot since those mistakes were done. There is no one left from then. The machines have been completely redone. It is just the old stories that left a bad taste with the regarding customers.
I completely agree, that a short term action would not help. That is what I just told my CEO when he first confronted me with the idea. I just search for good reasons pro and con to really think it over.
And at least: IF such a dramatic change was done to the companies outer appearance, it should be done pretty soon, since as I mentioned, the professional marketing has just begun and the change management process (regarding engineering and service etc) was just completed shortly. But I am fully aware, what we would loose. This is one of the reasons, why I would go for an official rebranding - to keep the positive and strengthen the changes, that had been done...
What do you think about it?
6/22/2008 at 6:28 PM
If you can implement and permanently Embed positive changes - internally and externally, that will separate your company from past negative perceptions, then of course go for officially re-branding your company.
As mentioned before, use this opportunity of re-branding to give yourself and your team fresh and renewed enthusiasm to rejuvenate your brand's Vision within your organization and to external customers. If your Vision is inspiring, ambitious/challenging and energizes your team and employees there shouldn't be any reason why you cannot move forward and leave all negative perceptions behind and replace them with stronger future focused ones.
When you've really started to gain momentum with your new brand there is greater chance older clients will get to hear about you and probably give you an opportunity to prove yourself if you are persistent and patient enough with them.
Best of luck and let us know how you get on!
6/23/2008 at 1:32 AM
You can get over the PR issues with time and a concerted effort to communicate the changes within your company.
However, you might take this opportunity to consider just how strong your current brand name is. Does it convey the brand promise to your intended audience? Does it differentiate you from your competitors? Is it memorable? Is it trademarked? Does it fit your company's competitive positioning?
If not, then rebrand. In the short term, it will signal to your target market that there has been a change in your company. In the long term, a strong name will remain a valuable asset that will help propel your brand.
6/23/2008 at 12:46 PM
Re-branding is not just about changing the name and your collateral. A brand is a collection of experiences and associations attached to your company -- it is your company's promise to its customers and prospects, to all stakeholders. Branding, IMO, is a measure of how deeply and consistently your company carries out its vision/mission. E.g., look at the way your reps answer the phone, they way employee actions are rewarded, your customer service policies, your sales processes -- do all these things reflect your innermost values?
Now, to your question. Before you think about changing the name, ask yourself, does your company's brand need to be aligned? If the answer is yes, then you need to re-brand.
Re-branding does not necessitate changing a name, although people often do. You can change the way your company is perceived without changing the name. The main question to me is -- does your company name reflect your brand? That is what should help you decide whether or not to change the name.
I would recommend the book "Kellogg on Branding" which provides some helpful guidance on creating branding plans.
At the least, it sounds like you need to incorporate a PR campaign to manage your reputation and restore trust.
6/29/2008 at 12:17 PM
I am sorry, I couldn't answer yet, but my CEO was busy all week so we didn't even discuss the topic yet. But as far as I can read from his statements within the last days, I would say, he realised, what he would loose with a complete re-branding and I will certainly advise him to take all the money he would have invested in a re-branding and put it into an offensive quality campaign.
Thanks to everybody.
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