Branding is a long and complicated process. Powerful brands like McDonald’s closely follow behavior in order to tailor their offer and marketing campaigns so it fits current trends and consumer preferences. It’s also important to stick to the company’s mission, McDonald’s for example started as provider of fast and cheap food, and it still holds to its core values, although their offer has been radically changed over the years. Sometimes in the middle of this process companies decide to rebrand. This process occurs when company needs to change a significant portion of their brand. This cost time and money, and it can be very risky since there are no guarantees that customers will accept the new product. So why should companies changed their brand after they put so much effort into establishing it? There are many reasons for this to happen and they can be separated in two main groups.
- Predicted Growth- this happens when company is preparing for big domestic or international growth. Great example of this is the rebranding of cannabis plant. This wasn’t done by the sole company, but by network of companies, NGOs and users. Plant was scrutinized for decades and in recent years its ability to treat certain medical conditions and its use in different industries largely influenced its comeback into public spotlight, this time in a positive context. Many companies caught the wave of cannabis popularity, which made their stocks sky rocket after state’s legalization measures.
- New Line of Business or Market- when company enters new market that’s not compatible with their current brands. Apple Computers, cut “Computers” from their name after they started producing iPhones and iPads.
- New Audience- companies that want to appeal to different demographics usually need to adapt some of their brands to new audience preferences. Converse shoes used to enjoy more than 80% of the market share in the Chuck Taylor Era, but during the seventies they lost their touch after the emergence of manufacturers like: Nike, Puma, Adidas etc. In later years they started a big rebranding campaign that mostly relies on rock stars and rebellious figures. Campaign made wonders for this company and Chuck Tayor’s are again one of the most popular shoes among young and the restless.
- Relevancy- Brands that loose relevancy in consumer’s minds need to be changed. Converse can be used as an example for this, since during the seventies and eighties people preferred shoes promoted by new NBA stars, so the company needed to find different celebrities to promote their product and they decided for musicians like Curt Cobain. This was very unusual for the era when only athletes used to promote sport shoes. As we all know, this campaign paid off, big time.
- Merger or Acquisition- When two companies join, same happens to their brand identities. One of the best examples for this is the new Jeep Renegade, the product of Fiat-Chrysler merge. It’s the first Jeep vehicle produced outside United States (it’s manufactured in Italy) and it comes with much softer attitude and a lot of European influences. This made Jeep popular among younger and more liberal crowd.
- Legal Issues- This is the most painful reason for rebranding, and the process in this case needs to be led by experts only. It usually comes after trademark infringement lawsuit by another business subject. When branding, companies often use slogans, colors or logos that were already trademarked by other businesses. One of the examples for this is the Nike’s campaign with the slogan: “I Will”, which led to lawsuit filed by Under Amour.
- Competitive Influences- Actions of rival companies can lead to rebranding if they make company’s offer look dated. One more time we come back to Apple and the campaign that came under the slogan “Think Different”. At a time the computer market was largely dominated by giants like IBM, HP and Dell, which forced Apple start rebranding process. Main IBM’s slogan at a time was: ”Think!”, which makes Apple’s campaign even more ingenious. It appeals to the younger crowd, who will embrace smart gadgets and make them an inseparable part of their lifestyle.
- Negative Publicity- Rebranding is the best thing for fighting bad publicity. Good example for this is McDonald’s, after taking all the blame for making Americans obese, this company stood back on its feet, by introducing healthier choices, catchy slogans and Justin Timberlake’s tunes.