Tuesday 13 October 2015

The only reason to ever rebrand

Brands are no more or less than memory-constructs in people's minds. When you rebrand you choose to shatter these memories. In other words, start again. So, why do it?

The Tropicana rebrand is a text book example, literally. From the familiar orange-with-a-straw image to a plain glass of juice, along with a logo change, Unilever rebranded their orange juice wholesale. 

And the result: It became unrecognisable. Its repeat buyers (or loyalists), as well as light and non-buyers couldn't find the brand they, at different levels, all knew. And, within 6 weeks, sales dropped 20%, or roughly $33 million. 

More than we'd like to admit (in focus groups), why we buy is intuitive over rational. We shop on autopilot with an inherent draw to the familiar, or memorable (Buyhaviour 1: Availability Bias). 

Which makes the role of advertising, including branding: to lodge your brand's distinctive assets - logos, colours, design, fonts, tone - into the mind and memory of your audience. 

Which can only happen if your brand has a consistent, unique identity. Of which, rebranding is the antithesis. So, save yourself mega-bucks. Refresh, reframe; just don't rebrand. 

Unless, of course your brand's been hijacked by an international terrorist group. Then, you should probably rebrand.

Christopher Ott

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