United States: Rebranding: What Happens When It Goes Wrong?

Back by popular demand: It's Ken Homa! Prof. Homa was kind enough to share his wisdom with us last week on repackaging, and he's back to tell a tale of rebranding gone wrong. In case you forgot, in his prime, Prof. Homa was one of the world's foremost experts in rebranding, as evidenced by his work with GE and Black & Decker.

You may recall that years ago, back in 2009, Tropicana went through a rebrand:

The goal of a rebrand is to get people to look at the brand again and bring some kind of excitement around the brand. Typically, a rebranding leads to increased marketing expenditures and improved performance of the product. Instead, in Tropicana's case, its profits took a squeeze. After the redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% in less than two months, costing the brand millions and millions. Ultimately Tropicana had to stop the presses and pull the plug on the redesign.

Prof. Homa had some words of wisdom as to how to avoid such a debaucle. First, the Prof advises against destroying the most recognizable elements of your brand. He warns: "just because everybody's doing it doesn't mean you should, and especially not if you are removing the most iconic parts of your logo." He was none too pleased when NBC plucked the iconic peacock from its logo to make room for a new corporate-looking design.

However, if you're keen on rebranding, the Prof suggests reading this article and asking the following questions before you do:

  1. Why are we doing a rebrand?
  2. What problem are we attempting to solve?
  3.  Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting our growth potential?
  4. Has our customer profile changed?
  5. Are we pigeonholed as something that we (and our customers) have outgrown?
  6. Does our brand tell the wrong (or outdated) story?
  7. What do we want to convey? To whom?
  8. Why should anyone care about our brand?
  9.  Have we isolated exactly who should care about our brand?
  10. Have their needs, or the way they define them, changed?
  11. Are we asking our customer to care more about our brand — and what it means — than we do?
  12. Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful?
  13. Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?
  14. Are we leading with our brand direction?
  15. Are we following with our brand direction?
  16. Is the goal of this rebrand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary) ?
  17. Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?
  18.  Have we assigned some committee to manage the project versus someone (or at most, two people) who is/are focused, inspired and can lead?
  19. If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?

(questions © DBD International)

These questions are ones that only you can answer for your business. However, if you do choose to rebrand, consult homafiles.com and your friendly Trademarkologists for rebranding words of wisdom. Once you've decided to rebrand, don't forget to take the necessary steps to determine the availability of your new logo and seek protection through federal registration.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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