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Is rebranding worth the risk?

Posted by: Thomas Harrison-Lord on 6 December 2017

A brand represents so much. It’s a recognisable signature that defines your business. It will be mentioned in conversations, emails and social media posts and the aim is to be as memorable as possible.

It takes time to build up awareness, reputation and loyalty to your brand, so why jeopardise all of that by rebranding?

By rebranding, what I mean is to go through the research, deliberation, expenditure and campaigns required to communicate a complete U-turn in branding and start calling your product, service or business something fresh. There are many examples of a rebrand being a success…

Edible Delights

Starburst Rebranding

A classic example of this is Snickers. Previously known as the Marathon until 1990, a whole generation grew up with one name, only for it to be switched to another despite zero changes to the chocolate bar itself. Even if the change predated your existence, the chances are high that you will still be aware of the change.

Another confectionery example is Starburst. Introduced in the 1960s, they were originally known as Opal Fruits. The name Opal Fruits was the result of a naming competition in the UK, whereas they were launched in the US as an offshoot of the already popular M&M brand as M&M Fruit Chewies. This didn’t last long, and they were rebranded as Starburst in America in the late 1960s. The decision to switch from Opal Fruits to Starburst in the UK came about as an attempt to offer one consistent brand around the world.

Handbrake Turns

Datsun Nissan Rebranding

It wouldn’t be a blog from me without a car reference. Today’s automotive learnings come via Japan and the company Nissan. Nissan cars were called Datsuns when they first started out. The Datsun name came about in the 1930s, when two companies merged – DAT Automobile Co. and Jitsuyo Automobile Co, hence Datsun. Nissan was the parent company that oversaw the car operations.

In 1984 they decided to rename the Datsun car company, despite establishing the Nissan brand and reputation across the globe, to that of the holding business behind the operation. So, Nissan (as a consumer business) was born. Same company, and initially, the same vehicles, but now under the – new-to-end-consumers – Nissan brand. Since the change, recognition and sales are in a much better place, to the point where the Qashqai and Juke models are regularly in the top ten best selling cars in the UK.

Mitsubishi cars were also originally sold as the Colt Car Company in the 1970s too. Then, just to confuse things, started selling a car called the Mitsubishi Colt.

Is it worth it?

Rebranding Worth

Most companies tend to opt for a redesigned logo, fresh company branding or a new approach. A complete rebrand is somewhat unique and seemingly all the fashion in the 1980s if the examples mentioned in this blog are to go by.

But, it can be worth it. There are many reasons to completely switch up a brand. If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. For the examples mentioned above, this is absolutely the case. If you have explored other avenues, it may be time to start afresh to boost your businesses performance.

For me, it just goes to show how important brand reputation and awareness is, and how important it is to create a robust brand mark – proving to the B2B sector that investment in your brand is a worthwhile exercise.

When it comes to Insight, Strategy and Brand, think Fox Agency.

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