Often, we are retained when a new CEO comes on board and changes the direction of his or her company and its products and services. As a part of that effort, the CEO asks the CMO to initiate a rebranding effort to communicate the change in direction. In this way, the rebranding effort supports substantive changes in products, services or business direction. When a rebranding project is initiated in this way, we are often called upon to help the organization revisit its mission, vision and values in addition to its brand’s essence, promise and personality. The CEO is the primary driver of the initiative throughout the organization.
At other times, we are invited to help companies reposition their brands independent of premeditated business changes. But, this is still a strategic exercise. We focus on what needs to change to create a substantive and compelling point of difference and we work with the management team to achieve that substantive point of difference. This may result in organization redesign, business process redesign, product redesign, customer service overhaul and other real changes. Key to the success of this approach is involving the organization’s leadership team throughout the process.
A third type of brand repositioning requests comes from organizations that know their brands lack differentiation from other brands in their categories, but that view this mostly as a brand identity and marketing communication exercise. This initiative usually comes from the marketing department itself and may or may not be instigated or supported at a higher level in the organization. We try to work with the internal team to not only change the brand’s identity and marketing messages but also to create additional brand promise proof points at each point of customer contact through our customer touch point design workshop.
There is a final type of brand repositioning project, in which we typically do not get involved (because we are brand strategy consultants). These are initiated by marketing departments and are viewed primarily as the need for a new communications campaign supported by fresh creative. It is independent of any real change in the organization or its products or services. The key point of difference is created through the messaging itself.
It might be useful for you to think through how your organization approaches brand repositioning and what that says about its capacity for long-term success.