When To Reposition A Brand

When to reposition a brand should be widely known and well accepted among marketing professionals, but it is not. Brand repositioning is necessary if one or more of these conditions exist:

  • Your brand has a bad, confusing, or nonexistent image.
  • Your brand lacks vitality. It is perceived as “old” or “tired.”
  • The primary benefit your brand “owns” has evolved from a differentiating benefit to a cost-of-entry benefit. (For example, for airlines cost-of-entry benefits would be safe flights, needed routes, and required times.)
  • Your organization is significantly altering its strategic direction.
  • Your organization is entering new businesses and the current positioning is no longer appropriate.
  • A new competitor with a superior value proposition is entering your industry.
  • Competition has usurped your brand’s position or made it ineffectual.
  • Competition has deliberately repositioned your brand in a negative way.
  • Technology has disrupted your industry and your brand.
  • A brand extension has repositioned the parent brand in a negative light.
  • Research indicates that your brand is no longer unique or compelling.
  • Research indicates your brand is not building an emotional connection to your target customer.
  • Your organization has acquired a very powerful proprietary advantage that must be worked into the brand positioning.
  • Corporate culture renewal dictates at least a revision of the brand personality.
  • You are broadening your brand to appeal to additional consumers or consumer need segments for whom the current brand positioning won’t work. (This should be a “red flag” since it could dilute the brand’s meaning or make it less appealing to current customers or even alienate them.)

You follow the same steps and address the same brand design components when repositioning a brand as you do when first designing the brand. But, brand repositioning is more difficult than initially positioning a brand because you must first help the customer “unlearn” the current brand positioning (easier said than done). Three actions can aid in this process:

  1. Carefully crafted communication – you must skillfully move the person from what he or she currently believes about the brand to what you now want him or her to believe about the brand
  2. New products and packaging that emphasize the new positioning
  3. Associations with other brands (e.g., cobranding, comarketing, ingredient branding, strategic alliances) that reinforce the new brand positioning

You should not rely solely on an advertising agency, a brand consulting firm, or your marketing department to craft your corporate or organizational brand’s design. This is so critical to your organization’s success that its leadership team and marketing/brand management leaders should develop it themselves, preferably with the help of a brand positioning expert.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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Brad VanAuken The Blake Project

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