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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
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KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
How to reinvent a brand
Reinventing a brand is a huge challenge. There are times, however, when managers don’t have choice; they have to reinvent their brand if it is to remain relevant
Issue Date - 12/01/2012
 
Advertising isn’t the only way to build visibility, however, especially in today’s dynamic media environment. PR can be a very powerful platform; a brand with a compelling story can receive considerable (and free) coverage from the press.

Social media is also an opportunity to build visibility at a relative modest cost. With social media platforms, such as Facebook, positive word of mouth support can quickly build and grow. P&G, for instance, is repositioning its Old Spice brand of men’s care products with a highly engaging campaign that relies heavily on social media.

Set reasonable expectations: Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that repositioning efforts take time; it is thus important to set modest expectations. Changing the perceptions of a brand is a difficult undertaking because you have to change how people think. This is not easy to do; you can’t just send them a letter and consider it done. People have to see the change unfold over time, so it doesn’t happen immediately.

A brand repositioning will rarely deliver a short term increase in sales. Indeed, in the early days of a repositioning effort sales might actually decline; some of the existing customers won’t care for the new positioning and will probably leave. These departures may occur soon after the reposition campaign begins, before new customers have appeared. As a result sales might slump as the repositioning effort begins. Profit results will probably be even worse, with sales declining despite a sharp increase in spending. Repositioning a brand isn’t a quick fix. Brands are long term assets, and repositioning a brand is an investment in the future. If you are looking for short-term sales and profits, a big promotional offer will be more effective. Of course, the short-term promotional offer will probably cause problems down the road.

Setting high expectations is almost always a problem for a repositioning. Since results will likely be rather poor in the early days, companies may well give up on the initiative entirely, declaring that the programme isn’t working and abandoning the effort. Returning to the old positioning, however, will incur more costs and cause confusion in the market. With modest expectations, however, the business team has time to let the repositioning unfold, to see the positive impact kick in, hopefully more than offsetting the early loses of non-core customers.

Embracing the challenge: A strong brand can be a tremendous asset, differentiating products and creating enormous value. While brands can last for many years, they need to remain relevant; a brand can’t remain static when the world changes.

Repositioning brand is one of the great management challenges. It is not an easy task but is sometimes essential for brands in rapidly changing markets.
 

Manish K. Pandey           
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