This blog is part of Brandhorizon business talks – Leading the present, Shaping the future !
When a well established brand wants to reposition, it is a daunting task for the Brand owner who will be fraught with multiple challenges during the Brand management process. A well thought out Brand management strategy makes all the difference in achieving the objectives. Brand repositioning could be Strategic or Operational. Whether a brand is in B2B segment or B2C, each one has to be dealt with on a case to case basis and no one solution or strategy can work for another brand because Brand repositioning process is highly customised.
To start with, the biggest challenge will be to completely overwrite a preset notion and image in minds of masses who over years would have created an impression on positioning of the brand already. To change that mindset would involve a super creative brand communication besides a notable distinction in the offering itself and most of all, fulfilment of the brand promise. Equally important challenge will be Internal brand repositioning because there are many brand ambassadors within an organisation across value Chain who can actually complement or dilute the efforts, depending on the effectiveness of internal branding. Distribution channel players are a classic example of brand ambassadors.
Strategic brand repositioning may involve tough decisions, long drawn processes and sometimes also significant associated costs but obviously these decisions are taken only when there are convincing tradeoffs, to say the least One classic example of a very well established brand attempting to reposition itself to align with the digital ecosystem and aiming to shed existing image and enhance its global reputation as a technology innovator is GE. This brand has chosen to move its Corporate HQ to Boston to enhance perception as a digital giant. Strategic brand repositioning may also be warranted to battle out perceptions from negative brand scandals and turnaround brand reputation once again to make the scandals a bygone bad dream, so to say. An example that comes to mind immediately is the VW‘s very creative and novel commercial (“Then, now, Always”) which creatively attempts to reinforce the impression of VW ‘s core value through the message” it’s a lifelong companion “.
Repositioning from an operational point of view are no exceptions to the challenge. Operational brand repositioning may have to be undertaken in multiple marketing mix segments. It could be repositioning of an existing product into premium pricing, like Chevrolet did, or a premium segment offering under a midsize umbrella brand may drive the need for repositioning.
Chevrolet adopted an approach of anonymity before launch of a redesigned car which was significantly an improved version. They invited audience for an opinion poll, without revealing the identity of the car, sans logos and badges and asked them to guess brand and price. The guesses both on the make and on the price were mostly luxury brands like Audi and BMW. In reality price was significantly lower than the top range of the guesses. The tag line then for the launch was “More than you expect, for less than you imagined”. So if a brand wants to reposition itself in pricing, the first focus has to be on a quality upgradation that can add significant value addition qualitatively or quantitatively to a customer and on a consistent basis. This leads to a perception that the product is worthy of a premium pricing. Brand gets elevated in the minds of consumers and then the likelihood of a premium pricing being accepted is a lot certain.
On the other hand, if we are relooking at a totally new product, it will be necessary to identify competition offering and while ensuring all those parameters are in parity, some form of uniqueness is also introduced to differentiate and give a distinct advantage to the customers. Sometimes it may warrant a completely new brand name in order not to get overshadowed by a midsize perception.
One thing in common in all of the above, is besides a well thought out brand management strategy, brand communication plays a key role. It should be highly creative, effective and very articulate on the positioning of brand so it does not create any confusion or ambiguity in the minds of the consumers. Metrics to measure the brand value and monitor brand equity should be scientifically devised and analysed regularly to ensure it is actually not just reaching the target audience but also impacting them positively and creating the intended repositioned brand recognition. Otherwise it will be money down the drain that brands can ill afford. And equally important is that brand promises need to be kept up consistently in order to sustain the elevated positioning of the brand personality.