Rebranding can be a tricky issue for any business. It takes years building and marketing a brand which makes letting go incredibly difficult. But the challenge to all brands lies in staying current, trendy, and forward orienting in the eyes of the consumer. Failure to do so depreciates brand identity creating a stale, boring, and distinctly archaic brand impression. And so begins the costly yet brave move towards rebranding.
Brand image is the public’s perception of a product or business. So when this image becomes tainted, radical action is needed to address the brand’s slide. Two main courses of action are available to brands slipping towards mediocrity or worse – irrelevance. A brand makeover or complete brand plastic surgery.
A makeover generally involves changing the public brand appearance. Enhancing the prime dominant colours of the brand and/or logo may provide a more vibrant presentation of the business. This also involves changing general aspects of the business such as updating product ranges. Creating a new advertising message also helps to succinctly transmit the new brand image to consumers.
Plastic surgery streamlines a complete brand transformation involving a new brand name, different colors, new products/services, and a whole new image to distance the brand from any previous brand associations.
In this blog, we’ll look at two brands who’ve recently gone under the rebranding knife:
In 2016, Ford launched a new advertising campaign urging us to “Unlearn Ford”. Seeking to transform the brand to be more hip and trendy, no expense was spared.
A fully integrated campaign across all offline and online advertising platforms presented us with a new Ford. At the heart of this marketing campaign was the Ford Mustang. Accompanying the Mustang at the unveiling was the Ford GT supercar and the humble Ford Edge.
Prime adverts put these 3 vehicles at the forefront carrying the new Ford message. But the Mustang got center stage. By giving the Mustang centre stage, Ford hoped to cultivate a perception that all Ford models are as impressive and powerful by priming customers. It highlights that Mustang is a Ford creation. This pushes an association of power and prestige across all Ford models.
However, results have been contradictory so far. Ford car sales have generally increased especially the Ford Edge but sharp declines were felt with sales of the Mustang. By promoting the Mustang to a wider audience, the car seems to lose it’s appeal to the niche luxury car sector. Sales are suffering a 15% decline since the start of 2016. So much so they had to halt production for a week as demand didn’t meet supply.
On face value, this defies logic as usually advertising increases result in better sales. If more people know about the product more people will buy it. But the luxury car market is a different beast. In the recession, luxury car sales were booming with BMW and Audi the main beneficiaries. With most people short of luck and change, the affluent sought to flash their wealth splashing out on luxury brands highlighting their career success to their societal peers.
Luxury cars spell expense, esteem, and exclusivity. When Ford promoted the Mustang to the general public, it’s possible the Mustang lost it’s exclusive appeal. The Mustang now became familiar to the everyday person thereby unappealing to the affluent looking to stand out and flash their shiny new and exclusive car.
While the rebrand perhaps backfired for the Mustang range, overall I believe Ford vehicles have become more appealing as a result. The Fiesta and Mondeo ranges have been given the Mustang look with a protruding bonnet exuding power and authority which was distinctly un-Ford in previous years. This has brought Ford more inline with a younger and more image obsessed generation now possessing buying power in the market.
By 2015, Eircom had many issues to address. After entering examinership in 2012, the brand exited bearing an association with failure and incompetence. Everything about Eircom screamed a relic of the past rather than the bastion of the future. For an energy brand trying to embody innovation and forward thinking this was disastrous. The brand didn’t just need a makeover but drastic plastic surgery.
Surgery was not cheap though with an investment of 16 million undertaken to re-establish this tired brand.
Dropping the “com” in favour of a fresh and light brand name – Eir was step 1. A new logo and colour palette, with up to 20 colours attaching to the brand identity, gave Eir a sleek, original and modernistic appearance. I love their new website also with striking colours and dynamic pattern. 100+ Eir vans on the road were also at the end of a makeover. Vehicle wrapping of different green palettes took place increasing visibility and brand awareness.
Their marketing and advertising campaigns present a new brand image of a more exciting, successful, and futuristic company.
Ultimately, all the branding in the world isn’t going to mask a bad product or poor service. Eir will be judged on the quality of their broadband, customer service, and other offerings.
It has however been an impressive example of effective and transformative rebranding.