Many company’s today are asking if their brand is stale? Some ask if it needs to change to stay up with the times. Why companies such as The Page Group exist is we have the capacity to come into an organization and from an unbiased point of view review the company, its people, the brand, the logo, and the messaging and give you real insights into how to effective build your brand in today’s markets. Sometimes that involves a total brand transformation, and sometimes in it changing the way we look at our products, product categories, and the relationship with our consumers. The Page Group can help you best define your brand strategies for todays market. Give us a call.
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3 Undeniably Successful Brand Transformations
by Tom Shapiro
Founded & CEO
Digital Marketing NOW
Conventional wisdom maintains that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but reinventing your brand is another story–at least for Xerox, Apple, and Burberry.
Over the years, these three companies have seen incredible success through the total transformation of their brands. But how do you know whether a rebrand is the right move? After all, your marketing once worked. But if you find that your brand and its positioning are hurting rather than helping you achieve your goals, it might be time to make changes to regain the attention of your customers–and appeals to new ones.
Here’s what you can learn from the Big Three.
Xerox: Not Your Father’s Copier Company
Lack of awareness doesn’t always call for a brand overhaul. Your brand may be completely recognizable, but if it doesn’t properly reflect your current business offerings, then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Such was the case for Xerox, which acquired Affiliated Computer Services in February 2010 and made the move from copier company to business services company. Unfortunately, this move was little known to consumers–many of whom continued to use “Xerox” as a synonym for “copy.” A rebranding was imminent.
Xerox was no stranger to rebranding, but its 2010 acquisition called for a more strategic transformation in order to convey its core business changes. That year the company rolled out a fun-n-funky integrated ad campaign starring some of its most notable big-brand clients: Mr. Clean, Bullseye the Target terrier, the Michelin Man, and others. No longer “the document company,” Xerox let the world know it–and its partners–were “Ready for Real Business.”
Then-CMO Christa Carone said the “Ready for Real Business” campaign was a way to “disrupt legacy perceptions” of the Xerox brand and communicate the company in a fresh, engaging way. Mission accomplished. The ads were pushed out through print, television, and even interactive airport billboards. Further, Xerox launched RealBusiness.com, a publishing microsite geared toward helping clients get back to business, and repositioned its corporate blog to reflect the new “business-ready” brand message. Partnering with big-name clients was a killer strategy for Xerox. The cross-promotion helped to amplify its campaign, strengthen ties with key customers, and playfully communicate its new breadth of services.
While Xerox’s transformation may appear seamless (roll out an attention-grabbing ad campaign and–poof–you’re a changed company), in reality it involved significant planning at the highest level. The “Ready for Real Business” campaign was simply a launchpad for Xerox to unveil its new, finely crafted market positioning. Since then, the company has retained its brand identity but found new ways to convey its scope to customers. For example, its 2013 “Made Simple by Xerox” campaign was a nod to Xerox’s 75-year-plus heritage spent making complicated processes easier. The lesson here is stay true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to keep it fresh.
• Rebranding Tip: If your business is changing, it’s OK to be bold with your rebranding. Start by thinking about your company’s history, values, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, future goals, and key differentiators. Based on the company you are determined to become, rethink your marketing. What do you want prospective customers to think and feel about your brand moving forward? Remember that rebranding is like an iceberg–your customers only see the surface. The most successful brand transformations include a thorough internal transformation while also providing a crystal-clear external repositioning and seamless experience for customers.
Apple: Still Thinking Different
From nearly bankrupt to technology juggernaut, Apple is one of the most iconic brands of our time. It has shown the world that you can change your fate with a little luck and a lot of strategy. The shift began in 1997 when Steve Jobs reassumed his role as CEO and made immediate changes to the declining company. Jobs used the brand’s outsider image to cleverly entice customers to rebel by choosing Apple products; its 1997 “Think Different” campaign essentially marked the beginning of Apple’s re-emergence as a marketing powerhouse.
For Apple, simplicity was key. In 1998 the brand got a visual makeover, revealing a fresh, clean logo (no more rainbow stripes) and typeface. All in all, the company now appeared more modern and sophisticated. Moreover, the simple, monochrome logo was designed as a branding tool; unlike the rainbow Apple logo, the new logo could be prominently featured on its products to drive awareness.
Many factors played into Apple’s rebranding success–not least of which was Jobs’ vision. Maintaining highly consistent design and identity across its product lines, packaging, Web site, and in-store customer experience, Apple created instant recognition among consumers. By creating a user experience that was unlike what any other brand was doing at the time, Apple transitioned from tech brand to lifestyle brand, and currently has one of the most loyal audiences in the world.
• Rebranding Tip: If your business is ready to embrace change and reinvent its brand from the inside out, start by creating a great product–but don’t stop there. Broaden your market. Not limiting itself to the personal computer, Apple created revolutionary platforms for mobile apps and music downloads, and captured an incredibly large share of the mobile phone and portable music markets, too. Oftentimes there’s no better way to propel your brand forward than through a fanatical focus on quality and user experience.
Burberry: Out Of The Trenches
Burberry’s turnaround story began when Angela Ahrendts came on board as CEO in 2006. Following a six-month tour of the brand’s global locations, Ahrendts found that the customer experience was anything but consistent. Dog leashes were sold at one location, kilts in another, and the price point of the classic Burberry raincoat varied country to country. In the process of global expansion, the company had completely lost its focus–and its exclusivity. Ahrendts’ first strategic move in kick-starting the success story was to centralize design and revive the brand’s heritage.
Ahrendts admittedly drew inspiration from Apple’s and Starbucks’ brand consistency. After all, a luxury brand turned ubiquitous is anything but luxurious. In order to engineer a pure, global luxury brand that would compete with its much larger rivals, Ahrendts appointed Christopher Bailey to the position of global design director. Ahrendts was very clear in her mission: “Anything that the consumer sees—anywhere in the world—will go through his office. No exceptions.”
Placing a strong focus on origin and status, Bailey (who becameBurberry’s CEO last month) set about making Burberry’s heritage relevant once again for high-end shoppers. Although Burberry was founded in England more than 150 years ago (making it one of the oldest fashion labels), it needed to be more than its roots to stay afloat.
The success of Burberry’s rebranding is seen in its ability to adapt current styles while still celebrating its history. The company continually launched digital marketing initiatives, such as Burberry Acoustic, Art of the Trench, and a partnership with Google, to bring the brand from the dusty attic to fresh relevancy with a new generation. Reviving the esteem that the brand once held, Burberry became known for its high-profile celebrity endorsements. With its classy yet groundbreaking and highly inclusive approach to social media, Burberry became the first luxury brand to hit 10 million likes on Facebook (now more than 17 million).
• Rebranding Tip: Even a flailing brand can be brought back to life. The first step is to identify the aspects of your current business or marketing that are out of whack. For Burberry it was a poorly managed global expansion (plus an unpleasant association with British gangs). Whatever it is that’s holding you back–get rid of it without mercy. Sometimes the answer isn’t a flashy ad campaign. It might be that your company just needs a strong leader to step up to the plate, tell it like it is, and implement a new strategic approach.
Maybe that leader is you.
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