The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
We are happy to answer marketing questions of all types here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today's question comes from Karen, a Marketing Director in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes…
"We have a decision to make regarding the fate of a specialty brand of hardwood flooring. It has been in the market for the past two years — failing tremendously. I am stuck on whether or not to start the brand over or to rebuild it. I personally feel that the brand has a reputation in the industry as a serious failure. Anytime anyone discusses it, they almost laugh about it. I think it would be smarter to abandon the brand and start over with a new brand. What do you suggest? Rebuild or start over?"
Thanks for your question Karen. As you have indicated, your options are to reposition/re-launch the brand or launch a new brand. Either way, it will require a significant communications effort over time to build awareness or change perceptions. And, it is far easier to build brand awareness than it is to change brand perceptions with marketing communications.
I would measure top-of-mind and other unaided brand awareness within your brand’s product category by your brand’s target customers. I would do this blind (coming from a third party, not your company) to get an unbiased read. Further, I would measure brand perceptions: (a) top-of-mind, open ended question (“Thinking of brand “XYZ,” what comes to your mind?), (b) against a battery of brand and product category attributes and benefits (close ended) and (c) against a battery of brand personality attributes (close ended).
If the brand has low or very low awareness, you have the flexibility of repositioning/re-launching the brand or introducing a new brand. If the brand has moderately-high to high brand awareness and significant negative associations, it would be better to launch a new brand. If the brand has moderately-high to high brand awareness and mixed or positive associations, while you could still launch a new brand it might be worthwhile to reposition/re-launch the existing brand so as not to walk away from its awareness advantage. Given what you have shared with us, I am assuming that the brand would not have predominantly positive associations, so this is not a path we need to go down (though, if it did, it would be best to stick with that brand).
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