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.
Regular readers of Branding Strategy Insider know we welcome and answer marketing questions of all types. Today, Ely Portillo, a business reporter from the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, North Carolina asks…
"Hi Derrick. I'm looking for some insight into why a retailer might change its branding. Lowe's (formerly "Let's Build Something Together" and now "Never Stop Improving"), has had several quarters of disappointing results, especially in comparison to its main adversary, Home Depot. What is the potential of a branding shift to help boost sagging sales and shift the terrain versus a larger rival?"
Ely, the potential can be quite great if the new effort is better aligned with un-met customer needs than the competition. Often, when sophisticated marketers are faced with greater competitive pressure or a new economic landscape they turn to their customers for help in tightening the focus — drawing on deep customer insight to create greater value. The power of brands lies in focus. Lowe’s new tagline very well could be a response to a better understanding of its target customers through brand research.
"What else is generally required of a retailer to successfully carry through a re-branding campaign, besides a new tagline and ads?"Read More
To be successful at repositioning your brand, you have to create higher meaning and aim higher. Aiming higher requires outward thinking and learning from the marketplace.
Over the past two years, we have been engaged with a variety of consumer products brands whose managers are seeking new opportunities to grow their brand’s value. In all these engagements, I have noticed a common thread among all of them – consumers no longer care about them because they have lost their compelling meaning in the consumer’s mind. One thing is certain– once a consumer’s mind is made up about a brand, it’s next to impossible to change it. The decisions facing brand mangers and marketing executives regarding how they deal with our ever-evolving market landscape usually comes down to three options:
- continue to invest in the existing brand meaning
- create a sub-brand
- invent a completely new brand
All of these options have advantages and disadvantages, more so if the brand is also facing dramatic challenges in distribution. The driver underpinning all these options is change. Brands are dynamic. They have their cycles and they run their course. What’s hard for managers to grasp is when to move on.
This is particularly true if the brand was once a leader. Market success always creates size, power and a false sense of security. Over time, this creates an unrealistic view of the external reality, and a lack of urgency to correct course in maintaining relevancy among consumers.Read More
Think of it as “Extreme Makeover, Aquatic Edition.” Asian carp, scorned as inedible and hunted down as vanquishers of native species, are being taste-tested under new names on menus from south to north.
The background: Asian carp were imported to the southern U.S. in the 1970s to suck up scum from catfish ponds. But they’ve become monsters in the eyes of many as they have migrated North. They can grow to 100 pounds, multiply like guppies, and tend to leap crazily out of the water, bruising and breaking boaters’ bones.
The fish got a lot of attention once they migrated up the Mississippi River and broke through an electric barrier designed to keep them out of Lake Michigan.
State and federal governments have doled out millions of dollars to various agencies to eradicate them. But too little attention has been given to a rebranding solution: Eating the Asian carp out of existence, or at least making a dent in the population.
▪ It began in Louisiana, where wildlife officials rolled out a promotion dubbing the fish the Silverfin, and enlisting chefs to create recipes for the tasty white meat of the bighead carp and silver carp, two dominant invaders. “A cross between scallops and crabmeat,” declared one seafood chef.
Comcast is in the process of rebranding some of its offerings to "Xfinity," although the company name will remain Comcast.
Consumers in 11 markets will have a choice of Xfinity TV, Xfinity Voice and Xfinity Internet. Presumably, Comcast will soon be rolling out these high-speed, high-definition services to other prospects in the 39 states the company serves.
Is this a good move?
Lawyers will tell you the best trademarks are "coined" names such as Kodak and Xerox. So we are seeing a raft of coined brand names you can't find in any dictionary, including Xfinity.
But wait a minute. There's a well-known automobile brand called "Infiniti." Isn't Comcast worried about the confusion between the two? If not, did Comcast consider using Xonda or Xundai or Xoyota?
But there is a bigger issue here. Comcast is a large company with revenues last year of $35.8 billion. In addition to its cable, telephone and internet services, Comcast has cable programming interests (G4, Versus and The Golf Channel) and also owns entertainment channel E!
Not to mention the company's 51% interest in NBC Universal, a joint venture with General Electric.
It makes sense for Comcast to have a pure "company" name like Procter & Gamble and have its services, programming and cable channels defined with their own brand names.
Internal vs. external
But what makes sense from an internal point of view often doesn't make sense from an external point of view.
One mile from the surface, and 50 miles from some of the most beautiful and valuable coastline on Earth, the leak continues unabated. And you can forget the estimates of how many gallons of oil are being pumped into the Gulf of Mexico each day, because BP has also conceded it has no clue exactly how much oil is leaking out.
These uncertainties add to the growing list of major imponderables facing the beleaguered British oil company. BP has said it does not know when the leak will be stopped, nor does it have any idea what the long-term ramifications for local communities and industries will be. It has also said it has no clue what the final cleanup bill will come to – except that it will be in the billions and that BP will be liable for every penny. Indeed, the implications are so inestimably huge at this stage that the only accurate bellwether of the kind of trouble BP now finds itself in has been the ashen, horrified look on chief executive Tony Hayward’s face. All the media training in the world cannot disguise the enormity of the problem now facing Hayward and his company.
Any oil company finding itself in this situation would be in trouble. But there is, of course, a very specific reason why BP, of all companies, is going to suffer more spectacularly than any other from this disaster. BP, as we now all know, now stands for “Beyond Petroleum”. In the most famous repositioning case of the century, Ogilvy and Landor helped BP to change its logo, its name and its positioning to reflect the fact that the company was now actively “exploring new ways to live without oil”.Read More