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B2B Marketing

Branding Challenges and Opportunities

There are plenty of branding strategies that have backfired with the public, and those who have been overwhelmingly successful. Those in the successful category include KFC in 2006, and more recently, Delta, Girl Scouts, and Qantas. Those not so successful, and some who were forced to change back, include Netflix (when it tried to rebrand to Qwikster and separate streaming movies from DVD rentals), Tropicana, and Gap.

But there is a lot to be learned from these branding changes – sometimes, a subtle, small change can make a huge difference – and other times, a complete overhaul can make a fresh start for many companies (a good example of this would be when Valujet gave itself a complete makeover and became AirTran). Determining which branding changes to make can be one of the biggest challenges, and opportunities, a company can have.

Challenges of Branding Changes

The biggest challenge to making changes and rebranding is determining how well it will be received by the public. Demographic testing of new branding can be very helpful in deciding whether or not to go forward with a rebranding.

Providing a consistent message to consumers on reasons for the branding change, and how it will work for them is one of the best ways to oversee these challenges. People like to feel that they are involved, especially loyal customers – and social media can help – but it must be used wisely, and balanced with expert opinions when rolling out branding changes.

Opportunities of Branding Changes

Branding must express how the company has improved itself – such as with Delta’s branding change – “keep climbing,” spoke to its customers, evoking visions of promise to keep improving until they get it right. Branding changes are the opportunity to show consumers how much better a product or service will be, because of changes that have taken place within the company.

There is also an opportunity to change through and through, not just slapping on a new label, saying that the company is new and improved, and changing absolutely nothing. Valujet’s change to AirTran was a prime example of this. The company did a complete safety overhaul, kept their prices low, and made sure that changes were made from the top-most executives all the way down the line so that they would no longer be associated with dangerous flying that resulted in deaths of its passengers.

The lessons are fairly simple – deliver a message to the audience of changes within the company by delivering a branding that demonstrates a commitment to overall improvement. However, ensure that the branding change is backed up consistently with improvements to the total customer experience in mind. Find a balance of branding that goes beyond superficial, listens to the consumers, and, once the change is made, stand by it with good reasons. The balance between public outcry and necessary change must be measured by how it will affect the whole of the company.

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