When companies start to decline or want to reach the next level there are several ways they can try and stimulate growth. Whether it be cutting costs in a failing business to focus on key areas or a cash boost to help try and get over the tipping point to success there are many avenues companies can take depending on the situation. Rebranding is another tool campanies can use, which if carried out well can not only save a business but turn it into a powerhouse. Don’t get me wrong, rebranding mistakes have cost companies a lot of money and if not properly thought through can be a disaster, however, companies like Burberry, Old Spice and Airbnb have used rebranding to great effect.
A well put together Ad campaign can change the trajectory of a brand.
When dealing with larger businesses which have money to throw at expensive adverts, a good campaign can revitalise a brand and change public perception very effectively.
Stella Artois is one such brand which used an ad campaign to reinvent their brand in the public eye. The Belgian beer’s ad campaign during its early years in Britain focussed on it being a stronger lager. Adverts consisted of telephone books torn in half and glasses with the handle being a muscular glass arm. Come the beginning of the nineties in the UK however, and Stella tried to reinvent itself with the tagline “reassuringly expensive” and sponsoring outdoor cinema events. Despite their attempts, due to its higher percentage of 5.2% compared to the usual 4% of UK beers, by the mid-nineties, Stella’s crowd very heavily consisted of binge drinkers and people looking for a good time. Through association with the violent activities which were committed whilst under the influence of Stella the brand was given its moniker ‘Wife Beater’. Now this, of course, is not a name you won’t associate with your brand and sales began to slump, so something had to be done.
Step forward the new Stella Artois Ad campaign, “C’est Cidre, not Cider” (Watch advert here). The Advert didn’t focus on its Beer but instead its Cider. The advert focussed on showing off the brand as being one drank by suave, sophisticated individuals living the high life. It mentioned that the Cider is “from the country? No, the continent”, and that the apples are not normal apples but “le handpicked apple”. This was great for the brand’s name as a whole and transmitted across to the beer side of the business. Furthermore, Stella Artois has created a lower 4% lager which has helped to reinforce the new desired image of the brand. Since the first one of the new adverts in 2012, there have been several new iterations which have all helped in Stella Artois’ plight to make sure people call it by its full name.
Probably the most famous example is Old Spice. Old Spice has been around since 1938, which coincidentally was also the year of birth for its target demographic. The brand had fallen into the niche of being for older men who take themselves seriously which is an impressive niche to appeal to, but not a very profitable one. With companies like Lynx (or Axe as you may know them) sweeping up the market of 13-35 year olds who are the largest consumer of deodorant sprays and other related products, Old Spice needed to try and break into the market. The real catalyst came when their newest scent “Glacial Falls” was received so badly that in money retailers it was threateningly close to being discontinued and dropped from the shelves.
They enlisted the help of the well-known agency Weiden + Kennedy to try and turn this around. They wanted to keep the same scent but relaunch it with different branding. The aim of the campaign was to double the “Glacial Falls” sales. The year was 2008 so the perfect new name for the spray was chosen to be ‘Swagger’. Old Spice utilised a series of print and television ads featuring big American celebrities such as the NFL player Brian Urlacher, the NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and Musician LL Cool J. The ads showed the celebrities as young men who before using old spice were ‘dorks’ with low self-confidence. However, after using the Swagger Old Spice they morphed back into their celebrity selves (if you want to check out the advert then click here). The advert did not only see sales doubling but quadrupling for old “Glacial Falls” scent. Old Spice has continued its approach to media and has seen a huge growth on its youtube channel with its recent campaign reaching over 90 million views.
A well put together advert campaign can not only see a sales boost but completely lift a brand in the perception of the public. Consistency is also key which can be seen in all the campaign mentioned. If you change your style whether it be in an advert, change of logo, or the celebrity you choose to endorse your product. You have to make sure that everything else you are doing as a brand, where relevant, is in line otherwise it will lose its integrity and reduce its success.
Celebrity Endorsements of brands is another great tool that has been used very successfully by many brands.
Burberry is very highly revered British clothing brand whose garments can fetch up to several thousand pounds. What you might not know is that in 2004 the signature check pattern of the brand was banned from pubs in Leicester’s City centre. The brand had become synonymous with gang culture/violence and Burberry. The brand was on the decline and needed a change. The change came with the arrival of the appointment of Angela Ahrendts as chief executive in 2006.
Through the use of celebrity endorsements and constant reminders to its audience of the brands quintessentially English past, Burberry saw an increase in its company value from £2 billion to over £7 billion. Burberry used huge celebrity names such as Kate Moss and Emma Watson to hammer home the calibre of individuals who wear the brand. Due to many others within the company who have kept up the same ethos such as Christopher Bailey the former chief creative officer (as of 2018), Burberry is now a main fixture at Fashion Weeks globally.
Totes Isotoner was in a different situation. They wanted to add some pizazz to an otherwise fairly boring line of umbrellas they are famous for along with their bags. What is the most famous umbrella in the world? The answer is Rihanna’s song which went to #1 in more than 10 countries. Totes managed to get her on board to create a range of Rihanna umbrellas which are able to be create customized with sparkly fabrics and glittery charms for the handles. The range was a huge success and Totes saw a vast increase in the number of young people on its website. There are however no figures for the increase as Totes chose to withhold them however they can be quoted in saying that Rihanna has been “invaluable” to them.
Progressive Logo redesign can keep you fresh in the Public Eye.
A more obvious attempt at a rebrand to the public is often a logo redesign. Many companies adapt their logo over time. However, some drastically change their logo in pursuit of a change to their brand perception. Brands like Airbnb and Paypal redesigned their logo to modernise and make their brand more professional however bigger brands such as the coffee goliath Starbucks have used their logo change for anniversaries and to keep the brand progressive in peoples minds.
Other than the obviously clever messages within the logo which can be seen below. The logo was key in giving the brand a more professional look which also follows current design trends of minimalistic calmer toned graphics. In an industry revolving around living in other peoples homes which could be seen as fairly peculiar, having a very professional brand to handle the whole arrangement is very comforting
Paypal also revamped their logo for a more professional look but also cleverly decided to tailor their logo to be more appealing for mobile use. Paypal knew that their industry was moving away from desktop to mobile and their logo took this into account. The logos aesthetic retains the recognised double ‘P’, however, the colour pallet has been updated with the blue’s being chosen to look better on high-definition mobile screens.
Starbucks has had several large brand logo changes in its companies history. All of them have kept the famous mermaid front and centre. For the 40th anniversary, the company changed to its most recent iteration of the logo (seen below) to a more minimalistic aesthetic. The logo not only caused a media stir, driving people to go and buy a coffee for themselves so they can experience the new brand feel but also modernised the look of the brand.
If you are looking into creating a new logo for your brand then click here to read about the biggest mistakes you make when designing your own logo.
What can I learn from these companies?
Not all companies have the money to throw at a TV ad campaign or big-time celebrities to endorse their products. That doesn’t mean that as a smaller company you can’t get the same proportional effect. Depending on your product it is very possible to find a more targetted approach at the price of much less capital. Social Media is a free outlet which can be utilised to the same if not greater extent. We can directly learn a lot from Paypal however. They tailored their logo to their platform and audience. This doesn’t cost more money it just requires some thought.
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