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3 thoughts on corporate rebrands

February 18, 2019


By Julian Walker
Head of External Market Communications and PR, CWT

Coke or Pepsi, Reebok or Nike, Microsoft or Apple?

Why are we more loyal to one brand versus another?

We choose brands because of how they make us feel, whether through nostalgia, a personal resonance, or aspiration. As author and marketer Seth Godin says, “Great marketers don’t make stuff, they make meaning.”

So why rebrand something people already like?

In simplistic terms, it is necessary to stay in the game. Nevertheless, customers are perceptive, so a corporate rebrand only works if it is part of a bigger initiative. If your company isn’t working simultaneously to meet changing needs, your rebrand risks being seen as an expensive exercise in frippery. 

Rebranding involves meeting your suppliers and clients where they are, and going with them to where they desire to go. If you like, it is an opportunity to show your true colors, not just your brand palette. 

Avoid rebranding until you can support your brand with new products, optimised performance, or until you’ve weeded out inefficiencies.

Here are the three thoughts on how to execute a corporate rebranding.

1. Target behaviors, not demographics

Avoid the traditional model of targeting by perceived ideas about age, gender or industry. The way to build a fan base is by considering your client behaviors, problems, and needs. 

2. What’s in a name?

Social media is full of brand name gaffs that have neglected the heritage of brands and their iglobal appeal. As marketing ace, Simon Nowroz, puts it about CWT: “We’re shepherding one of the longest-serving travel management brands into a new era. There is a wealth of experience and heritage within our brand … so it is important to retain and transfer this equity into our new company name.”

3. Rebrand from within

No fancy font or press release can make up for a communications vacuum. So if your employees are not your best ambassadors, you are on a rocky road. Make sure your colleagues understand the changes before you go live. 

If you are going to invest in a corporate rebrand make sure it’s not decorative. Do it only to create a storefront for a meaningful evolution. As the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, says, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”  


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