Running a business is like a roller coaster ride. You have to face ups and downs and face the unexpected. If your business is stagnant or experiencing sales declines, then it might be time to make a change.
No matter what kind of business you run, evolution is not an option. Nowadays, it is necessary for brands to adapt quickly to different situations if they are to survive.
Here’s where brand repositioning comes into play, between the current version and a completely redesigned one. These aren’t just minor changes that won’t affect your brand much. They are significant improvements and adjustments that will get your brand noticed and help it to grow.
What is brand repositioning?
When a company changes the status of a brand in the marketplace but maintains its identity at the same time, it is called “brand repositioning”. As part of this process, changes are typically made to the marketing strategy such as product, price, place, or promotion.
Repositioning is usually done when a company sees a decrease in sales and they realize it is time to implement some changes and develop. This is a necessity if they are to stay on top of consumer wants and needs in order to keep the brand alive.
The difference between brand repositioning and rebranding
So, is brand repositioning the same as rebranding?
Not exactly. Although both terms refer to changes, a brand repositioning strategy is a calculated boost rather than a complete overhaul of your company’s identity. In contrast, rebranding involves a broader effort. It could include changes to your logo, brand name, core product, and more.
The goal of repositioning is to modify your brand’s status, associations, personality, and message while retaining all the recognizable components of its identity. In short, brand repositioning aims to change customers’ perception of a product or the brand rather than make a drastic change.
When should you consider brand repositioning?
What are the signs that your brand needs some freshening up to help it take a step forward?
- The desire to target products to a new audience means it’s time to tweak your messaging a little and reach out to new potential customers.
- Your sales are dropping and you need to find a way to improve them.
- Shake-ups in the industry – new technology, new business models, or new competitors are emerging on the market and you’ve got to keep up with the changes.
- Your brand does not appeal to younger generations – if your brand doesn’t currently attract young people, that doesn’t mean it can’t ever do. Maybe you should try to reach them too?
- Your competitors have an advantage – repositioning your brand can help you redefine your unique value proposition and gain an edge over the competition. If you can’t beat them, join them.
- Your products or services have evolved, so you have to make product line updates that are out of sync with your current brand promise.
5 steps to follow for successful brand repositioning
Before we move on to stages that you should go through to make brand repositioning effective, let’s highlight one more essential thing.
Brand repositioning at a company requires thorough preparation. In order to succeed, it must be built upon three pillars: Listening, Delivering, and Convincing. All these three points are connected, so you cannot have one without the others.
This means that you can reposition your brand effectively by listening to your customers, meeting their expectations, and convincing them with your message. Make sure that you apply this combination throughout the entire repositioning process.
Now it’s time to learn more about the process itself. What are some necessary steps to ensure you do not overlook anything meaningful during this time of change?
#1 Analyze your brand’s current position
Do you feel your brand is getting sick? Then you need to find the cause. Only then can you make a diagnosis.
Therefore, the first step of successful brand repositioning is a thorough analysis of your brand’s present situation. You need to identify where your brand currently stands.
If you know what is wrong with your brand, you can identify what needs to be changed. In addition, recognizing your current status and analyzing why you’re lagging behind your competitors will help you decide on new directions to take and make the required progress to get there.
You need to dig deeper into all of your problems and plan adjustments accordingly. However, don’t try to change everything at once. Doing so will only cause you to spend more time and money than you need to without providing value. It’s essential to identify where your strategies should be implemented, especially if you’re considering selling your online business.
After you have learned about your drawbacks, you will be better positioned to implement a suitable strategy and mitigate the shortcomings. Before you start your repositioning efforts, consider the following:
- What is the market position of your brand?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- What product quality does the brand represent?
- Who are the main competitors of the brand?
- Who is the brand targeting?
- Who is its target audience?
Answering these questions will allow you to establish a baseline. Make a diagnosis. Identify what is most important. Then, move on to building a new communication strategy.
#2 Re-identify your unique value proposition
After taking stock of your brand’s current issues, you can begin to envision who and what your brand wants to be. First, re-define your company’s core values and the emotions you wish to be associated with.
Establish a list of distinguishing factors that set you apart from the crowd. See how you’re different, even if that means admitting that a competitor is better than you at some aspect of your business.
Identifying your unique value proposition again should help you better connect with your target market and reposition your brand. Taking a second look at your audience will help you find your UVP for building relationships.
Take a look at who buys (or doesn’t buy) your products. Who do you believe would benefit most from your services? Would you like to reach out to a new target group? Think about who your current and new customers are, and what they expect from your brand.
Understand your product’s pain points and be specific about them. Take a look at the problems that your audience faces that your competitors cannot address and fill in these gaps.
#3 Build a brand repositioning strategy
When you’re deciding how to reposition your brand, you have several options to choose from. The actions you should take when repositioning your brand will depend on the reasons that influenced the decision to undergo the process and the expected outcomes. Let’s review some repositioning options mentioned by FutureLearn.
- Image repositioning – the first option is to change the brand’s image rather than the product itself. As a result, marketing efforts are focused on improving the product’s image and reputation among its customers instead of its features.
- Product repositioning – this strategy involves changing the product while keeping the target market the same. This may be due to, e.g., technological advances that render the original product less appealing.
- Intangible repositioning – under this strategy, the company targets a different market and keeps the same product. This strategy is applied when marketers discover that the product appeals to a broader range of customers than the original market segment it was aimed at.
- Tangible repositioning – changing both the target market and the product is the riskiest possible change to a company’s positioning strategy. When a new product no longer appeals to the existing market, tangible repositioning allows the company to target new markets where the new product may be better received.
Brand repositioning means that we should not overlook even the most minor details because all shortcomings can harm the entire image of the business. Good time management, a well-defined budget, and the division of responsibilities are therefore all crucial to success.
#4 Implement changes and listen to your customers
Do you now have everything you need? If so, it’s time to implement changes.
However, don’t stop there. Pay attention to what your customers have to say. Find out what they think about the changes (if they are noticeable) and what emotions the new campaign evokes.
Public perception plays a crucial role in repositioning a brand, so social listening is vital here. You can track public conversations and mentions about your brand or product to get a sense of what people are saying and whether or not that is consistent with your desired effect.
Every rebranding service handles this when it’s essential to update the business’s current image; it’s a crucial step in positioning your brand distinctively.
Use monitoring tools such as Mediatoolkit to automate this task and get a real-time overview of what’s happening around your brand. Additionally, such solutions provide ready-made reports from the gathered data that you can generate quickly to streamline your repositioning analysis.
#5 Analyze the results
Once you’ve completed your brand repositioning efforts, it’s time to see what good they will bring. Check to see if the changes you’ve made have had the desired effect.
Do not expect immediate results – you should be patient and examine the results over time. You can slowly start comparing statistics several weeks after implementing the changes. Have you noticed an increase in sales? Is your customer base growing?
Using these indicators can help you determine whether the whole process was successful or if it still needs some further improvements.
Brand repositioning examples
In 2018, Cadbury ditched joy positioning to go back to its brand roots. The company was simply looking “for new ways to innovate and grow the brand”. The latest ad by the company shows that they still manage to surprise their audience.
Genuine acts of kindness and generosity became key components of the new positioning strategy (the business was founded by John Cadbury, a philanthropist known for his generosity and kindness).
Gucci‘s audience was aging and its image didn’t appeal to Millennials, so this brand needed a change. That’s why the fashion house embarked on an ambitious repositioning plan. It wanted to retain its Italian heritage and extravagance while also becoming more contemporary.
How did Gucci become more appealing to young generations? With its 2015 collection, the brand elaborated on Instagram-style communication, polished its logo at the center of its products, and took an empowering stance on gender fluidity.
As a result of these changes, Gucci experienced a highly profitable period over the next few years (and still does).
As we’ve shown in the Do’s and Don’ts of Brands’ Coronavirus Responses blog, the pandemic reshaped consumer needs and business models across the world practically overnight.
Covid-19 has resulted in budget cuts, and Spotify ads have suffered. As a result, Spotify decided to focus on original content and curate playlists (from internal and external experts, AI, and celebrities) in order to reposition itself.
It was a great move – in just one month, artists and customers uploaded over 150k podcasts to this music platform. Good job, Spotify!
All in all…
Brand repositioning is a complex and time-consuming process, but it is an important one for many companies to take a different course. Keeping in mind the above example of success, you shouldn’t be afraid to change.
Adapting to the current situation is a natural step in the development of your business. So, together with a new offer or a redefined target group, something new will come along to help your brand grow.