2007 – Interesting Year Start in Brands and Branding

2007 definitely started with a lot of agitation in some of the big brands courtyard.

I’d start with the Apple Computers who dropped computer from its name. The move is rather normal considering that iPod or iTunes are two of the main products of Apple Inc. and was announced in the same time with the buzzy launching of iPhone. Now, getting to this, cannot help myself not to admire the Apple capacity to create a buzz in the media, no matter that we’re talking about the internet of the classic mass media. The phone they launched is, I admit, a work of art and has a lot of great features but I wouldn’t hurry to name it neither a Blackberry killer, a computer or a smart phone. It’s more like a beautifully designed, big brand sustained swiss knife of mobiles.

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Re-Branding and Employees Engagement

Continuing the engagement of the employees in internal branding, October issue of HRMagazin is running an extensive material on internal branding and its importance for the success of any re-branding efforts .

As the people who deliver the brand promise are employees, making sure they understand and can deliver the brand to customers is vital—especially for companies within the service industry, where the relationship between employees and customers essentially is the product the company sells.

Re-branding takes time. The planning process that produces a new brand can take as long as two years. Educating employees about the new brand, and its implications on the company and their work, can also last years. That effort typically starts several weeks to several months before the new brand is unveiled to customers and continues after the official unveiling to external audiences.

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MasterCard Re-branding

Following the earlier this year Visa re-branding, Mastercard unveiled yesterday new corporate name and brand identity.

Formerly known Mastercard International has a new corporate name, MasterCard Worldwide. The company is also unveiling a new corporate signature and adopting a new corporate tagline, The Heart of Commerce, to reflect the company’s globally integrated structure and its strategic vision of advancing commerce worldwide.However, the familiar consumer brands such as MasterCard credit and debit cards and the advertising slogan “Priceless” would stay in place.

The new corporate positioning will serve as a unifying business-to-business platform, and lead to global efficiencies in the way MasterCard Worldwide connects with customers, merchants and shareholders through all communications channels.

The three circles of the new corporate logo build on the familiar interlocking red and yellow circles of the MasterCard consumer brand, and reflect the company’s unique, three-tiered business model as a franchisor, processor and advisor.

More here.

UPDATE: More about MasterCard brand history.

Top 20 Rebranding Mistakes

Every brand needs refreshing to stay relevant as markets evolve. Smaller companies and non-profits are not immune. Like larger brands, they too have brand positions that need to be enhanced. Define your brand or be defined.

Smart marketers evolve their brands over time to keep them relevant. Some do it well, while others become the target of cynical bloggers. To gear your next rebrand for success, sidestep these all-too-common mistakes:

1. Clinging to history.
2. Thinking the brand is the logo, stationery or corporate colors.
3. Navigating without a plan.
4. Refusing to hire a branding consultant without industry experience.
5. Not leveraging existing brand equity and goodwill.
6. Not trying on your customer’s shoes.
7. The rebrand lacks credibility or is a superficial facelift.
8. Limiting the influence of branding partners.
9. Believing rebranding costs too much.
10. Not planning ahead for adaptation.
11. Bypassing the basics.
12. Not calling the call center.
13. Forgetting that people don’t do what they say. (They do what they do.)
14. Getting strong-armed or intimidated by consultants.
15. Putting the wrong person in charge.
16. Strategy by committee.
17. Rebranding without research.
18. Basing a rebrand on advertising.
19. Tunnel focus.
20. Believing you’re too small to rebrand.

Infuse the Brand Into Consumer Culture

From Fortune 500 companies to government agencies, branding can be poorly executed and frightfully expensive.

[Re]-branding doesn’t mean recycling with new slogans and logos, it means a comprehensive do over. And establishing a brand is only the beginning, as advertising, marketing and public relations follow with even bigger budgets to extend the brand and infuse it into consumer culture.

For those who do it right, the rewards are often off the scale. Continue reading

Visa Re-Branding – Life Takes Visa

Visa today unveiled its first new branding direction in 20 years, according to Suzanne Lyons, its executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

The tagline, ending the decades-long reign of “It’s everywhere you want to be,” is “Life takes Visa,” Lyons said. Although the tagline was used in the last couple of years in English-language communications in Latin American countries (actually Visa is using 5 different taglines for 6 different regions of the world – more here), TBWA\Chiat\Day decided to go with it and start promoting it next week during the Winter Olympics Openning ceremony.

The new brand campaign is the latest in a series of milestones marking Visa adapting its brand to its corporate evolution, with recently introduced new governance structure; new brand architecture, including a new logo and a new card design. More about the new branding campaign here: http://www.visa.com/advertising.

Re-branding – Not Always The Answer

Interesting article of Al Ries author of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind and The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding on AdAge.com website (registration required).

Starting from recently over-buzzed Atlanta re-branding, Ries is making a extremly good and sustained point about the need and the opportunity of rebranding, changing logos and slogans, or becoming “too creative” in terms of branding.

What leads cities, states, countries and companies to concoct meaningless, unmemorable slogans? I believe the culprit is “creativity.”

Every day of the week, advertising agencies are hired to create new, compelling branding strategies and fired when these new, compelling branding strategies don’t work.

The best example of the power of consistency is the Marlboro cowboy, who has been riding the range for 50 years. The advertising doesn’t win any awards, but it has taken the brand from nowhere to become the No. 1 selling cigarette brand in the world.

A powerful brand is not built by creativity, although there needs to be a creative spark to get the brand ignited. A powerful brand is built by consistency, year after year after year.

Basically if you have something that is working, don’t try to fix it. The re-branding decision is a tough one, as long as we do not have (re)branding in our minds a purpose (as some agencies have it), but as a tool for sustaining and growing the business.

Related posts:
Re-branding the Right Way

Tag: Re-branding, Rebranding