The Complete Guide to Repositioning Your Brand
In the face of such a complex marketplace — one driven by global, digital platforms and the pressure of constant innovation — cohesive and thoughtful business strategy can be challenging. Indeed, there is no clear cut answer as to if, when, or how a company should consider repositioning its brand.
The article will provide you with a plan of analysis and execution to determine the if’s, when’s and how’s of your brand’s successful repositioning.
Brand Repositioning vs. Rebranding
These terms are often mixed up and misused, and while they are deeply related, it is essential to this guide that we delineate the difference between them.
Rebranding involves changing some core aspects of a brand’s identity. For example, a company might change its name, products, mission, or personality. Repositioning entails changing a brand’s status in the marketplace and among consumers. It is an attempt to alter the target market’s understanding of and connection to a particular brand or product. Repositioning a brand or product means maintaining a brand identity but tweaking and modifying it so that it can successfully grow and capitalize on sales in a changing marketplace.
Rebranding and repositioning can be done separately or together in a variety of ways.
Either one of these decisions is a major strategic pivot, and neither should be undertaken lightly. Brand repositioning is undoubtedly a high-risk, high-reward game. If done well, it could skyrocket a brand into rejuvenated and long term success, but if poorly-executed, it can tank your sales to a point where your brand may not recover.
Why should you consider product repositioning?
There is a myriad of reasons as to why product repositioning might make sense for your brand and products. Here are ten reasons a brand might consider repositioning themselves:
- You’re situated too close to a competitor, which is making your sales drop. This is also known as “sharing” your sales.
- The repositioning would help your brand enter a new, more lucrative market. Things change fast, and if your brand sees its primary product or service struggling in a collapsing industry, it’s best to reposition now – this will set you up for longevity in a related market that has more of a future.
- It supports a more significant strategic change created by the company.
- Your brand has introduced a better product that makes your current product obsolete. No need to throw your efforts and resources into two products when one is the company’s future, and the other is the company’s past.
- Technology has disrupted your product or industry, which is common in today’s digital marketplace.
- Your brand is old and tired.
- Your brand has had too much negative press.
- Competition has negatively repositioned your brand.
- Your brand is broadening or expanding your target demographic.
- Your product is at the end of its life-cycle.
If you feel as if you’re having trouble differentiating your brand and product in the marketplace or if any of these situations apply to you, it might be time to think about repositioning your brand or product in a way that will captivate an attentive audience. There are other reasons a brand might consider a repositioning strategy, but, the driving idea behind this process is that it is customer-centric and tailored to specific brands and markets.
Repositioning your brand holds the promise of more successful brand strategy execution, higher sales conversions, better brand-name recognition, improved stability and growth, and longevity in the marketplace. Yet, it doesn’t necessarily come with the pressure of rebuilding your brand from the ground up. Product repositioning offers the luxury of scaling the changes to meet your brand needs. You can do a radical repositioning that results in more substantial, structural changes, or you can make minor shifts that will have tangible, positive financial effects. It’s about changing the way your customers understand and interact with your brand to increase sales and customer loyalty.
Think of rebranding as demolishing and rebuilding an entirely new house while repositioning a brand is just doing some cosmetic updates that change the way your house looks and feels when you’re in it.
Bottom line: product repositioning has the potential to translate to higher profit margins. It is an opportunity to carve out a spot in a highly competitive and saturated marketplace while staying true to your brand and mission.
We’ve broken down the path of brand and product reposition into simple, action-based steps so that you can approach your repositioning process with confidence.
Steps for a successful brand reposition:
- Research: make your product repositioning matter through psychology-driven customer research and data analysis.
The first step in determining how to go about your brand or product repositioning is figuring out if it’s the right strategic move for you at all. Do thorough, investigative research on sales trends, customer profiles, and the broader marketplace. Look at your brand and products or services through the lens of current and potential customers. What is missing from your branding or product? What isn’t being communicated effectively? What would be more helpful or compelling to you as a consumer?
Look at the future of your marketplace and the future goals of your company. How do they match up?
- Don’t lose sight of who you are. Remember your brand essence and company mission.
If you’re unsure of what your brand essence is, read our recent blog on how to define and cultivate the brand essence. The gist of it is, repositioning is about redefining how your customers see you or targeting a different segment of the population. It does not entail overhauling your company’s purpose or mission. Keep your brand essence at the center of your repositioning strategy. Customers respond to authenticity and a genuine belief in your product or service, so even if you are modifying your target customer or how your brand is perceived with audiences, all changes should still align with your brand essence and identity.
- Strategize and execute: once you understand the problem, cultivate collaborative and creative solutions.
Collaboration is key. One of the biggest pitfalls companies make when repositioning a brand or product is relying on separate internal teams within a corporate structure or outsourcing the repositioning strategy to an outside brand consultancy. Specialized advertising and branding expertise can be a fantastic resource for brands repositioning themselves or their products. Still, they must work closely with all facets and departments of your company so that they can thoroughly understand the company mission.
Innovation and product development should be tightly integrated with your marketing department and leadership team. The most successful brand repositioning will have cohesive messaging and product presentation that has been thoroughly debated, discussed, and designed.
Some ideas? Consider associating or partnering with another brand. Strategic alliances can do wonders when it comes to repositioning a brand or product. Ensure that new products or packaging draw attention to your repositioned brand.
Whatever your repositioning strategy is, ensure that you have clear, consistent communication across all channels. Everything is in the delivery. People will trust and rely on constant and transparent communication wherever possible.
It is worth noting that while most brands have approached repositioning in a conventional, incremental way, some brands have implemented more radical repositioning strategies that have paid off in the long run. An example? Abercrombie & Fitch transitioned from an adventure and outdoor brand to a trendy clothing store targeted at teens.
Remember that any successful repositioning must be an individualized process.