Brand Salience or Relevancy

How business is branded and perceived by the general public is no longer solely up to the business owner. What People Say about your business is as important as any high budgeted advertising campaign that just got launched or a Catchy tagline that got famous. These dynamics can either help or hurt your brand and brand perception. You are no longer in a static marketplace where a brand’s position could be prolonged for many years without change. Brand Salience or Relevancy has been a brand’s currency since the beginning, as useful is the brand to the target audiences and their expectations. But it constantly needs to be recalibrated, otherwise, a yesteryear popular brand can just get rejected by its customers overnight. What is the current market placement of brands like Murphy radio, Charminar cigarette, President pen, Bata shoes, or HMT watches, etc?

Branding versus Rebranding

Anyway, you slice it, rebranding of even well-branded products and services is becoming an extremely important marketing option today, whether to seize an opportunity or stop potential threats.

Branding is the process by which a company or product creates its personality and identity that resonates in the minds of its customer. Rebranding, on the other hand, is the creation of a new look and feel for an established brand with the intention of developing a differentiated (new) position in the mind of stakeholders and competitors.

Rebranding efforts may include a name change, new or restyled logo, symbol, design or packaging, new positioning or brand promises, and updated marketing materials or a combination of all of these for an established product. The rebranding follows many of the same objectives as branding does, although it may also include changing the current mindset of the target market. The goal of rebranding is to influence a customer’s perception of a product or service by revitalizing the brand and making it seem more contemporary and relevant to the customer’s current needs. State Bank of India, Quikr, Bank of Baroda, NIC Asia Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra group, Axis Bank, and many others have gone through a rebranding process in South Asia in recent times.

Why Rebrand & When?

There are many reasons for companies and services to rebrand. Although there is usually one main reason for making the change, the motivation behind rebranding is often a combination of several factors. Here is an overview of few most common reasons for a rebranding:

1. Mergers & Acquisitions:

Mergers and acquisitions result in an immediate rebranding, which is also to comply with local legal requirements. The aim is also to make change visible to all stakeholders and public and gain their trust. We have seen many such rebranding exercises among our Nepalese banks recently. For example: NIC Bank Ltd. and Bank of Asia Ltd. merged together to become NIC Asia Bank Ltd. with a completely different look.

2. Changing markets:

Market trends change constantly, and even the most popular and well-known brands need to refresh their image in order to stay current. Companies like Apple and Pepsi are good examples that are constantly rebranding in an effort to remain relevant to their target market.

3. Repositioning:

The positioning of a company, product or service takes place in the customer’s mind. If the customer’s perception of your offering is mediocre, it is necessary to reposition in order to overcome that perception. Rebranding is a good opportunity to change the target market’s view towards the brand. Tata Nano had tried to reposition itself in the market, but with limited success.

4. Negative image:

Sometimes brands go through some kind of crisis which causes a loss of customer loyalty and trust. Rebranding is an opportunity to offer a fresh start, which gives your image a makeover and starts anew.

5. Changes in corporate strategy:

A change in strategy such as a shift from a cost leadership objective to a differentiation strategy requires the repositioning and ultimately rebranding is essential. The old brand may no longer be relevant to the company’s new focus.

6. Outdated image:

One of the most common reasons for undertaking a rebranding exercise is modernization. New consumer trends catch up in the market, which over time makes an old brand look old-fashioned if they don’t care to update themselves. Becoming more contemporary is one of the most common reasons for many brands to do rebranding.

7. Corporate renaming:

A change in the name of the company may signal customers and suppliers that other changes may also take place. Rebranding helps them to understand the reason for the renaming, and to develop recognition for it in the market. For example, UTI Bank got renamed to Axis Bank in India.

Every company evolves and with the changes brought by evolution, and hence it is often necessary to rebrand the corporate image. If a company’s vision or value proposition changes, the old branding needs to be replaced with an image to fit the new commitment. The heart of every successful rebranding is a planned strategy that encompasses the new corporate vision, based on both the stakeholder and shareholder values.

Know Further:

About the Book

Ujaya Shakya’s Brandsutra is a collection of inclusive & incisive thoughts on Nepal’s marketing & advertising field. This book tries to introduce all of the 360-degree communication touch-points, elucidating the Integrated Marketing Communication model, or convergent branding.

Published by FinePrint

Ujaya Shakya is the founder and managing director of Outreach Nepal based in Kathmandu and the author of ‘Brandsutra’.

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