reebok-logo-combo 2Many companies ask about the longevity of their brand and when is it time to rebrand their business. Many factors come into play.

While some brands have gone for years, even centuries, without going through a full rebrand of their business others, others don’t seem comfortable in their own skin. Many times a company’s brand is solid, it’s the execution that falls short.

Often companies believe that they have fallen into a rut and need to rebrand themselves to increase sales.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reason for considering a rebrand should be based on significant changes in any or all of the following business initiatives.
• A change in the structure of the business, i.e., product line, business categories
• A change in how you conduct business, i.e., geographic growth from domestic to global
• Value proposition
• Customer experience
• Company purpose
• Change in ownership
• Inability to differentiate your firms within the competitive marketplace
• Acquisition of competing brands

Case in point, Adidas acquired the Reebok and immediately rebranded it to fit within the Adidas stable of brands.  To accomplish this Reebok was established as the fitness brand with Adidas as the team sports partner rather than its competitor. At that point, Reebok severed all professional team sports relationships and focused on becoming a fitness brand. During the rebranding process, Reebok aligned itself with CrossFit, yoga, dance, and aerobics as a means of growing the business.

This is an excellent representation of how to add brands to a house of brands to allow them to co-exist through rebranding. In other circumstances, acquisitions are added that evolve into an existing branded house that retains none of their previous identity allowing them to leverage the equity of the house itself.

As you can see, many components are examined when considering a rebrand. From aesthetics to points of view and brand voice, they are all important and need to work together to create the most compelling experience.



Recently I was asked what the impact of personal branding is.

Many companies are an extension of personal brands that have been leveraged. As an example, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods personal brands have been leveraged by Nike to create a brand within a brand.

Other brands such as Apple or Virgin are a reflection of their founder’s brand creating a “house of brands” strategy. In many cases, these personal brands have the option to either develop extensions themselves into products and experiences or license the image to other manufacturers to produce products that take advantage of the brand’s assets.

In the digital age that we are in, social media has presented itself as an effective avenue to grow personal brands that are outside of sports and entertainment. Blogs have allowed subject experts to elevate their stature and become widely known within industries, essentially creating strong personal brands for themselves.

It is conceivable that in the future, social media’s evolution will allow groups of personal brands to band together to create a traditional brand. This will also enable brands to be built on a platform of personalities and demonstrated expertise. These initiatives will allow small and emerging companies to develop brands based on a following.

The antithesis, however, can be challenging for brands to evolve beyond the original founding personal brands to grow a brand outside its original form.

Blast artBrands over the past few centuries have been formed based on a number of factors. Long ago brands identified a craftsman’s work and were part of his or her name giving recognition to the person who made the product.

As the world evolved and these skilled artisans came to America, brands were developed for larger businesses that took advantage of these skills to develop products that highlighted the feature and benefits of the products produced.  These assets were leveraged to create brands that fought to differentiate themselves based on tangible assets that they could defend over long periods of time.
Once large retail was created branding took on another look, the look of what is considered a “traders” mentality.  This is where merchants traded in more commodities and while features and benefits were still important, they became more of an ingredient rather than the driving force behind products and “value“ sometimes became a larger factor in decision making.

With the launch of the internet, information regarding products that were out of the hands of the people making these items drove brands to become part of communities to plead their cases to consumers as well as making brands evolve once again.

In brand’s most recent iteration, they have created or become important to communities of influencers and their followers.  Brands that haven’t adapted to a more passive selling structure, one with a defined purpose that engages its customers, are risking being looked at as not understanding the needs and desires of these powerful groups.

Companies like BMW have moved forward with this idea to build brands that are set on a brand that delivers purpose.  There focus on having a vehicle that delivers the “ultimate driving experience” demonstrates that it as much about the excitement their vehicles provide as it is about horsepower.  Evan longtime retailers like Walmart moved from a message of “Every day low prices on the brands you trust”  to be more reflective of their core customer. Its current state of “Save Money. Live better” goes well beyond the obvious.  Being true their purpose Walmart has created a variety of programs that help their communities, customers and employees “Live Better” through social programs as well as becoming good social citizens within their communities with environmentally conscious initiatives that focus on the greater good rather than the bottom line.

Other brands such as Patagonia, have gone a step further by sponsoring and promoting programs that are a direct reflection of their core market.  They have also created a deep relationship with their customers by having a genuine understanding of not only their social commitments, they also have compassion for the challenges that face their core customer. They do everything they can to become part of the culture, not just an outsider selling products.

Going forward brands will have increasing pressure to align with the culture in which they intend to market to.  Advertising’s role will continue to decrease as channels continue to fragment.  Markets will continue to become communities where they will have the power to choose who is in or out.  In certain cases, causes will become equal if not more important than traditional features and benefits.  As these requirements become more of a necessity than an option, companies that can identify their purpose will have the upper hand in being invited into the new community-based brand platform where they will have the advantage over lagging competitors.Blast art