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Brand optimisation: does your brand need a personality shift?

More often than not, the word rebrand sends shudders down the spines of marketing directors and has FDs scrolling to the P&L spreadsheet. However, a dramatic change in brand identity is not always required to make a big difference.  

Market and consumer needs change, organisations’ propositions evolve and successive governments introduce new legislation. These are just a few of the factors that can lead to brands losing alignment with who and what they are and who they want to be. Such imbalance and misalignment can lead to people losing trust and confidence in brands – forcing them to turn to others whose proposition is more apparent.

These scenarios don’t always require an overt rebrand, but a simple shift in brand personality. We call this subtle shift brand optimisation.

Why is brand optimisation different?

Brand optimisation, although similar in the initial processes to a rebrand, is actually more about making subtle personality tweaks: to better represent a product/company’s proposition and to reposition brand perception while also improving customer engagement.

This shift may often require only minor changes to visual identity, but can embrace bigger changes to brand personality, core proposition and verbal comms, which in turn shifts emphasis in what a brand should shout about and leverage.

Goodwill hunting

One of the main concerns in changing a brand stems from the fact that organisations fear they will lose goodwill and damage customer relationships. In reality, this is very rarely the case and customer perceptions actually tend to improve.  

In brand recognition tests, when we ask customer groups to describe a brand’s personality and draw its identity/packaging, more often than not they accurately recall colour and basic shapes. This underlines that these should be considered key visual identifiers, meaning a change in colour is more likely to cause issues than anything else.

Freshly squeezed

Take Tropicana’s rebrand in 2009; the famous fruit juice decided to redesign existing packaging for the North American market. However, just two months after the rebrand, sales reportedly dropped by circa 20%, with the spectacular decrease representing a loss of around $30 million dollars. Needless to say, within a few months the old packaging was back on the shelves.

We think the loss of the two key identifiers were major factors in this monumental failure. The loss of the circle (orange) and bold green text meant that shoppers lost their way and picked up something else. Tropicana didn’t need a rebrand, its brand simply needed to be optimised to meet consumer expectations at the time.

Brandality’s decision process

When making any changes to a brand, it is crucial that decisions are made on insights not guesswork. We get to know our client’s business and marketplaces through a combination of meetings, workshops, interviews and research – analysing what’s working and what’s not in the target category. We also work closely with our clients to understand commercial aspirations, current brand perceptions and to define target audience profiles.

Gathering and distilling all of this information allows us to clearly identify how and to what extent a brand needs to be optimised.

Wondering if your brand needs optimising?

The first sign that a brand is not living up to expectations is often gut feeling. Give the friendly team at Brandality a call to gauge if your brand does in fact need to be optimised, or if it’s simply a case of overindulgence at lunch.