Books by Afolabi Dollars (TheVOICE)

  • Revolutionizing Entrepreneurship, 23 Kingdom Laws of Branding(brand management), Doing Business In A Global Economy(succession and sustainability in business),21st century SMEs,

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Rebranding is yet another good brand communication as far as brand building is concerned.
Rebranding a product/service in most cases of brand development  is seen in the change of the brand’s name; sometimes, it could be in the change, repackaging or upgrading of the brand’s slogan, efficiency, quality services, image and so on which are modified to build upon the existing relationship between the brand and the target audience.

Rebranding any phenomenon comes in different modification, qualification or description but it’s not just about the CHANGE but always creating a credible and remarkable impression in the minds of your target audience.

Therefore, any  operational or strategic change in  the name of rebranding must  be  the one that creates  or register a  positive  indelible mark or confidence in the minds of the  public through OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS from you as an individual, or as a brand and/or as a nation in any part of the world.

As a brand, individual or  nation, your REBRANDING ESSENCE must be felt, decoded and understood by the  target audience you are trying  to communicate the essence to  or else, you are just  embarking/engaging a futile/demeaning exercise.

We have different categories of rebranding based on the kind of change/modification in a brand and its economic activities, ranging from NOMINAL, STRUCTURAL, IMAGE, PHILOSOPHICAL TO NATIONAL and so on.

For instance, a commercial bank, which is one of the new generation banks in Nigeria known as First Inland Bank, rebranded and changed their brand name to Finbank (Nominal Rebranding).
Another instance is the Nigerian Lever Brothers Plc which rebranded to Unilever (Nominal rebranding).
One of the strongest brands in the Nigerian oil & gas industry ,Oando is a typical example that has progressively gone through a rebranding process since  1956,when it started as Esso West Africa  inc., later rebranded  into Esso  standard  Nig. Ltd  in 1969,later  into  Unipetrol since 1976 until about a decade ago, it finally rebranded to its current name,Oando (Nominal rebranding).
Examples of a few other brands which engaged in nominal rebranding are:
Ø      YAHOO, formerly called Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web.
Ø      PEPSI, formerly known as Brad’s drink
Ø      GOOGLE started out with the name "Backrub"
Ø      NIKE rebranded in 1978 from the name, “Blue Ribbon Sports”
Ø      NISSAN, was initially known as “Nippon Sangyo”
Ø      ORACLE changed their name from “Relational Software Inc”.
Ø      SIEMENS was originally called “Telegraphen-Bau-Anstalt von Siemens & Halske”.
Ø      SKYPE rebranded from its former name, “Skyper” but original concept name was “Sky-Peer-to-Peer”.
Ø      TOYOTA changed its initial name, “Toyeda”
Ø      ACCENTURE rebranded their name from “Andersen consulting”.
Ø      XEROX CORPORATION was formerly The Haloid Company”.

Sterling Bank, another Nigerian New generation bank modified their bank slogan to “Da one customer bank” (Philosophical rebranding).
Other examples of great brands across the world engaged in the change of their brand slogan are British airways, Apple computers, Ford, Coca-cola, IBM, Kodak, Phillips, Shell, Delta airlines, Microsoft  and various banks etc.

Tantalizer plc, a Nigerian branded eatery changed/modified the face of their building structure (Structural rebranding).
First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), a great brand that has been in existence for over a century in  the fore front of the Nigerian  banking sector rebranded in the modification of their elephant logo(Image rebranding).
Other examples of great brands across the world engaged in the change of their brand logos are IBM, Apple, BMW, Nike, Microsoft, LG, Mercedes Benz, Nokia, Xerox, Wal-Mart  etc.
 Many prominent corporate brands change their logos to achieve the perfect BRAND IDIENTITY because the creation of perfect and acceptable brand identification is not an occasional activity but a lifetime registration.

We can see in history different countries engaged in the modification/change of their names, flags colors, anthems, political, economic systems etc in order to project themselves as a great nation with good people and friendly/viable economy before other nations in the world (National rebranding).
A few instances of National rebranding can be seen in a nation like the Soviet Union rebranded into the USSR. Nigeria rebranded in their national anthem to the current one. “Arise o’compatriot…..”. Ghana rebranded her sports activities; Japan a long time ago rebranded her economy and it became one the fastest growing economies in the world. There is no how we talk about national rebranding without talking about the USA; how she through her capitalist and entrepreneurial economic activities has made her one of the strongest brand in the world. Great Britain, Germany  and  other countries  had  underwent  national rebranding at different  times; some failed, some succeeded while some are  yet  to  succeed.

Please note that the slogan is just a part of the philosophy of a brand among others like vision, mission statement etc, just as a logo is just a part of a brand image and not the brand image, though the logo of your brand is the identity that is fundamental to building your brand and communicating with your target audience.

Also, the building structure is just a part of the structure (organizational layout) of a brand and not the main structure.


(1)Rebranding should be understood/engaged as a PROCESS & not a PROJECT.
A project is simply a specific plan or design used to communicate vividly to audience for a specific period but a process is a phenomenon marked by gradual changes that leads towards achieving a particular RESULT.
If you engage rebranding as a project, you may become “impatient” and begin to present yourselves as a mirage instead of the substance. You are viewed for a short period of time as the bomb! But after a while, you begin to loose credibility before your target audience ‘cause the “project is over!”
If you engage rebranding as a process as a brand, indivual and nation, there is a gradual development, no rush, the right step at the right time, knowing fully well that Rome wasn’t built in a day. As a Nation for instance, rebranding as a process will make you to know that some political policies and/or economic strategies have to be in place for another to function. It’s a one step at a time thing.

(2) Don’t pay LIPSERVICE! DO IT! LIVE IT!!!
It’s never enough to just project your brand or nation to your target audience (general public or other nations) by singing, talking or advertising your brand. It’s nice to advertise, do jingles, publicities and so on but engaging  all that without the spectators or target audience testifying in confidence about the credibility, integrity/character, promises fulfillment and corresponding actions/activities, then you as a brand is just engaging a “gargantuan” project, or call it a “white elephant  project” of HIGH FEASIBIILITIES BUT LOW IMPACT!
A brand like Nigeria for instance is yet to achieve success in their campaign for rebranding because most of her citizens are wearing the green white green flag & map tag everyday in the name of "rebranding” but their character, integrity in business and daily economic activities in different sectors including some churches are actually "debranding" Nigeria.
We are advertising Nigeria as our brand through the tag wearing, songs of good people, great nation et al but building Nigeria as a brand can be achieved by integrity or promises fulfillments from or by every sector mentioned. This is why I emphasize always that brand advertising (logos, jingles& slogans etc) must blend with brand building (integrity, character &internal reformation) to achieve success in national rebranding and any other rebranding process.
Avoid the hands of Esau but voice of Jacob’s syndrome; because you are only deceiving/mocking yourself as a nation/brand.

(3)Engage a JUXTAPOSITIONAL ANALYSIS of your brand activity before & during your rebranding process.
There is need for you to compare and contrast the modus operandi of your brand before the rebranding process, critically observing every factor that affected your brand productivity in the past, putting them into consideration, recalling that whatever is considerable is attainable.
As a brand engaging a rebranding process, you have to work on past flaws, defects,  losses, failures etc and ensure dogmatic, practical and responsible measures to effect  operational improvements which keeps your brand in the game.
Juxtapose also in comparison, brands or nations that have achieved tremendous success in their rebranding process and learn from their failures and success, their ups and downs and other rebranding strategies.

(4) Allow the active participation of brand experts/consultants.
Rebranding a brand, personality or nation requires the critical and experiential analysis and advice of brand experts/consultants to achieve success.
In fact, engaging a rebranding process of any dimension without the active involvement of brand consultants is like trying to fly a plane without a pilot; that plane is definitely heading for a crash!
For example, Nigeria as a brand is still in the process of trying to re-brand the entire nation’s image and reputation before other nations, though I see it as a gargantuan project of high irrational projections but extremely low/zero impact until the core materials of her BRAND GENETICS as a nation are practically and responsibly dissected and especially analyzed first by brand experts/consultants, then, other participants involved in the national rebranding process, working with them in synergy.

(5) Consistent Review/Evaluation at the drawing BOARD.
The difference between step no.3 and no.5 is that the first talks about the preview while the latter talks about the review of your rebranding process vis-à-vis your brand activity/performance.
There must be a progressive monitoring of your rebranding process by constantly falling back to the drawing board as this will help a lot in making you to be more PROACTIVE than just being REACTIVE to market/economic activities, consumers’ responsiveness etc.
This step is very important in  your rebranding  process ‘cause it makes you as a brand custodian to know how well you are communicating your REBRANDING ESSENCE to your target audience; it makes you to know when to apply a  strategy  or change to a new strategy for your brand to RUN at PEAK PRODUCTIVITY.  Considering the acronym O.I.C.A approach helps in reviewing your rebranding process from time to time, making your rebranding strategies effective and productive.
O=OBSERVATION (makes you observe the effect/dynamism of your rebranding strategies).
I=INTERPRETATION (makes you interpret & understand the reaction of your target audience & economic activities to your rebranding strategies).
C=CORRELATION (makes you relate and link the response of your target audience, competitors etc to the performance of your rebranding strategies).
A=APPLICATION (makes you know what strategies to communicate and when to apply other strategies if/when necessary).

.......culled from my book on  23 Kingdom Laws of Branding

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