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Rebranding: Three Tips in Three Minutes

Jim Heininger joined Drew Dinkelacker on the Marketing Accelerator Podcast to share the difference between a brand refresh, repositioning and rebrand. Take a listen.

What do Uncle Ben's, Turkish Airlines and ISIS Pharmaceuticals have in common? Well, it's rebranding. It's a growing trend. Welcome to The Marketing Accelerator Podcast, featuring three insights in about three minutes. I'm Drew Dinkelacker, and today I'm speaking with Jim Heininger. He's the co-founder of Rebranding Experts. Jim, I admit I get a little confused when I hear terms like rebranding, brand repositioning and brand refresh. Help me understand the difference.

Jim Heininger: Well, let's start with brand refresh, that's the most basic strategy you could pursue. It's really a new visual identity to an organization - a new logo, color palette, website, digital experience; it's a make-over that you would do to really bring some new energy and/or to modernize your brand for your customers. You see it all the time with companies changing logos. I get a kick out of it when I see a professional sports team, for example, re-branding or coming out with a brand refresh of their uniforms. Well, it's a great way to sell merchandise to their fans by coming up with a new look and feel for the season.

Drew: That makes total sense. Now, tell me, how is brand repositioning different?

Jim: It's usually done when a brand is just really no longer relevant to its customer base or you're wanting to expand that customer base or even your geographic area. It's a brand refresh, but you're going to dig a little bit deeper down to the brand promise and update that to make it relevant to that new positioning as well as your customer experience. Now, I think the most, probably, visible one that we've seen in recent years is Victoria's Secret - gone are the days of the Victoria's Secret angel models walking the catwalk scantily clad. Women today aren't taking that, they're not accepting that anymore, and so the brand has repositioned to be much more inclusive and authentic, representing women of all sizes, shapes and colors.

Drew: Got it. Understand brand repositioning. Now, let's dive into rebranding.

Jim: A much more comprehensive effort that can take up to 12 or 18 months to execute. It's when an organization goes through a leadership change or an acquisition or a merger, or is on a much more aggressive growth strategy and trajectory. It's a refresh, it's a repositioning, but now it's coming up with a new name for the organization or the product, digging deeper to update your mission, your values, and even a culture to help deliver on that new promise. Great example is Anthem, which is the Blue Cross Blue Shield provider in many states. (They) just rebranded to Elevance Health; it's a combination of "elevate" and "advance", and it's their effort to be much more of a trusted lifetime health partner as opposed to just a benefits provider.

Drew: Jim, those are really helpful distinctions when it comes to understanding the nuances of re-branding. At Marketing Accelerator, we optimize marketing leaders with insightful content, exclusive round table engagements, deep dive analysis and one-to-one coaching. I'm Drew Dinkelacker.


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