When Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center on January 27, the world knew what to expect: Apple would finally announce its long-awaited tablet. With that pre-determined focus and the anticipatory roar for the next "insanely great" thing, most missed the larger announcement of the day. Steve Jobs did not simply announce the company's latest creation; he completed a task first made public in January 2007, when the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become Apple, Inc. The real news hidden in plain view as Jobs unveiled iPad was the repositioning of the company that created the personal computer.
Repositioning your company can be an invigorating move — it's exciting to take a fresh approach and go after new opportunities. But change is also risky and over time, the momentum behind it can wane. When that happens, it's not uncommon for individuals, units, or entire organizations to default to the old strategy. If your team relapses, how can you get things back on track and people re-focused on the new direction?
To marketers in despair, a rebrand may be like a knight in shining armor. How better to re-awaken the passion for a brand than to create a new name and image?! Despite the promise of a fairy tale ending, more rebrands fail than succeed. Executing a rebrand is fraught with challenges and requires some rather subjective decision-making. The stories of two high profile rebranding efforts currently underway – the Sci-Fi Channel and Starbucks — prove this point.
Balancing the need to please brand loyalists with enticing new customers, brands often update flavors, colors, logos and packaging. Unsuccessful attempts can be jarring (consider Coca-Cola's New Coke and Tropicana's packaging flop this year), while successful efforts are lucrative.
Analyst conferences are rarely exciting, but when P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley appears at one next week, some believe the near-term future of package-goods marketing -- and the long-term future of Procter & Gamble -- may hang in the balance. Some are even billing the appearance as "Tide Thursday," a reference to "Marlboro Friday" in 1993, when Philip Morris, battered by value-brand incursions on its Marlboro brand, cut prices 20% and stepped up consumer marketing in a move that was ultimately copied by many in the consumer-goods industry, reshaping the way many marketers approached pricing and advertising.