Watch out for brand relaunches

Marke, Strategie, Brand, Strategy

Why brand relaunches sometimes fail and what you can do better

A brand relaunch can help a brand or company to strengthen its profile and increase its market presence. However, a brand relaunch can also be a critical phase in the development of a brand. Although the relaunch often provides an opportunity to refresh and reposition the brand image, an unsuccessful relaunch can have a serious impact on audience/brand loyalty. In this article, we take a closer look at the risk of brand relaunches by focussing on brand repositioning against the backdrop of target group expectations. Using failed brand relaunches as examples, we will learn lessons from the past and conclude with five tips for a successful brand relaunch.

Risks of a brand relaunch

A brand often has a long history and has built up a loyal following. The biggest challenge is that users and consumers already have a certain perception of the brand. A repositioning can override this existing imprint and lead to positive associations being lost. As a result, the brand could lose relevance or even be perceived as less attractive instead of being favoured. A sudden relaunch that ignores the roots and traditions of the brand can give loyal customers the feeling that the brand has lost its identity.

In order to successfully manage this risk, a thorough brand strategy analysis is essential. It is important to find a balance between innovation and preserving the brand essence. Only then can a brand relaunch be carried out effectively in order to position the company more successfully on the market in the long term.

Failed relaunches you can learn from

Every brand has defined values that it represents and that are appreciated by its customers. A relaunch that is not in line with these values or even violates them can shake consumer confidence and lead to a loss of image.

The target groups' expectations of a brand are crucial to the success of a relaunch. If expectations are not met or the changes are not received positively, this can lead to a decline in customer loyalty and sales. Corporate strategy and brand communication are directly linked. JCPenney also realised this in 2012 when it attempted to reposition itself by foregoing high discounts and promotional prices. The obvious attempt at stronger segmentation in the higher price segment not only led to negative reactions from consumers, but also to a dramatic drop in sales and a rapid withdrawal from the new strategy.

One of the best-known examples of a failed relaunch is Coke's launch of "New Coke" in 1985. Consumers rejected the new flavour, which was seen as a departure from the traditional formula, and the brand had to quickly revert to the old formula.

In addition to Coke, Tropicana also experienced this in 2009. Not because of the flavour of the drink, but because customers didn't like the redesign of the packaging. The result: a drop in sales of around 20 per cent and the reintroduction of the old design.

In 2018, Uber launched a comprehensive rebranding that was considered a failure by many. The new brand identity was perceived as inappropriate and inconsistent and failed to generate the desired positive response.

A relaunch often aims to reposition a brand in order to appeal to new target groups or to assert itself in a changed market environment. However, if the new positioning is not clearly communicated or is not authentic, this can lead to confusion and rejection among customers.

Tips for a successful brand relaunch

An important aspect that must be taken into account during the brand relaunch is the continuity of the brand values. It is crucial that the revised brand continues to embody its identity and values in order not to lose loyal customers. There is a risk that too radical a change will shake customer confidence and damage the brand's image. It is therefore advisable to proceed cautiously with a brand relaunch and to preserve the existing positive aspects of the brand.

It is therefore crucial to choose the right strategy to minimise the risk of confusion or rejection from the target group. Through detailed market research and a clear communication strategy, a successful brand relaunch can be realised, repositioning the company in the market and ensuring long-term success.

With a clear strategy that emphasises the strengths of the brand while incorporating fresh elements, a successful brand relaunch can be achieved. This keeps the brand relevant and attractive to the target group without losing its core audience.

The following tips can help you if you are thinking about a brand relaunch. Whereby the first question should be: Do we even need a relaunch? Why?

  1. Market research

    Use studies or, even better, conduct your own market research to understand the needs, expectations and attitudes of your target group.

  2. Clear communication

    Communicate clearly and transparently the reasons for the relaunch as well as the benefits and changes for consumers.

  3. Maintain authenticity

    Stay true to your brand values and ensure that the relaunch respects your brand's identity and history.

  4. Gradual implementation

    If necessary, introduce changes gradually to give your customers time to adapt and to minimise negative reactions.

  5. Obtain feedback

    Listen to your customers' feedback during the relaunch process and be prepared to make adjustments to address their concerns and wishes.

All in all, a brand relaunch is all about skilfully managing the expectations of the target group without losing sight of the brand heritage. With a sound strategy, the potential risks of a relaunch can be minimised - for a successful repositioning on the market.

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