Sector Comment: CIM on Brand Repositioning

Repositioning your brand starts by building a clear vision of the brand’s culture – here’s how to prepare yourself for a big shift.

Scroll down to read what Sammy Todd, Marketing Manager at CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing) has to say on reinvention and repositioning.


When a brand is tarnished by scandal, or loses its lustre over time, the first instinct of a new marketing manager might be to immediately begin repositioning; changing logos, tone, adverts and adjusting the other cosmetic aspects.

It’s a mistake, because brand is like an iceberg. By playing with communications first, you’re only altering the 10% above the waterline that’s visible to the public.

You’re also making promises to customers that you may not be able to keep. That’s why this step should come last – after you have brought the brand up-to-date internally. Rebranding should be an impetus to make fundamental shifts in the organisation so that it is able to deliver on evolving consumer expectations.

The initial activity for any repositioning process should be to build a clear view of the existing brand culture and the culture you want to create. Here are three moves to consider:

  • Establish why you are rebranding. The reasons why will determine the extent of change that is necessary. If it’s because you want to appeal to a younger demographic, for example, it might require you to embrace new technologies. If it’s because a new competitor is stealing your sales, you will have to consider how you one-up them.
  • Research, research, research. Knowing what consumers think about the brand – what they like, what they dislike, and the reasons why – is essential to repositioning the brand while keeping hold of satisfied customers.
  • Anticipate objections to change. This is something to focus on externally – research will help here – and also within the organisation. A robust repositioning will require buy-in from everyone from entry-level sales staff to the chairman of the board if it is to be effective. That means you will have to overcome all kinds of opposition, and it’s best to plan a response rather than trying to deal with every problem as it comes up.

When these initial steps have been taken, it’s time to begin the change process. That means altering the brand internally, which will require the marketing department to take the lead.

Only after you’ve done all this can you begin to change your messaging – ensuring that brand promise and customer reality will always match up.

Article was originally published on the CIM’s website.


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