Archive for the ‘Corporate Identity’ Category
Much has been written on the subject of brands – not least by B2B International! As we know, a brand is made up of many things – name, logo and values to name but a few. But can there be any doubt about the importance of a brand name? In a Thursday Night Insight article last year, Chrissie Douglas gave us some hints on selecting a brand name:
So, what happens if you get it wrong?
According to research by YouGov/G2, Cillit Bang has been voted the UK’s most disliked brand name. Of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed, a quarter of women, a fifth of men and 27% of over-55s did not like the brand name. Yet, the cleaning brand, which was launched in 2005 by Reckitt Benckiser, is actually considered by its owner to be a “power brand” and its sales show it to be an extremely successful product. So, clearly, brand name is not everything.
Yet, of the top 10 most disliked brand names (shown below), four are new names for previously known brands, including 3 in the top 5:
Cif used to be known in the UK as Jif, Snickers was for many years called Marathon, and Veet previously went by the name Immac. This perhaps underlines the importance of getting the brand name right in the first place. Once people have started to associate certain values and attributes with a brand, any changes can lead to confusion or mistrust. Unless you recognise the importance of brands and adopt a well thought-out marketing and communications rebranding strategy, you could find yourself with a lot of brand rebuilding work to be done.
To find out more about branding, please refer to several of our white papers, including:
Your employees are one of your company’s greatest assets. What they say about your company, how they act in the workplace, and how happy they are in their roles all impact on your brand, your image, your levels of service and ultimately your customers’ satisfaction. B2B Marketing recently published an article entitled BRANDING: Motivating employees to be your ‘brand carriers’. The article, which is shown below, makes interesting reading.
Many B2B companies have gone through mergers and takeovers, with the associated churn in staff, sense of insecurity, loss of implicit knowledge and know-how… So, more than ever, B2B companies need to re-address the way they interact with their employees. Positive interaction, fostering brand engagement, can have a massively beneficial impact on your company – and your bottom line.
So maybe it’s time to switch the focus from the voice of the shareholder or the customer to the voice of the employee – the employee as brand ambassador.
There are many reasons why a company may wish to rebrand. The corporate history books are, however, littered with examples of large-scale renaming gone wrong.
At B2B International, we are strong advocates for testing perceptions to re-branding exercises with all key stakeholders within an organisation – Be they customers, shareholders, staff or any other party. Very often, the most effective means for this is through a thorough appraisal of one’s corporate positioning within the market.
The following article from last week’s Financial Times, highlights some of the success stories and failures in the world of branding and should make for interesting reading for anyone involved in the subject.
In this week’s Thursday Night Insight, Chrissie Douglas reflects on a recent branding decision that has hit the national press and discusses the importance of good branding.
Whilst flicking through the Sunday papers dominated by doom, gloom and impending recession, a light-hearted article on a recent re-branding decision focused my attention.
The article in question described how Watercliffe Meadow primary school in Sheffield dropped the word ‘school’ in favour of a ‘place of learning’. The head teacher believed that the word ‘school’ has ‘negative connotations’ and that the traditional description sounded too ‘institutional’. At the same time, the local authority renamed many of the traditional school support services. For example, lollipop ladies became “school crossing patrol officers”, teachers are now known as “knowledge navigators”, libraries as “ideas stores” and dinner ladies as “education centre nourishment production assistants”!
On the one hand, the content of this article is light-hearted and funny but on the other hand, changing established names that have become almost institutionalised over hundreds of years borders on ridiculous. This focused my attention on the seriousness of the re-branding decision.
So what’s in a name? A brand name is the label by which people recognise something and when they think of that name some image or values are conjured up which are special and unique. These are often built up over many years as the name becomes a familiar front end to the values and perceptions associated with a particular company. The name becomes a reflection of what the company stands for.
Let’s consider a few examples. In March 2001, Royal Mail – the UK national postal service – changed its name to Consignia at a cost of £500,000. The brand lasted little over a year before public outcry forced the group’s return to its original Royal Mail signature at a further cost of £1 million.
What the Royal Mail failed to do was transfer the awareness and perceptions of the brand which had been built up over 400 years to the new name. That is, they failed to recognise that Brits are a proud, culturally-heritaged bunch and that centuries-old traditions and values were encapsulated in the name. Consignia had no association or meaning to the population, sounding more like an Italian airline or, ironically, an American branding consultancy. Not the sort of organisation the Queen would trust her correspondence with. However, if Royal Mail had been called Consignia when it was first created, would the company and its businesses be smaller or larger, or otherwise significantly different? The answer is probably not.
Other not so well known examples include the re-branding of Backrub to Google, and Marafuka to Nintendo. What makes these two examples different is that the brand names were changed prior to any large-scale commercial success or before the world established any values or associations with those terms. A reversion back to their original form is now near impossible as they are a fundamental part of our global vocabulary.
So the key message is that naming is not something to be taken lightly. In an ideal world the trick is to get it right first time. If you don’t get it right first time, it’s a lot more difficult to change once the name becomes established and the values, perceptions and identity of the company become entrenched and almost inseparable from the name.
That’s not to say that the successful re-naming of an established brand is impossible (there are a number of success stories – for example the creation of Aviva from the 200-year old Norwich Union and CGU insurance brands) though it is important to question whether it is really necessary (is it really necessary to replace the term ‘school’?). If it is, the trick is to transfer the good from the old brand to the new.
So how do you go about re-branding? Good branding is not about original thinking. It’s about focus, consistency and doing the right thing. Although there are no hard and fast rules, some criteria suggested by researchers as factors which affect the recall and recognition of names are as follows:
• Brand names should be simple so that they are easy to understand, pronounce and spell. Two words in the name should be considered the maximum.
B2B International is an expert in branding and re-branding, and has developed a unique and tested model for analysing and building a strong corporate position that has been endorsed by some of the largest companies in Europe and the US. To learn more about how B2B International can help you, contact our Branding Research Team.
A new survey by market research specialists B2B International examines the soil industry and finds a highly respected supplier amidst a slowing market in the construction sector.
Soil, like water, is the source of all life on our planet. Soil affects each of us in our everyday lives from the food we eat to our leisure pursuits and the foundations our houses and roads are built upon to the gardens we enjoy.
TOPSOIL products (Landscape 20 and Sports 10) are developed from the soil that adheres to the sugar beet delivered to British Sugar’s factories and as such comes from the best agricultural soils in the country. The fundamental core of TOPSOIL’s business is one of sustainability and this was found to be a key differentiator against the competition.
The market research was carried out in the final quarter of 2008 and involved speaking to key purchasers of soil including merchants, housing developers, sports pitch contractors and landscapers. The survey showed that the market is a nervous one, with the building trade experiencing a large downturn spurred by the current economic situation.
In a market squeezed by rising prices and where logistical problems are endless, coordinating deliveries that arrive on-site and on-time, opportunities for not delivering against customer needs are endless. However, in this highly demanding marketplace, Topsoil delivered near perfect overall satisfaction scores of 8.8 out of 10. The reason for this excellent score is not only due to the delivery and security of supply but also down to the fact that they deliver an excellent quality and consistency of soil (certification to British Standards) while providing a professional, supportive and personal service.
In what is a highly fragmented marketplace, Topsoil is seen as a leading supplier. In just a short space of time, Topsoil has risen from a new company upstart to be one of the key suppliers of topsoil in the UK. B2B International Managing Director, Nick Hague, who was in charge of the research was impressed with the brand infiltration and satisfaction levels of the marketplace. “Topsoil, the brand, is carving a nice niche for itself within this market backed by the trust and value that the British Sugar brand delivers. However I believe it is the fact that they offer a sustainable product at such a high quality that will drive future growth for this company”.
For more information on Topsoil visit Topsoil