Brand Repositioning: How to Redefine Your Company’s Image

Jan Suski Jan Suski
November 4, 2022 ・ 9 min read

When you think about some of the most iconic brands out there, it’s easy to see how important brand image can be. Just take Nike – their “Just Do It” slogan is synonymous with motivation and their swoosh logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Whether we realize it or not, the way a company presents itself to the world has a huge impact on our perception of it.

This is why, when companies find themselves in need of a makeover, they often turn to brand repositioning. Brand repositioning is the process of redefining how a company wants to be seen by its target audience.

While brand repositioning can be a daunting task, it can also be an extremely effective way to give your company a fresh start. If you’re considering making some changes to your company’s image, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Table of contents:

What is brand repositioning?

Simply put, brand repositioning is when a company or organization changes its strategic focus in order to better align with the needs and wants of its target audience. This can involve anything from tweaking the brand personality to undertaking a complete revamp of its promise. The goal is always the same, though: to make the brand more relevant and appealing to consumers.

Why do brands reposition?

There are a number of reasons why a brand might need to reposition itself. Perhaps it has failed to keep up with changing times and is now seen as outdated. Maybe it’s lost its way and is no longer seen as being true to its original values. Or maybe it simply needs to freshen things up a bit in order to stay competitive. Whatever the reason, image repositioning can be a powerful tool for getting a company back on track.

Rebranding vs brand repositioning

Before a business can decide whether to rebrand or reposition its existing brand, it’s important to understand the difference between the two concepts. Rebranding entails changing the look and feel of a brand, often in an effort to appeal to a new target audience. This can involve anything from updating a logo to completely overhauling a company’s brand identity.

Brand repositioning, on the other hand, is all about shifting the perception of a brand in the minds of consumers. This might be done in response to changes in the marketplace or in an attempt to better align the brand with the company’s current business goals. In some cases, businesses will opt for a combination of both rebranding and repositioning, working to create a completely new image that accurately reflects the business’s current direction.

See also: 5 Successful Rebranding Examples

Brand repositioning strategy

Positioning is all about differentiating your brand in the marketplace so you can compete effectively and be top of mind for consumers when they’re ready to buy. But over time, things change – new competitors enter the market, your target audience’s needs evolve, and your product mix changes. That’s why periodic repositioning is essential to keeping your brand relevant and connected to your consumers. Here’s a quick overview of the process:

1. Assess your current position. Before you can decide where you want to go, you need to take a good hard look at where you are today. What does your target audience think of your brand? What do you want them to think? How does your competition position themselves?

2. Set some objectives. Once you’ve taken stock of your current situation, it’s time to set goals for where you want to be. What are your long-term business objectives? What does success look like?

3. Develop positioning concepts. With a clear understanding of your objectives, it’s time to start generating ideas for how to position your brand. This is the fun part – let your creativity run wild!

4. Test and refine. Before finalizing anything, it’s important to test out your new positioning with your target market to make sure it resonates with them. Build some prototypes, run some focus groups, and get feedback from real people.

5. Communicate the change. Once your new positioning has been finalized, it’s important to make sure everyone in the company is on board. This means organizing training and providing clear guidelines for how the brand should be represented in all communications and interactions with consumers.

6. Launch! Once you’ve settled on a positioning that feels right, it’s time to start putting your marketing efforts into action. This might mean developing a new tagline or logo, revamping your website or social media presence, or even changing the way you train your sales team.

7. Measure performance. As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to continually monitor the success of your repositioning efforts. Are you seeing an increase in sales or market share? Are customers responding positively to the new positioning? If not, don’t be afraid to make adjustments and refine your approach.

Brand repositioning can be a powerful tool for getting a company back on track. However, it’s not always an easy process, and it can take time and effort to see results.

That said, there are a few companies that have gone through a successful brand repositioning. Let’s take a look at some of their stories.

Brand repositioning examples

Dunkin’ Donuts

In an effort to re-establish itself as a quick stop for grab-and-go beverages, snacks, and products unique to the brand, Dunkin’ Donuts repositioned itself to be associated with drinks, and not donuts. The chain released ads that showed people running into their stores to get coffee and iced drinks, instead of donuts.

They also updated their product offerings to include new specialty drinks and on-the-go snacks like wraps and sandwiches. As a result of these efforts, same-store sales for the chain’s 9,141 domestic units rose 1.3%. While Dunkin’ Donuts may always be known for its delicious donuts, they have successfully managed to evolve its brand to stay relevant in the current market.

Twitter screenshot with text
Many customers prefer now Dunkin’ Donuts coffee over Starbucks.

Looks like it’s working!

Key takeaways

  • Dunkin’ Brands repositioned its coffee products to be more innovative and appeal to a wider audience.
  • The company expanded its product line to include hot, cold, iced, flavored, and frozen coffee drinks.
  • Dunkin’ also introduced complimentary baked goods as “add-ons” to its coffee products.

Slack

Slack’s recent addition of three new features is part of the company’s repositioning strategy in light of the pandemic. By adding features that enable users to schedule messages and run businesses across different regions and time zones, Slack is positioning itself as a ‘virtual headquarters’ for companies that adopt hybrid or entirely remote working strategies.

This strategy is aimed at appealing to companies looking for a flexible and adaptable solution to post-pandemic working arrangements. So far, Slack’s repositioning strategy appears to be paying off, with the platform seeing increased use and adoption by businesses of all sizes.

Twitter screenshot.
Scheduling messages on Slack is a great option for people who want to save what they want to say for later.

Also, Slack has introduced a new video recording feature which is a bit similar to TikTok videos. Huddle is another feature that simulates water cooler tank talks, allowing for a much more office-like experience.

Key takeaways

  • This strategy is aimed at appealing to companies looking for a flexible and adaptable solution to post-pandemic working arrangements.
  • Additionally, Slack is attempting to provide a more office-like experience with the introduction of the Huddle feature.
  • Slack videos mimic TikTok, which is attractive for Gen Z.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s biggest strength has always been its ability to innovate. Whether it’s introducing new menu items or experimenting with its branding, the company has always been at the forefront of change.

And that’s precisely what it’s doing now with its new positioning, “Live Mas.” The key assumption behind the strategy is that food doesn’t play the role of fuel anymore, but is an experience and a youth lifestyle brand in itself. They’re not just about “cheap Mexican food.” Taco Bell is starting to experiment with its menu, launching new items like breakfast options and Doritos Locos Tacos.

It’s also refreshing its branding, revamping its interior design, and launching higher-end restaurants (the Cantina concept) targeted at a more demanding consumer.

All of these changes are designed to appeal to a new generation of consumers who view food as more than just sustenance. And if Taco Bell can continue to innovate at the same pace, there’s no doubt that it will remain one of the most popular fast food chains in the world.

Taco Bell's Tiwtter screenshot.
Taco Bell’s brand repositioning in being innovative.

Key takeaways

  • Taco Bell started to cater to the younger demographics instead of pushing the envelope with Baby Boomers.
  • They welcomed the perception of their inexpensive, tasty meals, and boundless culinary creations.
  • Instead of focusing just on their afternoon offering, Taco Bell decided to put an emphasis on breakfast.

Gucci

In just a few short years, Gucci has undergone a complete transformation. The once-stodgy fashion house is now one of the hottest brands in the world, thanks to a new focus on making the brand more appealing to young consumers. Gucci has refreshed its logo, made its products more Instagram-friendly, and started communicating its progressive stance on sexual fluidity. As a result, the brand has experienced its most prosperous period yet – both in terms of financial performance and brand relevance among fashion influencers. Thanks to its new direction, Gucci is now one of the most buzzed-about brands in the fashion world – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Key takeaways

  • Gucci’s brand repositioning campaign is focused on a younger target audience.
  • The quality of distribution has been improved in order to reach the desired audience more effectively.
  • The business model has been revisited in order to make the brand more accessible and affordable for young consumers.

Adidas

Adidas has been slowly but surely repositioning itself as a luxury sportswear brand. In the last month alone, the company has collaborated with both Gucci and Balenciaga, two of the most influential fashion houses in the world. These partnerships have helped to raise Adidas’ profile in the fashion world and solidify its position as a major player in the luxury market.

Adidas has always had a strong presence in the world of high-end fashion, thanks to collaborations with designers like Stella McCartney, Prada, and Jil Sander. However, the appeal of sportswear is also appealing to luxury brands. The timed release of limited-edition sneakers is similar to how luxury products are marketed, creating a sense of rarity and exclusivity. By aligning itself with some of the biggest names in fashion, Adidas is positioning itself as the go-to brand for luxury sportswear.

Key takeaways

  • Adidas is trying to court a new audience of luxury consumers.
  • The company wants to be seen as a major player in the luxury market.
  • Adidas’ brand repositioning campaign is successful in raising its profile in the fashion world.

Nike

In 1988, Nike launched the “Just Do It” campaign with a now-famous TV spot featuring an excerpt from a speech by the murderer and would-be political assassin Gary Gilmore.

The ad was designed to position Nike as a brand for athletes, but it was quickly criticized for its insensitivity. Nike pulled the ad, but the “Just Do It” slogan lived on and became one of the most iconic and successful advertising campaigns in history. In recent years, Nike has repositioned the “Just Do It” slogan to appeal to a new generation of consumers.

The brand has associated the slogan with stories of athletes overcoming adversity, including ads featuring Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams. By aligning itself with these stories of triumph, Nike is hoping to inspire consumers to “just do it” in their own lives. So far, the strategy seems to be working – in 2017, Nike’s sales hit an all-time high.

Key takeaways

  • Nike was hoping to inspire consumers to “just do it” in their own lives.
  • The brand has associated the slogan with stories of athletes overcoming adversity.
  • Nike was hoping to create a new generation of consumers who see the brand as a symbol of triumph.