9th August


Imagine yourself in an airport in any country, and your senses are attacked from everywhere, from the informative Typography of the operator, to the duty free convenience stores trying to sell you an item and to the coffee stores trying to persuade you to buy an authentic cup of coffee. This is the world we live in. Brands fighting each other to win your attention and to create a bond with you. Brands constantly manipulate us from the shoes we decided to wear today and to the cereal you decided to eat this morning.

In this jungle of brands, uniqueness is very crucial. Every brand’s goal should be standing out from its competitors, which would then result in a strong and trendsetting brand identity. When rebranding in a unique way, you’re refocusing the attention to an existing brand. This helps overcome the boredom of consumers that see the same old product on the shelf year by year. When create a brand it is of great significance to position it against other brands on a deeper level in such a way that the consumer embraces it as his/her own.  This is what we call ‘strategic brand differentiation’.  In strategic brand differentiation we start from the premise that every individual, in his/her own way,  values those factors that  differentiate one brand from the other.  This means that, unless the brand becomes meaningful to the consumer on an individual level, he/she will not integrate it directly into his/her life.

An effective brand obviously affects the consciousness of the consumers and would make a person, who never saw the brand before, explain the company in five seconds, by truly expressing the values of the brand through the brand identity. A brand is the perception of the consumers which makes it is essential that we keep the consumers in mind while developing a brand or re branding.

“Consumers define the brands. Therefore they are the brands.”

Albert & Packhauser (1995)

There are a number of reasons for rebranding. Maybe a companies’ target demographic being changed, new competition, maybe there was a technological shift, the business went through a big change or the brand is just dated and needs to change visually. That common thing is that there’s need for a new brand position. Within each of these reasons, there is one common thing; there is need for a new brand position. A brand position is the way you are associated and the consumer’s perception like so if you were approachable, modern or technological. Sometimes brands think that they wouldz always need a full visual rebrand. But in some cases they would just need a new brand position.

Starbucks before 1993, heavily focused on the quantity of coffees they produce and  at that that time, their perception was that of a fast food company. Since their focus was on the quantity of coffee, they had high traffic in the morning because people would want a quick cup of coffee before going to work. However during the day, Starbucks was always empty. So the CEO gathered his his consultants and ask them “what can we do to increase the traffic?” They gave him some ideas telling him to start a new ad campaign, create a new logo, revamp the packaging or maybe just improve the quality of the coffee. However, these ideas wouldn’t add any value to a person going there in the middle of the day. One of their consultants recommended to reposition Starbucks in the consumers perception, stating that;  “Coffee is sharing moments with friends”.

With this sentence, Starbucks revamped their whole brand identity, not from a visual standpoint, but more of an identification basis. From a product focused brand position, they transitioned into an experience where people can meet, and by this they changed the way they were selling their coffees and they transformed their interior to lounges. This all added value to the people and after 1993 and the following years, the traffic during the day highly increased.

How do you start branding or rebranding?

Some tend to think that you should always start with aesthetics just as we saw with Starbucks, but the first step is truly redefine the identity of your company, even if it’s just to modernise the aesthetics of your brand – there’s always a slight change in your brand identity. In ANCHOVY. we segment our branding into phases. The first phase is identification where we figure out the tone of voice, the values and the brand pillars of the identity, which then would be followed by the brand development, brand refinement and the development of the brand guidelines. We keep identification as an important basis to all branding. With identifying first, you will have a better brand strategy because everything is changed or created for a reason.

Philip Mercieca



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