Rebranding Is Tougher Than Branding

May 8, 2013

Marketing Consultant John Malmo
Credit / Archer>Malmo

Nothing is more important in any business than its brand. And branding is very serious business. But what’s even harder than branding, is RE-branding.

Building a brand from scratch is very hard. Not for quitters. But at least you’re trying to reach open minds. As in, Now there’s a place to buy tacos, and it’s called Taco Bell. But if you add hamburgers and re-brand as, say, Taco & Burger Bell, people probably will never quit saying Taco Bell.

If you want to do business as FedEx instead of Federal Express, that’s easy. But look at The University of Memphis. People won’t use a nine-syllable name, so most still say Memphis State. 

A store I like a lot, called Restoration Hardware, which is anything but a hardware store, went through Chapter Eleven, and now is re-branding itself as RH. Listen to the CEO: “RH enhances our identity.”

How, CEO? How?

“It enables us,” he says, “to leverage our core capabilities of innovation, curation and integration of new ideas and businesses.”

Have you ever heard such nonsense? In the first place, there’s no such word as "curation." It’s all just mumbo jumbo. And if your new brand is RH, and if those are the best words you can come up with to explain it, your re-branding road will be long and steep.

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