Stealing Share Logo in White


Stealing Share's Analysis and advice

Repositioning Brands

March 16, 2023

When repositioning brands makes sense

So, you searched for brand repositioning. Maybe you just want to ask why brand repositioning is needed. Good on you for doing so. Repositioning brands is an ongoing and constant process. The tactical changes in brand repositioning ensure the brand’s continued relevance to the target market.
Call us to talk about it in more detail. CMOs, brand directors, and marketing executives consider repositioning brands for many reasons. Indeed, acquiring additional brands, merging, or responding to a challenge in the marketplace spark brand changes.
Your market scape changes so rapidly that it is prudent to consider brand repositioning. At Stealing Share, we view brand repositioning as a strategic initiative, not simply a tactical one. You might ask why

It needs to be part of the brand’s day-to-day process to examine market changes that raise barriers to your brand’s use or provide well-lubricated pathways to greater importance. Because it is an ongoing process, repositioning brands is a strategic tool.

Repositioning brands the Stealing Share way

It’s true, and every brand has a litany of permissions. And brand permissions are invitations for the target audience to consider owning (our term for using) your brand. They are all important. Ideally, permission feels exclusive. It acts as a valuable passport permitting the target audience to enter the brand’s universe.

repositioning brandsBased on our anthropological experiences, exclusivity attracts prospects/customers and glues existing customers to your brand.

Just consider this one value— exclusivity for a moment. Believing something is exclusively yours is a sticky idea. Exclusive ownership creates attachments and makes to loss of a brand painful. And what makes something feel exclusive changes frequently.

Repositioning brands is how you make those adjustments. So, we use these terms (brand repositioning) purposefully. Because great, persuasive brands own valuable real estate. Think about it this way— every brand has a border wall. And that wall separates the brand from all competitors. (Read about brand strategy implementation here.)

This wall allows the brand to be distinct. It demands the prospect make an emotional choice. As a result, well-constructed brands are both different and better than competitive offerings, not because of rational attributes. They feel different and better because of personal identification (like exclusivity).

Repositioning brands is a means to clarify that difference. You reposition your brand to arise distinctly from the market clutter.

Brands become stale. Brand repositioning adds vigor

Brands becoming stale is a truth. So is a contraction of the brand’s life expectancy. Complacency kills. Change is the new normal. As a result, time compresses, and markets erupt. And sea changes are as common as high tides. Brands that are afraid of repositioning die. Repositioning brands change market dynamics.

repositioning brandsNo matter what people profess, they all cringe at the idea of change. Predictable things draw us in. And random things give us pause.

If you’re lucky, your competitors will hold on to what they trust as static. It is, after all, human nature. Your ability to rise above human nature is a great predictor of success. Marketers like you understand that competitive success is opportunity.

As a result, success breeds defensiveness when repositioning brands. Holding onto present success exceeds willingness to reevaluate. As a result, brands are afraid to mess much with success.

For this reason, we’ve made all our bread and butter over the years precisely. Human beings fear change. (Read about our behavioral modeling here. It aids us in understanding human motivations) And wildly afraid of change when successful.

Repositioning brands the Stealing Share way

Stealing Share is a rogue rebranding company. We are not for everyone because we challenge everything. All assumptions are fair game (read about our brand development process here). As a result, you might find us initially hard to work with.
That’s OK. Your view will change over time.

Our clients appreciate our bluntness and recognize that they can trust us not to play political games. Our outside-in perspective allows us to be dispassionate in brand repositioning.

It is hard to view any market dispassionately—especially your own. But repositioning brands demands it. Self-fulfilling assumptions ARE the enemy. As a result, truth and honesty are dyed-in-the-wool allies in brand repositioning.
Here is how we reposition brands:

Step 1 in Brand Repositioning

Evaluate the market dispassionately. Don’t fear challenging assumptions. Markets change. Values shift. And truths morph. Stand in the shoes of the prospect and ask hard questions. Questions like “Why should I care?” “Who am I trying to become?” “What emotional intensity moves me?” “What do I believe to be true?”

Because the most influential brands are an active description (using an active voice) of the prospect’s emotional self-description, defines — “Who am I WHEN I use the brand?”Repositioning brands

Step 2 in Brand Repositioning

Do your research. Field projectable research with prospects. Double-blinded research study with an acceptable margin of error. Repositioning brands requires understanding behavior beyond a standard Usage and Attitudinal study. Our in-house research group, Resultant Research, is close allies with us in repositioning brands.

Hopefully, your competitors rely on category data, self-selecting studies (like email or online research— or worse, focus groups). We don’t do focus groups. And we don’t consider focus group research. If nothing said in a focus group is projectable to the population, why conduct them? When repositioning brands, One-on-one qualitative interviews are more reliable ethnographically than a focus group. Just remember, the value of qualitative research is to create better questions in quantitative studies.

repositioning brandsQualitative research can’t illuminate a brand repositioning strategy. Only quantitative analysis can do that. We demand research with 95% confidence, randomized and double-blinded. We learned something from our Resultant Research group—avoid open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are encouraged by other research firms. And for a good reason.

They have no idea what to ask. So, they leave that job to the respondents. Just consider this for a moment. When we repositioned New Belgium Beer some years back, they had existing research. One of the questions asked by their research company was, “Why do you prefer the brand of beer you drink?”

That sounds like a legitimate question when trying to grow your market share. But the answer was expected and unactionable. Respondents did not know why they emotionally felt attached to the beer they drink, which was the purpose of the study.

They just said, “I like the taste.” You can see how that tells you nothing. Everyone likes the taste of their favorite beer. Can you imagine having a preferred beer and hating the taste? Brand repositioning research must uncover more than that. Recognize hidden motivations control purchase decisions.

Open-ended questions encourage trite answers and clichés. We spend weeks creating the questionnaire because you get one chance to ask the right questions. We must test ideas and feelings on the Likert scale—the successful brand repositioning project as a foundation of emotional intensity.

Brands that steal market share on the highest emotional intensity.

Step 3 in Brand Repositioning

Kill sacred cows. Everything is on the table when repositioning brands to steal market share. Anything held as sacred transgresses.

Sacred cows are beliefs, practices, or strategies considered immune to organizational criticism or change.

They are often deeply ingrained and treated as untouchable, hindering the growth and success of businesses. These sacred cows can kill business opportunities in several ways, and in this essay, we will explore why and how they do so.

First and foremost, sacred cows discourage innovation and stifle creativity.

When specific ideas or approaches are considered sacred, it becomes difficult for new and potentially better ideas to emerge.

Employees may hesitate to challenge the status quo, fearing backlash or repercussions from higher-ups.

As a result, organizations miss out on fresh perspectives, unique solutions, and groundbreaking opportunities that could propel them ahead of their competitors.

Sacred Cows

Secondly, sacred cows can lead to complacency and resistance to change. When certain practices or strategies are considered untouchable, there is little incentive to evaluate their effectiveness critically.

This complacency can prevent businesses from adapting to evolving market trends, customer preferences, and technological advancements.

Organizations risk falling behind their competitors and losing out on lucrative opportunities by clinging to outdated methods.

repositioning brandsMoreover, sacred cows can foster a conformity culture and discourage thought diversity. When certain ideas are placed on a pedestal, alternative viewpoints or dissenting opinions may be rejected.

This homogeneity stifles healthy debate and prevents the exploration of different perspectives, which is essential for robust decision-making and innovation. Without diversity of thought, businesses miss out on the benefits of a wide range of ideas and experiences that could lead to better opportunities.

Additionally, sacred cows can drain resources and hinder cost-effective measures.

When certain practices or processes are considered untouchable, businesses may continue investing time, effort, and resources into them, even if they are no longer effective or efficient. This can result in wastage and prevent the allocation of resources to more promising ventures.

Missed Opportunities

By refusing to reevaluate and potentially eliminate sacred cows, businesses miss the opportunity to streamline operations and optimize their resource allocation.

Furthermore, sacred cows can erode employee morale and engagement.

Employees may become disillusioned and disengaged when they see outdated or ineffective practices being prioritized over their suggestions or insights. This can lead to decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and a loss of valuable talent.

By creating an environment where employees feel their ideas are not valued, sacred cows can damage the overall success and growth of the organization.

In conclusion, sacred cows kill business opportunities by stifling innovation, discouraging change, suppressing diverse perspectives, draining resources, and eroding employee morale.

To thrive in a rapidly changing and competitive business landscape, organizations must be willing to evaluate and challenge long-held beliefs and practices critically.

Embracing a culture of openness to new ideas, fostering innovation, and promoting diversity of thought will enable businesses to seize new opportunities, adapt to changing circumstances, and stay ahead of the curve. Organizations can unlock their potential and achieve sustainable success in the dynamic business world by recognizing and addressing their sacred cows.

Here is something you may not have known. At Stealing Share, most brand repositioning keeps the original brand name. But not always.

Sometimes the brand name itself is a barrier to change. Be prepared to modify or change ANYTHING that is a barrier to behavior changes.

  • Color palette.
  • Logo.
  • Brand name.
  • Packaging.
  • Context.
  • Category.
  • Brand promises.
  • Theme-line.

What are you willing to do to win? Brands that are not growing are dying. They have reached maximum penetration. When winning is essential, challenge EVERYTHING.

Step 4 in Brand Repositioning

Modify brand identity in brand repositioning. Try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But sometimes, the bathwater is so filthy that the baby needs to go. So, repositioning brands is a different project from brand repair.

Brand repositioning means creating greater relevance and importance. Brand repair implies the brand is a failure. Or the values associated with the brand are too out of date to update. The brand must demonstrate that something important has changed.

Updating brand identity declares that. After all, that’s why thinking about brand repositioning in the first place. Without changes to identity, brands must rely on massive marketing and advertising spending.

Changes to identify identity markers that permit prospects to reevaluate the brand’s relevance are good options for repositioning brands.

Step 5 in Brand Repositioning

Brand repositioning

Lock the logo with a brand theme. It is so simple to do so that we are amazed at how rarely this happens. Create a brand theme representing the highest emotional intensity and graphically lock that message with the logo. Repositioning your brand demands that you make it easy to understand the position. Why make the prospect work to understand the brand’s emotional relevance?

Don’t ask the prospect to remember the brand’s theme. Say it up front and center.

Never present the logo or mark without the brand theme. Never do it.

Step 6 in Brand Repositioning

Make the promise and permission accurate. Brand repositioning is your chance to rethink fundamentals. Brand repositioning is when you reposition your brand and create important product or service values. Highlight the differences. Change internal culture to reflect the brand’s promise.

repositoning brandsRemember that the highest emotional intensity is more important than ANY product feature. When repositioning brands, we use product features to support emotional intensity. If you have repositioned the brand without culture changes, you have fallen victim to self-fulfilling marketing.

Real change starts internally, and the culture must accept the repositioning as true. Cultural changes supporting the repositioned brand demonstrate that fact. We utilize two kinds of brand training; the first module is training the employees on the nuances of brand repositioning.

We need them to understand it and become excited about it. You can read about this sales training here.

The second module is for your sales folks. We get them excited and show them how to build a selling argument from the entire brand repositioning.