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Brand builders

26 May
00:00 2006
Simon Dunn, managing director of Product Chain, on the good, the bad and the ugly of brand overhauls

It is said, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Never muck about with a brand. Do not change its persona, and make sure only enhancements are made. Research thoroughly all aspects before making any changes. You know that makes sense.

Some get it badly wrong – even the greatest and brightest screw up. Coca-Cola tried to change its formulation becoming a legend in its own can, the failure it created. There are stories posted on an internet site which demonstrate how hysterical America became over this way back in 1985: [I=http://www2.coca-cola.com/heritage/stories/new_coke.html]www2.coca-cola.com/heritage/stories/new_coke.html[I]

There are successes and the plan is to make brands global today. Mars has successfully (how I am not sure) switched some UK specific brands over to the now global identity with Marathon becoming Snickers, Opal Fruits changing to Starburst and a few others. We wait with great wonder to see if lavatories smell any better after treatment with Airwick, which we are informed on pack is the new name for Haze. But all in all, there are some big risks to brand managers and owners when they fiddle about with brands. Consumers do not like change on the whole. They will try new stuff but change is a concern too far for most.

Last November we decided, for one reason or another, to be really bold and take a product which is changing a national habit into a modern experience. It had distribution in most decent supermarkets and was growing fast.

We changed the name, did not use the pack to tell the consumer for all sorts of reasons, relied on shelf talkers, developed some revolutionary pack designs, blending retro with modern.

To date, the sales are 24% up year-on-year. So there you are, it can be done; even by humble folk like us.

Eric Clapton got away with becoming Derek for years and ended up with two brands. Peter Cook & Dudley Moore became Derek & Clive. Who knows why Derek was such a popular name, what a about a Derek functional food juice, great as a blood thinner?

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