Rebranding: Let one opinion lead

Siddhartha Singh, Member, Salt Brand Solutions

Siddhartha Singh, Member, Salt Brand Solutions

The one place where democracy doesn’t work – definitely, Re-Branding!

An anecdote to illustrate my point – picture this.

Big town Gujarat – second generation run pharmaceutical company calls us in for a brief from Mumbai. A fancy reception at the airport, stopped just short of a garland – had everything else in place. We finally get to the office – impressive. The board room door opens to reveal a whole set of suits – each with a mind of their own. The next five hours are spent with them talking to each other and clearing their heads to get to a solution rather than briefing us…

One simple question asked of them – Who do you personify your brand as had answers that ranged from Mr. Bachchan to SRK and any and everybody in between – some saw their strength as production so it was the hard working Deol, some saw Marketing as their strength so it was the suave Saif – the ones that wanted to play safe chose the ones mentioned earlier – the all-rounder’s.

Just aside – why was it important for us to know how they personified the brand, we believe that Brands are People. Also, brand personifications open up a more intimate world with users. It enables a first person narrative which is the most personal form of communication. Therefore the attempt from our side has been and will be to shift Brand Identity from the inanimate to the animate and be able to change the conversation from, Which/What Brand to, Who is the Brand?

We stay back the night, to ensure that the next day we get a window with just the man who is going to take a call on this – the Entrepreneur himself, minus the coterie. We understand the real reasons for change – one of them being, that here’s someone who wanted to be known for who he is rather than the surname he wears – and the only thing reflecting that was the Company – his Company – and thus the need to change and Re-Brand!

Two days later, having met some wonderful people and a motive from the man himself had us return satisfied and with a direction to get into execution mode – moral of the story – you need to know the real client and real motive for change, the rest will follow.

Therefore, re-branding to me is like a Dictatorship, of the benevolent kind though.

To quote from a website – The Myndset, “Brand management must know how to listen and adapt with the times. Yet, brands must also take responsibility for their vision and mission and this requires a sense of purpose and singleness of mind, which will inevitably mean taking some tough decisions and not pleasing everyone. Steve Jobs was the reigning champion (of a benevolent despot), but I believe marketers are going to need to refine their own form of dictatorship to help them prioritize their actions, refine their budget allocations and to rally the organization behind their vision.  As much as brands must listen to their customers, they must also know when to draw the line.  Clearly, this is a difficult balancing trick.”

So when it comes to the employee and his stake in re-branding – he needs to play the role of a follower and let one opinion lead!

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