thoughtful re-imaging of a brand

smart-dumb-branding-marketing-ideas“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”



Jodi Picoult









Thoughtful reimaging as a way to reinvigorate sales (lets call it smart branding).


As the concept we labeled as branding starts moving into its next generation, we need to start looking at all those brands we did such a nice job of creating and figuring out what to do with all that smart thinking we did back then.


All the hype around branding created hundreds of books and “how to’s,” leading to a lot of brands that really are hitting the wall today. By seeking that Holy Grail, many brands began walking down a great looking path that is now reaching a dead end.


The truth? It is quite possible that we in the marketing world simply over thought (heresy…I know) that which was a quite simple and tried and true marketing concept (just not called branding) instilled in us by marketing greats like David Ogilvy, Stanley Resor, Rosser Reeves(i.e. the real Don Draper) etc.

What did they suggest?


Say one thing. Say it well.



Too often we in the marketing business feel like we need to re-invent to be successful – or maybe it is a silly belief we need to make it sound new.


Regardless, brand ‘reinvention’ sometimes is not the best path.


Oftentimes it is more about reintroducing a quality or characteristic of the brand that maybe even the brand has forgotten about. What I mean by this is we need to reach inside the brand/company body and find a core value, or character trait, that a new generation of shoppers & users find relevant.

Because that is what reimaging is really about … making your brand likeable from an emotional standpoint. How often do you hear a younger generation … and by younger that could be a Gen-Xer  < say a 40ish and not a tween> say ‘oh, that is a brand my parents loved’ as an excuse to not consider, rather than some rational decision?

Most brands that cross generations have solved the rational truths (heck … they have to at least meet their buyers’ basic needs or they would have died by now anyway).


Maybe it is simply about reawakening the soul of the brand. That sounds a little esoteric but aren’t most relationships based on something more than rational things? Soul mates and such.





With all that said. Where should thoughtful reimaging be appropriate? If the original brand premise is solid and well thought out, then this idea should apply mostly to companies who have maybe been in business for over 20 years or so. And in fact, in theory the older the company the better the reimaging opportunity.

Once again. Let me be clear on this … what do I mean by Re-imaging?


Making a brand/company relevant once again to a new generation of buyers.


Good brand insight (inner truth insights) thinking typically generates the most creative insights for these types of companies.



Let me take a minute and talk about Thoughtful Reimaging.


Thoughtful reimaging is about revitalizing an existing brand or company. You could say it is about breathing new life into a brand. Maybe even better said to a client is “hey, your customer base is getting old and new customers are gravitating to other brands, we need to refresh your image to make you appealing to them. But, hey, this doesn’t mean we are going to ask you to change. We just simply need to find a characteristic, part of the soul of the company or brand, and reintroduce you to people. It’s not about changing or reinventing yourself. It is more about showing people another side of your personality. It is more about your brand that we can showcase to these new potential buyers so they recognize you as a choice.”


Bottom line.



Reimaging is not about re-inventing yourself, but rather assembling characteristics or attributes and then repackaging them, or highlighting something, to make people look at the company/brand in a different way. The means to successful reimaging typically resides in the past. Gathering up characteristics that made that company successful in the past and simply reminding the internal company and the external constituents all the reasons why they were “liked” in the first place. That doesn’t mean we cannot ‘attach’ something new to existing attributes, it simply means that it is (1) easier if you leverage from something existing and (2) more believable if you use as many existing perceptions/attitudes as possible.





No one said what I just stated would be easy. But it is certainly something worth doing well.


With all that said, a rebranding process should be designed to tear apart the fabric of the exiting company/brand, seeking (in order of priority):



  • the functional product/service offerings at the foundation (what is delivered day-in and day-out)
  • the origins of the company/brand or the origins of the vision
  • original business goals/objectives
  • existing perceptions and attributes
  • company infrastructure information (company construct which may affect the functional delivery day-in and day-out) – this includes any changes to that infrastructure now and in the past that may have affected perceptions/attitudes/satisfaction
  • desired perceptions & attitudes
  • desired business goals/objectives

compromise life good want you they


The reason the last two items are the last priorities in the suggested process is because you should seek to find the ‘gap’ between where you were, where you are and ultimately where you want to be in order to assess the most effective & efficient path to reach your ultimate objective.

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Written by Bruce