Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rebranding a food product? Know the risks and rewards.

What’s the ultimate fear food brand managers and marketers have about rebranding efforts? That in spite of their best intentions, sales drop after the rebranding initiative. There can be many rewards born out of a successful rebranding program, but there are risks to be considered. It is a delicate balance between attracting new consumers with a new, refreshed food brand and packaging, and maintaining the consumer base who identify with the existing brand and packaging graphics.

Let’s look at some of the risks associated with a food rebranding program and how to mitigate them:

1. Core Brand Equities:  Every food brand has core equities, those elements that separate a brand from its competitors. Core brand equities include the brand and product names, brand logo, color scheme, product photos, and any other unique characteristics. Food brand managers and marketers don’t want to lose any of them in a rebranding effort because they create the tie between brand recognition and brand trust. While meeting the objectives of rebranding, be aware of the risks of straying too far from core brand equities and creating a brand/package that consumers do not completely recognize and identify at the shelf level. If consumers feel unsure about a brand they thought they knew, they may well start drifting to competing brands.

2. Packaging Design Distractions:  Packaging design distractions are legacy elements that were relevant when the packaging was originally designed, but no longer support the brand. These brand distractions create barriers that keep consumers from seeing other more relevant information. To be competitive at the shelf level, food brands must effectively communicate with consumers. In a rebranding effort, it is important to assess all of the packaging messages and eliminate the distractions that no longer bring value to the brand. On the other hand, it is equally important to retain those messages that are still relevant in a graphic presentation that consumers will recognize as part of the brand.

3. Brand Enhancers:  Frequently a rebranding effort and new packaging design are driven by the need to call out new unique brand and product features and benefits, brand enhancers. These brand enhancers can result from the evolution of food product formulation or market trends that change the way consumers view and shop for products within the brand’s category. A clear definition of the brand enhancers will help ensure that the rebranding effort moves the brand forward while not losing touch with the brand’s consumer base.

4. Purchase Path:  A clear understanding of how consumers shop for products within a given food product category and what the key purchase decision criteria are play an important role in brand/packaging recognition within the retail environment. A rebranding effort should reinforce shopper behavior by placing critical messages in familiar places on packaging and in a hierarchy of relevance to consumers.

There are risks and rewards inherent in any change, and food product rebranding is no exception. The key to success is understanding the risks, maintaining the brand’s core equities, and appreciating that retaining existing consumers while attracting new ones can, to some extent, create opposing choices for food brand managers and marketers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment