Brand Repositioning

Brand Repositioning

When a company sees a decline in sales or anticipates significant changes, it’s a signal to make internal adjustments. Repositioning the brand can help, often involving tweaks to the marketing mix like price, promotion, and product to better meet consumers’ needs and wants. This makes the brand more relevant to customers.

Brand repositioning isn’t about completely overhauling the company’s image. Instead, it’s a strategic adjustment aimed at improving the brand’s reputation, association, personality, core message, and image while maintaining a consistent identity. Repositioning is particularly effective when growth is slowing, competition is intense, and customers aren’t connecting as they used to.

Types of Brand Repositioning

There are two types of brand repositioning: tactical and strategic, depending on how significant the change in the brand’s meaning is.

Strategic Brand Repositioning

Strategic repositioning involves changing the brand’s core meaning. For example, McDonald’s redesigned its menu and introduced premium coffee options to shift its image from an unhealthy fast-food chain to a more appealing choice for young couples and families. Similarly, Hyundai transitioned from being seen as a low-cost brand to a premium, aspirational one by updating its car designs, offering a ten-year warranty, and investing heavily in marketing to change customer perceptions. Strategic repositioning requires a set of tactical marketing decisions to build a strong brand.

Tactical Brand Repositioning

Tactical repositioning involves changes in brand tactics, design, and communication without altering the underlying strategy. It’s less complex than strategic repositioning. This might include changing the brand name, slogan, logo, character, or product design to better align with specific markets. The goal is to make brand identifiers more memorable and consistent with the brand’s value proposition.

For example, PepsiCo underestimated the importance of the Tropicana package design change, which led to a sharp drop in sales and consumer backlash. They reverted to the original design after realizing the minor modification was perceived as an unwelcome shift in the brand’s meaning.

Reasons to Reposition a Brand

Changing Target Customers

Companies often need to reposition their brands to stay relevant with evolving customer demographics, preferences, and values. General Mills updated Betty Crocker to reflect modern values like inclusivity, diversity, and convenience, aligning the brand with contemporary consumer expectations and maintaining its appeal.

Shift in Company Goals

When a company’s strategic focus shifts, its branding and messaging may need to change. Campbell’s Soup Company changed its slogan from “Soup is Good Food” to “Mmm! Mmm! Good!” to emphasize product variety and taste, aligning with its broader range of offerings and attracting a wider audience

Changes in Collaborator Network

New partnerships often require repositioning to reflect these relationships. After acquiring Kinko’s, FedEx rebranded it as FedEx Kinko’s, highlighting the integration of Kinko’s services with FedEx’s logistics, enhancing their combined value proposition to customers.

Competitive Changes

To maintain or enhance competitive advantage, companies may reposition in response to competitors’ new strategies. This could involve highlighting unique features or shifting marketing messages to emphasize strengths, ensuring the company remains relevant and attractive to consumers.

Contextual Changes

External factors like physical, economic, regulatory, or sociocultural changes can necessitate repositioning. The Ayds diet candy brand faced challenges due to its name’s phonetic similarity to AIDS, leading to a decline in sales and its eventual closure, illustrating the impact of external factors on brand perception.


Brand repositioning is a powerful strategy to adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences. By defining a new brand identity and communicating it effectively, companies can attract new audiences and drive growth. This process can turn challenges into opportunities, ensuring the brand remains relevant and competitive.

When considering brand repositioning, authenticity and clarity are crucial. Engage with your audience, listen to their needs, and craft a narrative that resonates. With the right approach, repositioning can revitalize your business and strengthen your connection with customers, paving the way for lasting success.

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