Fire, Fire, Fire!

How do you know it is time to rebrand?

In the 80’s we use to say ‘Ready, Aim and Fire’. In the 90’s it became “Ready, Fire and Aim’… nowadays its ‘FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!’


Having the benefit of over 3 decades in the brand building business, I can say that it is a continuous process of re-positioning, re-vitalisation and re-newel. The philosophy of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does apply here. No. And if you believe that you can “build it and they will come” you also belong with the dinosaurs – extinct and probably fossilised by now.


The answer to this question resides in the fact that if you stand still in today’s marketing environment it is the equivalent of going backwards against the fast moving current of competition.

“We’re gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.”

– Jay Walker-Smith, Yankelovich Consumer Reasearch


That’s a lot to contend with.


Last year we undertook an extensive packaging programme for a leading nutrition company whose key products in the Philippines and Malaysia were in need of a refresh. This year we are being asked to look at it all over again. What do they want from the process? Increase ‘stopping’ power with strong shelf impact and stand out verses competition; to give perception of good taste; increase appeal to target market; stronger ‘holding’ power by communicating brand’s core proposition, main benefit and equity, underpinned by a stronger reason-to-believe and finally to bring to life the brand’s character on-pack.


In a practical context, I would ask you the following three questions. If your answer is ‘yes’ to any one of the three, you should take a close look at your brand with a view to making some significant changes. If you answer is ‘yes’ to two of the three, then the problem is more acute and needs urgent attention. If the answer is ‘yes’ to all three, then you had better start rebranding immediately and hire someone really good!

1. Has your direct and/or indirect competitive environment changed significantly in the past twelve months?

2. Are you able to maintain customer loyalty and do they say positive things about you on your social media channels?

3. Do your employees believe in the vision of the business, where it is going and do they ‘live the brand’ bringing it to work everyday?

About six months ago I asked the outgoing CEO of Singapore River One, Ty Tabing, about the timing of the rebranding of the Singapore River (bringing together the three quays – Clark Quay, Boat Quay and Robertson Quay). His answer to me was that wished he had do it three years earlier, as he felt the rebranding brought the focus necessary to bring together all the stakeholders, unite them under one banner and create the communications vehicle to change the status quo.


Before Rebranding:



After Rebranding:




Conversely, I asked the CEO of Lotterywest, Jan Stewart, having been through a highly invasive ‘rebranding process’, if knowing the difficulties involved in the process ‘would she still have done it’, and her answer was disappointingly ‘No’. When I asked why, she told me “Ten years on we are still aren’t complete – it has taken a lot of time, resources and commitment.” Now, I might point out that they are one of the most successful lottery business worldwide with over 450 independent retailers to convert to the new branded experience.


Before Rebranding:




After Rebranding:




My assessment here is that no pain, no gain – I do sympathize with Jan, but success does come at a price to an organization. I did not say that rebranding was going to be an easy task, but that is subject matter for another day. All the best with your rebranding process and call me if you get stuck +65 9673 1452