Avoid the brand pitfalls

Even the biggest companies can make branding errors...

Beware when rebranding:

Although you should reassess your brand from time to time to ensure that it has not become outdated or inappropriate, it is important not to alienate your existing customers.

One of the most famous examples of disastrous rebranding came in 1985 with Coca-Cola's abrupt replacement of its most famous product with the sweeter 'New Coke'. The move had come in response to a shrinking market share, as blind tests suggested that many people preferred the taste of Pepsi.

The change was a public relations debacle and Coca-Cola were forced to revert to their original formula. However, there was a twist in the tale, as nostalgic demand for the traditional Coke had grown so strong that the company was soon able to re-establish its market lead.

Lost in Translation?

Do you intend to trade overseas? If so, take care to research your local market. Legend has it that Chevrolet's Nova model failed to sell in Mexico because "no va" in Spanish translates as "it doesn't go". Meanwhile the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan 'finger-lickin' good' came out as 'eat your fingers off' in China.

Some of these stories might in fact be urban myths, but the moral - that careful research is vital - is valid.

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