Repositioning brands

When repositioning brands makes sense

reposting brandsSo, you Googled brand repositioning. Good on you for doing so. Repositioning brands is an ongoing and constant process. The tactical changes in brand repositioning ensure the brand’s continued relevance to the target market.

Call us to talk about it in more detail. There are many reasons CMOs, brand directors, and marketing executives consider repositioning brands. Indeed, acquiring additional brands, merging, or responding to a challenge in the marketplace spark brand changes.

Your market scape changes so rapidly that it is prudent to consider brand repositioning. At Stealing Share, we view brand repositioning as a strategic initiative and not simply a tactical one.

You might ask why? It needs to be part of the brand’s day-to-day process to examine market changes that raise barriers to your brand’s use or provide well-lubricated pathways to greater importance.

Because it is an ongoing process, repositioning brands is a strategic tool.

brand repositioningWhen repositioning brands— look to brand permissions

It’s true, and every brand has a litany of permissions. And brand permissions are invitations for the target audience to consider owning (our term for using) your brand.

They are all important.

Ideally, permission feels exclusive. It acts as a valuable passport permitting the target audience to enter the brand’s universe.

Based upon our anthropological experiences, we know that the idea of exclusivity attracts prospects/customers and glues existing customers to your brand.

repositioning brandsJust consider this one value— exclusivity for a moment. Believing something is exclusively yours is a sticky idea. Exclusive ownership creates attachments and makes to loss of a brand painful.

And what makes something feel exclusive changes frequently. Repositioning brands is how you make those adjustments.

So, we use these terms (brand repositioning) purposefully.

Because great, persuasive brands own valuable real estate. Think about it this way— every brand has a border wall. And that wall separates the brand from all competitors. (Read about brand strategy implementation here.)

brand repositioningThis wall allows the brand to be distinct. It demands the prospect make an emotional choice. As a result, well-constructed brands are both different and better than competitive offerings.

Not because of rational attributes. They feel different and better because of personal identification (like exclusivity, for example).

Repositioning brands is a means to clarify that difference. You reposition your brand to arise distinctly from the market clutter.

Brands become stale. Brand repositioning adds vigor

Brands becoming stale is a truth. So is a contraction of the brand’s life expectancy. Complacency kills. Change is the new normal. As a result, time compresses, and markets erupt. And sea changes are as common as high tides. Brands that are afraid of repositioning die. Repositioning brands change market dynamics.

repositioning brandsNo matter what people profess, they all cringe at the idea of change. Predictable things draw us in. And random things give us pause.

If you’re lucky, your competitors will hold on to the things they trust as static. It is, after all, human nature. Your ability to rise above human nature is a great predictor of success.

Marketers like you understand that competitive success is opportunity.

As a result, success breeds defensiveness when repositioning brands. Holding onto present success exceeds willingness to reevaluate. As a result, brands are afraid to mess much with success.

repositioning brandsWe’ve made all our bread and butter over the years precisely for this reason. Human beings fear change.  (read about our behavioral modeling here. It aids us in understanding human motivations) And wildly afraid of change when successful.

Repositioning brands the Stealing Share way

brand repositioningStealing Share is a rogue rebranding company. We are not for everyone because we challenge everything. All assumptions are fair game (read about our brand development process here). As a result, you might find us initially hard to work with. That’s OK. Your view will change over time.

Our clients come to appreciate our bluntness and recognize that they can trust us not to play political games. We have an outside-in perspective that allows us to be dispassionate in brand repositioning.

It is hard to view any market dispassionately. Especially your own. But repositioning brands demands it. Self-fulfilling assumptions ARE the enemy. As a result, truth and honesty are dyed-in-the-wool allies in brand repositioning.
Here is how we reposition brands:

Step 1

brand repositioningEvaluate the market dispassionately.

Don’t fear challenging assumptions. Markets change. Values shift. And truths morph. Stand in the shoes of the prospect and ask hard questions.

Questions like “Why should I care?” “Who am I trying to become?” “What emotional intensity moves me?” “What do I believe to be true?” Because the most influential brands are an active description (using an active voice) of the prospect’s emotional self-description defines — “Who am I WHEN I use the brand?” (Read about the brand anthropology here)

Step 2

Do your research. Field projectable research with prospects. Double-blinded research study with an acceptable margin of error.

brand repositioning

Repositioning brands requires understanding behavior that goes well beyond a standard Usage and Attitudinal study. Our in-house research group, Resultant Research, is close allies with us in repositioning brands.

Hopefully, your competitors rely on category data, self-selecting studies (like email or online research— or worse, focus groups).

We don’t do focus groups. And we don’t consider focus groups research. If nothing said in a focus group is projectable to the population, why conduct them?

repositioning brands

One-on-one qualitative interviews are more reliable ethnographically than a focus group. Just remember, the value of qualitative research is to create better questions in quantitative studies.

Qualitative research can’t illuminate a brand repositioning strategy. Only quantitative analysis can do that.

We demand research with 95% confidence, randomized and double-blinded.

Here is something we learned from our Resultant Research group—avoid open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions are encouraged by other research firms. And for a good reason. They have no idea what to ask. So, they leave that job to the respondents.

repositioning brands

Just consider this for a moment. When we repositioned New Belgium Beer some years back, they had existing research. One of the questions asked by their research company was, “Why do you prefer the brand of beer you drink?”

That sounds like a legitimate question to ask when you are trying to grow your market share. But the answer was expected and unactionable. Respondents did not know why they emotionally felt attached to the beer they drink,
which was the purpose of the study. They just said, “I like the taste.”

brand repositioning

You can see how that tells you nothing. Everyone likes the taste of their favorite beer. Can you imagine having a preferred beer and hating the taste?

Brand repositioning research must uncover more than that.

Recognize hidden motivations control purchase decisions. Open-ended questions encourage trite answers and clichés. We spend weeks creating the questionnaire because you get one chance to ask the right questions. We need to test ideas and feelings in Likert scales.

Successful brand repositioning has a foundation of emotional intensities. Brands that steal market share own the highest emotional intensity.

Step 3

brand repositioningKill sacred cows. Everything is on the table when repositioning brands to steal market share. Anything held as sacred transgresses Step 1

Here is something you may not have known. At Stealing Share, most brand repositioning keeps the original brand name. But not always.

Sometimes the brand name itself is a barrier to change. Be prepared to modify or change ANYTHING that is a barrier to behavior changes.

Color palette.


brand repositioningBrand name.




Brand promises.


What are you willing to do to win? Brands that are not growing are dying. They have reached maximum penetration. When winning is essential, challenge EVERYTHING.

Step 4

Modify brand identity in brand repositioning. Try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But sometimes, the bathwater is so filthy that the baby needs to go.

repositioning brands Repositioning brands is different from brand repair. Brand repositioning means creating greater relevance and importance.

Brand repair means the brand is a failure. Or the values associated with the brand are too out of date to update.

It is crucial that the brand demonstrate that something important has changed. Updating brand identity declares that. After all, that’s why thinking about brand repositioning in the first place.

Without changes to identity, brands must rely on massive marketing and advertising spends. Changes to identify identity markers that permit prospects to reevaluate the brand’s relevance are good options in repositioning brands.

Step 5

brand repositioningLock the logo with a brand theme. It is so simple to do so that we are amazed at how rarely this happens. Create a brand theme representing the highest emotional intensity and graphically lock that message with the logo.

Repositioning your brand demands that you make it easy to understand the position. Why make the prospect work had to understand the brand’s emotional relevance?

Don’t ask the prospect to remember the brand’s theme? Say it upfront and center. Never present the logo or mark without the brand theme. Never do it.

Step 6

Make the promise and permission accurate. Brand repositioning is your chance to rethink fundamentals.

brand repositioningWhen you reposition your brand, create product or service values that are important. Highlight the differences. Change internal culture to reflect the brand’s promise.

Always remember that the emotional highest intensity is more important than ANY product feature. When we reposition brands, we use the product features as a support point for the emotional intensity.

If you find that you have repositioned the brand without culture changes, you have fallen victim to self-fulfilling marketing.

Real change starts internally, and the culture must accept the repositioning as true.

Culture changes supporting the repositioned brand demonstrate that fact. We utilize two kinds of brand training the first module, and we train the employees on the nuances of brand repositioning. We need them to understand it and become excited over it. You can read about this sales training here.

The second module is for your sales folks. We get them excited and show them how to build a selling argument out of the entire brand repositioning. You can read about our sales training here.

Repositioning brands is constant progress

repositioning brandsBrand repositioning does not end. Success only makes the task harder. However, the market scape changes so rapidly that it is prudent to consider repositioning.

Think about it this way. Markets change quickly and often without warning. And competition is fierce. Because brands are living organisms, they require care and occasional pruning.

Brand repositioning is the fertilizer of success. But do it right, especially in these competitive times.

Keep any verified equities and keep the brand relevant. Be fearless and let no politics hold you back. Call us and we can talk about brand repositioning.