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When you need to reposition your business brand

Repositioning, it’s not about moving your location, it’s about changing perception…

If you run a business for any length of time, you’ll recognise there are times that what seemed to be working well one year, will not necessarily work for you the next.

Where you ‘position’ yourself as a business and communicating that positioning accurately can be vital to business success and longevity.

Your customers’ attitudes to your offering are always moving, as is the marketplace, and it’s the case sometimes that perception of your business can change over time.

Positioning, in simple terms is where you sit in the marketplace perceptually, so basically what customers think of you and where they position your offering in their minds, their ‘Evoked Set’ against their other options.

If you don’t manage how your brand is perceived, you can fall out of favour with customers, usually seen by a reduction in sales, as other competitors tempt them away.

Your brand creates an association in the minds of customers, so for example, if we think Harrods, we think high-end, pedigree and luxury.

Think Primark, and you associate with low prices and a no-frills retail experience.

Neither positioning strategy is right or wrong, but both are controlled carefully to maximise sales from their respective TARGET audiences.

If you find that your current positioning is losing you business because it doesn’t accurately convey what your brand is about, or where you’d LIKE to be. It may be time to reposition your business.

One of the most famous repositioning exercises has been with car manufacturer Skoda, a brand once ridiculed throughout the eighties and nineties and seen as a joke by many.

Back in 1991, Skoda sold only 172,000 cars worldwide. The same year it was bought by Volkswagen.

Jump forward to 2017, the Volkswagen Group sold 937,000 vehicles under its Skoda brand, outperforming other brands in the Volkswagen hierarchy.

Rebranding, clever messaging and not least, value for money have made the Skoda brand a completely different proposition in the minds of today’s consumer.

How do you reposition your business brand?

Changing embedded perceptions of an existing business can be difficult. Much more so than deciding on your positioning when starting a new business.

Repositioning can sometimes be a slow process, as it means potentially changes to many areas.

One of the first questions is Where are we now and where do we want to be?

So, let’s say you want to increase your prices for your products or services, you want to attract higher paying customers to increase revenues and profit.

The important thing here is that to achieve this successfully, customers will have to see clear evidence of WHY? they should pay more for what you offer.

So, repositioning is not just an aesthetic exercise, although it often will coincide with a re-brand to mark the new positioning and change in direction.

A strategic intention decision will consider a range of factors, typically listed below:

- Situational analysis, what are we doing now? what’s working or not working, and why do we need to change?

- Does our business model support the repositioning of our brand; will it be viable and increase sales?

- What are the risks associated with it, how will we mitigate these?

- What structural changes will be needed to support the change, do we have the resources?

- Is external investment required and if so, how much?

- How will success of our repositioning be measured?

A hypothetical example of a repositioning strategy may be in the marketing agency sector, where an ad agency has naturally evolved, and wants now to be seen as a more ‘Integrated communications agency’, so doing more than the regular telly and radio ads, offering a broader spectrum of services to include social media, video production and direct marketing.

It decides on the services and products this will incorporate, and the pricing to ensure high profitability for their premium ‘positioned’ service.

It decides to review its strapline to one that incorporates this new positioning. It alters the imagery on visual communications, changes messaging and adds new relevant pages and content to its website and printed comms.

The new business team are tasked with developing this business to both existing and new clients, PR communications now focus on this new offering, putting case studies in the marketing press.

Internally, new account managers, designers and admin are employed to manage the business and ensure the brand promise is delivered, and the transition in focus is made smoothly.

Over time, the new positioning is accepted by all stakeholders, therefore giving the agency a much wider future revenue opportunity.

To reposition your business brand, you may need an external viewpoint. It can be difficult to analyse your own positioning, being so close to your own business.

For any repositioning strategy it’s a good idea to counsel trusted friends, colleagues and associates, to get feedback on your ideas, at an early stage.

As with our Marketing Agency scenario above, the first process is research and evaluation. Deciding what direction is best for your business?

Sometimes, the move is a downward one, in terms of positioning, when a business decides its current perception is putting customers off, because they are seen as being too expensive and a better strategy will be to sell cheaper and increase sales volume, whilst maintaining a decent profit.

The decisions made at the conceptual stage of a repositioning strategy are very important, as there is nothing worse than the damage inflicted by a repositioning attempt, that is then retracted leaving red faces and customer confusion.

Another important note on repositioning strategy is authenticity. It can be tempting sometimes to try to skew your business offer to something that is ‘not you’.

This often results when you are persuaded by others, or you benchmark competitors and think you should emulate what they are doing and ‘be more like them’ when actually, their stance and personality are not a match with yours.

Your positioning as a business brand is vitally important and should feel right for you. If you are in any doubt as to your decision, then take time and seek counsel to your rationale before your changes are actualised.

repositioning your business brand can be a much-needed boost and gives you a fresh focus on your direction and future aspirations, as well as being creatively very rewarding, the first few months of the year are a great time to kick off the project.

Want to discuss where your company brand sits in the market and how it can be improved? Call Phil Ashforth on 01772 378 330 or email

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