Revitalising your Brand Profitably

Richard Warren

Revitalising brands is big news. The world is currently watching to see whether the likes of Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer, WH Smith and Boots can revitalise their businesses. Much current venture capital and private equity activity involves the purchase and attempted revitalisation of underperforming brands. Burger King, Debenhams, Weetabix, Typhoo, BHS, Topshop and Homebase are all examples not just of strategies for more cost efficient operations but for brand revitalisation.

Revitalisations are big business because, if successful, they can generate far faster and greater returns than the launch of new brands. Existing brands have existing customer franchises, distribution and consumer goodwill. Revitalising equities can pay back fast.

The term 'brand revitalisation' covers a multitude of sins, however. Some use it denote a change of ad campaign or imagery, some to describe more profound product or service surgery. More recently, 'root and branch' rebranding has also come to fit the description. This is arguably a response to the industry's growing suspicion that – in today's world of communications literacy and multiple consumer touchpoints – surface revitalisation is not enough, except in the most image-led, ad-led of categories.