4 Examples of Brand Repositioning Done Right

Brand Repositioning

By Julia Koh & Syira Junaidi
November 2019
What makes one brand different from another, even when both are in the same business? How is McDonald’s different from Burger King? Nescafe from Old Town White Coffee? Or Cadbury from Mars Bars?
The answer is; brand positioning.
Brand positioning states where your brand stands in the market and among competitors. It allows you to have a unique stance to what makes your brand different and interesting. But after a few years, there might be a need to relook at your brand positioning and strategy. This is because the industry may have changed, your business may have changed and your customers would have most certainly grown up and matured.
Don’t think it’s bad to reposition. Just take a look at these famous brands who repositioned themselves to adapt to customer perception and gained greater competitive advantages.
  1. McDonald’s

    Yes, even the biggest fast-food chain in the world isn’t exempt from brand repositioning. The year was 2000, and conversation about health awareness are getting louder among both consumers and the media. McDonald’s was the poster boy (or clown) for the global obesity epidemic. Being perceived as an unhealthy brand, sales started to slow and this was bad news for McDonald’s and its brand image.

    After intense repositioning campaigns, McDonald’s changed its ways and its menu. There are now healthier options such as extra lettuce and corn. The brand also changed its position from a family or kids-oriented restaurant to an urban social space for young adults. McDonald’s retired their mascots (remember that purple monster thing?) and changed the layout of their restaurants to look more like a coworking space than a rowdy family restaurant.

    In addition to a marketing strategy that speaks to young adults, McDonald’s, especially in Malaysia, has made a comeback as the staple fast-food in the country.

  2. Nescafe

    Nescafe had been caffeinating generations of people around the world as one of Nestle’s most successful brands. However in Malaysia and other Asia Pacific countries, Nescafe was seeing a slow growth in sales and brand recognition amidst growing competition with other brands, such as Old Town White Coffee and other local brands.

    For the past few years, Nescafe repositioned itself from a mature (read; boring) coffee brand to a more vibrant and fun look. Rather than targeting coffee enthusiasts (read; addicts), Nescafe shifts its target to casual drinkers who prefer sweeter flavours. The brand even explicitly targets non-coffee drinkers with its Latte Caramel premixed coffee.

    This new position opens up Nescafe to new market and new product ranges. They can now offer exciting flavours like coconut, jasmine peach and rose.

  3. Haier

    Haier had struggled to come out as more than ‘Made In China’. Since its inception in 1984, the home appliances brand had to battle doubts among its global customers of its quality assurance. So Haier started to build that brand trust, focusing on quality and customer care.

    In time, Haier became a renowned global brand with a robust brand image. Haier repositioned itself as a lifestyle brand for the world, and not just an electronics brand from China. Today, it is one of the strongest brands in Asia and the world, owning GE and Sanyo. ‘Made in China’ now carries with it a whole new meaning, and may even have a cool brand association.

  4. Cadbury

    Cadbury is another global brand and an industry veteran. In Malaysia, it’s a household name recognised by all and synonymous with chocolate bars. But that doesn’t spare the brand from sluggish sales and immense competition. In 2014, there was a growing concern among Muslim consumers about their halal certification. Cadbury Malaysia had to start a campaign to assure consumers that they were indeed halal-certified.

    In recent years, Cadbury had freshened up its brand with new flavours and packaging. It had also repositioned itself from a joy-loving brand to a kind and generous brand. Cadbury encourages sharing and gift-giving using their campaign #MakeSomethingGoodHappen. In short, we can say that Cadbury switched from being an Innocent brand to a Caregiver brand.

In Conclusion

So, there you go. Brand repositioning is something a lot of brands do to stay relevant and competitive. If your brand image is suffering, brand awareness and reception are low, or you simply struggle to keep up in the market, then it could be time to rethink where you stand in the minds of customers.