How to Develop A Brand Repositioning Strategy in Malaysia (Including 4 Brand Examples)

Brand Repositioning Strategy in Malaysia

What is A Brand Repositioning Strategy?

Brand repositioning strategy.

That’s a big word – A big word stuffed with lots of jargon.

So, let’s keep it simple. I’ll break it down into something more digestible for you.

Basically, it’s a strategy that happens when you make a shift away from your initial brand positioning.

This usually occurs when you want to change the way your audience currently thinks or feels about your brand.

Right now, you’re probably wondering: “isn’t brand repositioning just some cheap sales gimmick?”

No, it isn’t. Like a brand positioning strategy, repositioning is about influencing the minds of your consumers.

In fact, a brand repositioning strategy gives businesses a more competitive edge in the marketplace. What is a competitive edge?

An edge to reshape your consumer’s current perceptions, thoughts, and ideas so that they’ll associate new desirable traits with your brand.

That’s brand repositioning.

Are you ready to become a hero in your marketplace? If so, this article is specially written for you. Let’s continue.

The Importance of A Brand Repositioning Strategy

Here’s a question: What’s the easiest way to get somebody else’s attention?

There’s no right or wrong answers to this question. Just something for you to think about.

For me, I think that being unique, different, and individualistic is the easiest way to catch a person’s attention, especially for strangers.

I’ll explain why being different is the best way to grab someone’s attention.

As of 31st December 2019, SSM reported there are 1,340,024 local companies and 4,882 foreign companies in Malaysia.

That’s a lot of competition in the Malaysian market!

If your brand doesn’t stand out, it will look like every other mediocre brand in the market. This doesn’t give consumers a reason to choose you over others.

That’s why brand repositioning is important. It gives you a chance to iron out any weaknesses in your initial brand positioning strategy.

More importantly, it gives your customers a renewed perception of your brand. If done right, this will give your brand a competitive edge over your competitors.

How Do You Know Whether You Should Reposition Your Brand?

Do your customers perceive your brand as old, tired and weary?

If they do, it shows that your brand lacks vitality. So, it’s time for an upgrade.

Being perceived as old and tired is not a good thing. In fact, it’s a huge red flag that you should start repositioning your brand.

Why do I say so? Let me give you an example.

Remember that American company, Old Spice?

If you’re not familiar, Old Spice ruled the market for men’s grooming products since it started in 1937.

However, in the mid-seventies, Old Spice failed to cater to contemporary tastes because it was associated as a product used by elderly men.

So, what happened to Old Spice when consumers started seeing it as an irrelevant brand?

Here’s what happened: Old Spice suffered in reduced sales and loss of leadership status in the marketplace.

Fortunately, later when Procter & Gamble acquired Old Spice, it implemented a brand repositioning strategy that eventually saved the company.

Since then, Old Spice shook off its musty old image, and focused its new positioning on portraying itself as a male power brand for a younger demographic: young men.

Want to feel inspired?

Check out their famous 2010 video ad, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”, below:

Other common circumstances you should start considering a brand repositioning strategy include situations when:

  1. You want to attract a new group of target audience
  2. You have updated your goods or services
  3. You want to compete more effectively with other brands
  4. Your competitors repositioned your brand in a negative light
  5. You’re experiencing a decrease in sales
  6. You want to renew your customer’s perception of your brand

Don’t make the common mistake of neglecting these important factors.

Businesses often ask how and why they should do a brand repositioning strategy. But most fail to ask when is the right time they should be doing it.

Brand Repositioning Process


Think of a purple elephant.

Now, try not to think of a purple elephant.

Gotcha! You’re thinking about the purple elephant now, aren’t you?

Punchline: it’s extremely hard to unlearn something, especially when it has already entered your mind.

The same goes for creating a brand repositioning strategy. It is a much more detailed process than the initial positioning of the brand. Why?

Because, like the elephant analogy, you must first help the consumer unlearn something about your brand.

That is a hard thing to do – but not impossible. That’s why we’re here to help. 🙂

So, let’s get into the brand repositioning process in detail.

The brand repositioning process is similar to a brand positioning strategy. However, it has a different starting point.

Brand positioning is about creating a new position where initially, there wasn’t any at all in the first place.

On the other hand, a brand repositioning strategy focuses on altering the consumer’s perception of the established brand to improve competitiveness.

So, let’s delve into a few basic steps to kickstart your brand repositioning process:

  1. What is Your Current Brand Position?

    Begin by understanding and analysing your current brand position in the market.

    Have you already done that?

    If you haven’t, you can start evaluating your current brand position by asking two questions.

    Is your brand just another item in the marketplace? Or is it something different and unique that would attract consumers to buy?

    The goal is to position your brand under the second question.

    Here are some practical steps I’ve thought of to help you achieve this goal:

    • Conduct target audience research.
    • Collect customer feedback on your brand.
    • Ask your customers which products they considered before buying yours.
    • Consider consulting with your local Brand Agency.
    • After carrying out these steps, you’re ready for Step 2 of your brand repositioning strategy!

  2. Identify & Research Your Competitors

    You’ll need to know who you’re up against. This step alone is an extremely delicate process. Why?

    It’s because this research will help you decide how to gain a competitive edge over the competition.

    Neglecting this step in your brand repositioning strategy is like walking lost in the forest without a compass.

    Here are some ideas to assist you in your competitor research.

    • Consider these points when researching your competitors:
      • Price;
      • Product quality;
      • Product features;
      • Competitors’ customer profiles; and
      • Consumer buying trends
    • Monitor and stay updated with what your competitors are doing:
      • What products do your competitors offer?
      • What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
      • What successful marketing strategies are your competitors using?
      • What is your competitor’s current position in the marketplace?
    • Bonus: Google Alerts is a useful monitoring tool to track daily news and updates to know what your competitors are doing.

  3. What Makes Your Brand Unique?

    The aim of this step is to create a shift away from your previous brand positioning strategy.

    You want your customers to think differently about your brand.

    But, maybe right now you’re thinking: “The Malaysian market is already so saturated. There’s no way I’m going to stand out!”

    I’ll introduce a secret weapon to you (which isn’t very secret after all).

    In fact, you may have already heard about this weapon before, but didn’t realise its significance.

    Secret Weapon: align your brand values or brand promise to your customer’s values.

    In other words, you authentically give your audience what they want. Think about how you can contribute or add value to their lives.

    Be customer-centric.

    Pick one of these ideas below, and decide how you can tailor these ideas in a customer-centric way:

    • Your Purpose, Passion, and Story

      You have a unique story.

      How you started your company is different from your competition. How you created your product is different from your competitors.

      Your story is not the same as everyone else’s. So, bring out elements in your story that are aligned with your customer’s values.

    • What benefits do your consumers reap from your products?

      You can do this by meeting an unmet need, or delivering a desired experience. Brand positioning helps you stand out by amplifying how different you are.

      But in today’s market, it’s not enough to create distinctive characteristics. Your products must also be beneficial to your customers. This means you must be able to deliver on your brand promise.

    • Choose an Aspect No-one Talks About.

      Make a list of features about your brand and product. In that list, you will surely find a few features that your competitors are not talking about.

      The most successful brands do not only have a strong emotional connection with their customers, but they also provide their customers with a strong rational advantage for choosing them over their competitors.

  4. Create A Brand Positioning Statement

    Brand positioning statements are often confused with slogans or taglines. So, what exactly is a brand positioning statement then?

    Well, it is a statement that outlines what your company does, and what makes you different from your competitors.

    In this step, your job is to package all the information you’ve gathered from the steps above into a brand positioning statement.

    This positioning statement is only created for internal use.

    Needless to say, your new positioning statement has to be different from your current statement.

    The key to writing a killer statement is to focus on your benefit and how it resolves your audience’s needs.

  5. Test Your Brand Positioning Statement

    Creating a repositioning statement is only the beginning.

    In this step, you must test your statement by gathering feedback from your customers. If you’re not going to test it, you’re betting on a very risky game.

    You do this step by assessing whether your brand repositioning strategy has achieved its primary goals and objectives.

    For instance, you can ask yourself if the statement is memorable and whether your statement is focused on your target audience.

    As you gather more feedback from people who are most like your target audience, identify if there are any improvements that can be made to achieve the desired results.

    If you are still dissatisfied with the results, it’s good to leave your positioning statement for now and revisit it again after a certain lapse of time, maybe after a week.

    This allows your mind to synthesise the statement with a fresh perspective, and improve upon what you’ve written with better ideas.

    With that said, this wraps up the final step of your brand repositioning strategy!

Case Study: Successful Brand Repositioning Examples

Food for thought: How is McDonald’s different from Burger King? Nescafe from Old Town White Coffee? Or Cadbury from Mars Bars?

If you’ve thought about these questions before, and want to know the answers, then you’re in the right place.

Here, we’ve compiled four successful brand repositioning examples to help you with your analysis.

Remember, don’t think that it’s a bad thing to reposition your brand.

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, you heard right.

    Even the biggest fast-food chain in the world carried out a brand repositioning strategy.

    In the year 2000, conversations about health awareness were getting louder among consumers and the media. McDonald’s was the poster boy (or clown) for the global obesity epidemic.

    It was perceived as an unhealthy brand. Its sales started to slow down, which became bad news for its business and brand image.

    After doing some 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 into an urban social space for young adults.

    McDonald’s also 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. This new marketing strategy was a huge success among young adults.

    Since then, McDonald’s, made a comeback as the preferred fast food, especially where young adults can hang out.

  2. Nescafe

    For years, Nescafe was seen as one of Nestle’s most successful brands.

    However, in Malaysia and other Asia Pacific countries, Nescafe experienced a slow growth in sales and brand recognition.

    This was because of the growing competition among other brands, such as Old Town White Coffee and other local brands.

    To resolve this problem, Nescafe repositioned itself from being a mature and boring coffee brand to one that has a vibrant and fun look.

    Rather than targeting coffee addicts and enthusiasts, Nescafe shifted its target to casual drinkers who prefered sweeter flavours.

    The brand even targeted non-coffee drinkers with its Latte Caramel premixed coffee.

    This brand repositioning strategy opened doors for Nescafe to new markets and new product ranges. They can now reach a wider target audience by offering more exciting flavours like coconut, jasmine, peach and rose.

  3. Haier

    Haier struggled to come out as more than: ‘Made In China’. This negative label was bad for its brand image.

    Since its inception in 1984, this home appliances brand has been battling doubts among global customers of its quality assurance.

    To tackle this problem, Haier started to build brand trust with consumers by focusing on quality and customer care.

    It repositioned itself as a lifestyle brand for the world, and not just an electronics brand from China. In time, it became a renowned global brand donning a fresh and new brand image.

    Today, Haier is one of the strongest brands in Asia and the world, owning GE and Sanyo. Haier redefined the meaning of ‘Made in China’, and perhaps even made it 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 which is famous for selling chocolate bars. But still, even this huge brand suffered from slow sales and immense competition.

    In 2014, there was a growing concern among Muslim consumers about Cadbury’s halal certification.

    As such, Cadbury Malaysia had to start a campaign to assure consumers that they were indeed halal-certified.

    To address this problem, Cadbury refreshed its brand with new flavours and packaging. It also repositioned itself from a joy-loving brand to a kind and generous brand.

    Cadbury encourages sharing and gift-giving using their campaign

    In short, Cadbury switched its brand personality from being an Innocent brand to a Caregiver brand.

    This amazing success from Cadbury summarises the wonders of what a good brand repositioning strategy can do for your business.

In Conclusion

That’s a wrap!

We’ve written all you need to know about creating a brand repositioning strategy.

If your brand image is struggling, or if you’re finding it hard to keep up with market trends, then it could be time to rethink where you stand in the minds of customers. Best of all, we can help you with that.

If you’re interested to gain that competitive edge over your competitors, you can click this link to reach out to us for a chat today.