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Stories are rife of professional-services firms spending millions on a new logo that does little to enhance their standing or profile

least because of an increased demand from the public – and shareholders – for companies to be more ethically aware. Interbrand, the world’s leading brand

consultancy, publishes its top 100 brands every year, and practically every company on it will be instantly recognisable around the world. Sitting atop the pile for 2011, and not for the first time, was Coca-Cola. Admittedly, Coke has had its problems over the years, not least when it tried to rebrand itself as New Coke (see right). But in its review of Coca-Cola, Interbrand demonstrates why a good brand is so much more than its logo and product. “The Coca-Cola brand remains timeless yet

relevant as it celebrates its 125th anniversary,” it says. “The company lives, and its brand and the overall equity of happiness come through at every touchpoint. It continues to receive enormous exposure through top-tier sponsorships, with popular events like the FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Coca-Cola ties itself closely with meaningful promotions relating to disaster relief, youth empowerment, and sustainability issues around the globe. This past year also saw the rollout of its PlantBottle, a sustainable and recyclable bottle made partially of plant material, which saw Heinz adopt the technology for ketchup bottles.”

The local view Getting it right on a massive corporate scale is one thing, but what about when you’re operating from a relatively small jurisdiction? “It’s easy to talk about branding in terms of logo and advertising, but branding is as much about writing thought-leadership articles to demonstrate the will of the business as it is placing an advert in the local press,” says Emma Anderson. “And I would suggest there are a lot of businesses in the Channel Islands that see branding as almost a standalone thing, away from the business ethos.” Indeed, standing out in a market like the

Channel Islands is in some ways even more of a challenge. Ian Beresford is Head of Business Development at Collas Crill, the firm created

42 February/March 2012

out of a merger between Collas Day and Crill Canavan. It was his task, along with Marketing and Comms Manager Kate Kirk, to design a brand to both capture the new firm’s values and differentiate it from the crowd. “The legal market is incredibly generic, and

it’s a congested market in the Channel Islands, so you need to do something that gets you noticed,” he says. “Reputation is important, obviously, but for firms like ours, we wanted to offer something that stood us apart, and that’s where the visual branding came into play.” To that end Collas Crill has re-branded

and gone big on pink. So far the feedback has been positive, with the company making the shortlist for best brand strategy at the Jersey Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards – the only professional services firm to do so. Another Channel Island firm, wealth

managers Hawksford International, recently underwent a brand revamp using customer feedback. Rebecca Stannard runs marketing and comms at the firm, and commissioned the research to confirm whether a rebrand was needed, and to find out what it should cover. “Firstly we dropped the ‘International’ and

built everything on the feedback we received. It revealed people didn’t know what our full capabilities were – we weren’t communicating what we did well enough. Now we list all our services on all marketing material. And we built the brand image on people – not generic images of the sea, which you often see.” The Hawksford rebrand didn’t involve

radical and risky reimagining of its image in the way Skoda’s did. It was a fine-tuning of the firm’s existing values – playing up its capabilities while putting space between itself and the competition. For Hawksford, and indeed many other

similar firms engaged in rebranding, only time will tell how well it’s worked. But one thing is for certain: in this day and age, getting your branding right is more important than ever. n

CHRISTIAN DOHERTY is a freelance business writer

When a rebrand goes wrong

Few business decisions can have generated such a welter of publicity, analysis, comment and scorn as the fateful move by Coca-Cola to rebrand its most iconic product as New Coke. By the mid-1980s, Coke was being battered by brash new rival Pepsi, and was perceived as a staid, old-fashioned brand.

Incoming CEO Roberto Goizueta decided Coke needed to freshen up, and launched a new flavour under the banner New Coke in 1985. With enormous fanfare, the company declared it the drink of the future, and was convinced by the results of a taste test that gave the new formula a firm thumbs up.

But it turned out people didn’t want a new Coke: they wanted the old Coke. They soon told the company, which within three months had ditched the biggest revamp in its history and reintroduced the old formula and look.

Surprisingly, Goizueta survived. New Coke cans are now collectors’ items.

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