What Matthew McConaughey Can Teach Us About Rebranding

Mar 4 2014, 5:24pm CST | by

Matthew McConaughey spent most of the 1990s and the 2000s appearing in forgettable, formulaic movies that didn’t require much acting. He was frequently cast in vacuous romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner and Failure To Launch, which were panned by the critics. McConaughey, in fact, was known more for being named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2005 than for his acting ability.

After taking a hiatus from film-making, McConaughey made an important decision about his career three years ago. He decided to break away from romantic comedies in favor of small, independent films and more challenging, dramatic roles.

In other words, he decided to rebrand. That led to roles in a string of movies for which he received considerable critical acclaim. Movies like Magic Mike, Bernie, Killer Joe, and Mud. And, of course, last year he gave the performance of a lifetime in the movie Dallas Buyers Club. The film received wide critical acclaim and has earned McConaughey a well deserved Oscar this week.

McConaughey’s transformation can be explained by one factor: age. At 44 he realized that he couldn’t play the lead in romantic comedies for that much longer and he needed to rebrand himself as a serious actor.

There are many reasons for companies and services to rebrand: when there is a change in the customer base; when the brand proposition is no longer relevant; or when a competitor disrupts the market. Indeed, rebranding can take place in different shapes and forms.

Target has rebranded in order to differentiate itself. It was seen as just another discount retailer, indistinguishable from Wal-Mart and K-Mart. By offering knock off versions of designer merchandise from Issac Mizrahi, Michael Graves, and Philippe Starck, Target began to stand out from its competitors with higher-end items at low prices.

Target became known as “Tahr-zjay”, with a faux-French accent – a more upscale mass merchandiser that appealed to a ritzier clientele.

Old Spice rebranded itself by changing their customer experience on social media. The 70-year-old brand’s ad campaign generated tens of millions of online views and became a viral sensation. A clever ad and smart use of social media produced a fresh, youthful identity.

In 1997, Apple was veering dangerously close to bankruptcy. Nearly 17 years later, its stock prices have gone from $6 to $530 and the company is stronger than ever. What has changed? Apple rebranded itself from a desktop computing manufacturer to a juggernaut of technological innovation and creativity by introducing remarkable and elegantly designed products such as the iMac, iPhone, iPods, and iPods. It created a well articulated experience of the brand.

Two decades ago, branding was a lot simpler than it is today. There were no social networks or camera phones. In short, there were fewer mechanisms that impacted public perception of a business. Consumers were held captive to whatever a business owner wanted to say about his or her product or service.

In a static marketplace a brand’s position could be perpetuated for many years without change. Not so now. As consumers exert more influence and the marketplace is becoming more dynamic, erratic even, rebranding is not only to be expected, but essential. Relevancy is a brand’s currency, but it constantly needs to be recalibrated, otherwise a popular brand can be rejected by its customers overnight. How a business is branded and perceived by the general public is no longer solely up to the business owner. What people say about you is as important as any high-priced branding campaign or catchy tagline. This dynamic can either help or hurt your brand and brand perception.

Anyway you slice it, rebranding is an extremely important marketing option today, whether to seize an opportunity or thwart potential threats.

Avi Dan is a marketing consultant that specialize in agency search and compensation, and client/agency relationships


Source: Forbes Apple


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