Rebrand, blamed for falling profits, may have worked

So, Consignia is to rebrand (or should that be ‘re-re-brand’? Or maybe even ‘de-brand’?). For many outside the branding world, hindsight will reveal that the brand was always likely to fail. For many in the industry however, foresight told us exactly the same thing.

To begin with, did the old name really need changing? As an old nation, the fact that we have a huge number of ‘old’ brands is somewhat inevitable.

But an old brand isn’t necessarily an outdated brand. Royal Mail’s brand equity was enormous. OK, the name didn’t reflect the breadth of activities that the company engaged in, neither did it reflect today’s electronic age.

But sometimes the strength of the brand needs to outweigh such considerations. Besides, who believed that the name Consignia conferred these values any more clearly?

The harsher critics might opine that a new corporate name apparently created using a random name generator is destined to failure.

The more generous might say that, ironically, if this is the approach taken, the only way of succeeding is to be patient.

As a brand, Consignia could have won people over eventually. Let’s not forget that customers don’t lose their affections for household names overnight. But that long-term courage disappeared in proportion to Consignia’s profits. If chairman Allan Leighton does any bedtime reading to cheer himself, he could do worse than Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2: What’s in a name?

Michael Peters

Chairman and managing director

The Identica Partnership

London W11

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