What’s The Difference?

So Woolworths has chosen to rebrand itself. They’ve got a new W and everything. See?

I don’t get it.

I mean, what’s changed about the brand? Wait. Let me finish.

What’s changed about Woolworths in a tangible, material way that will improve my brand experience?

Think it over. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

From where I’m sitting, not much. I was in a Woolworths store the other day and nothing had really changed. Prices still the same, product quality still the same, store still looks the same, bored-looking staff still the same… These aren’t bad things; they’re just the same as they were before.

For the record, I’m not hating on Woolworths alone. There are plenty of other brands out there that go though this exercise for no apparent or relevant reason: Pepsi, Pick ‘n Pay, Accenture/Andersen Consulting, Standard Bank, Markhams…oops, sorry Markham (because the “s” is so vital to how I think about the brand. Ha).

Rebranding means nothing if you don’t upgrade the brand experience. So if nothing’s really going to change, why bother changing anything at all? PS: don’t spin me all that guff about a philosophy change. Implement the philosophy first and show me it works. Then change the colour of your logo (which I don’t really care too much about anyway).

And we haven’t even discussed the cost of rebranding. Think about it: there’s the new logo (its design and development – although this was just one letter [W], so it couldn’t cost that much, right?), the new stationery layouts (letterheads, business cards etc), the new storefronts, the new website, the new advertising campaigns to introduce the new logo (both ATL and BTL) – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a whole bunch of other things.

For what?

All you’re doing is wasting money. And it’s monty that should be spent on finding ways to make your customers happier. Shiny new logos, snappy straplines and slick new advertising means absolutely nothing if the brand experience doesn’t change for the better.

Yes. I’m repeating myself. Hopefully, some of the thicker marketing managers out there will get the message the second time around.

And if you want to see just how badly rebranding can go wrong, click here (link opens in new window).


2 thoughts on “What’s The Difference?

  1. um.. dude.. sorry to burst this bubble, but inline with the rebranding they launched a new product/ credit card and changed their financers… Woolworths Black and they now are underwritten by ABSA…

    • Nope. You didn’t burst the bubble. In fact, that just raises another question: was it necessary to rebrand entirely just to to launch one new product? Like I said in the post: rebranding costs a whackload of money. Who’s picking up the bill?

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