Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Brands Rebuild, Reengage and Refine the Ordinary

It seems like every week a new brand hits the spotlight for making a critical error that sheds a less than flattering light, announcements of new innovations that will set brands apart and endless social, mobile, and digital opportunities that brands jump on to gain an edge on the competition. Brands face heavy criticism in traditional and social media, putting the pressure on several companies to up the ante and revamp a grim brand image.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore the intrinsic elements necessary to rebuild a brand and some crucial dos and don’ts that can save a brand from entering the darkness of irrelevance. We will also discuss how three brands have forged new paths in the social and mobile space in attempts to internally reinvigorate brand image and stand apart from the competition.

How to Tell if Your Rebranding Is a House of Cards (Fast Company)

No matter the size or scope of a company, rebranding usually comes with its own set of challenges. Aside from the need to make your brand look attractive to customers, it is equally as important to remember foundational elements that will ensure enduring success. Fast Company’s Drew Neisser caught up with AMN Healthcare’s Wendy Newman and CooperVision’s Lisa Fawcett, and discussed how they rebuilt their respective brands from the ground up. Newman and Fawcett offer ways to tell whether your brand is being rebuilt on a strong foundation or ready to fall like a house of cards. Here are a few signs that your rebranding process may not succeed:

  1. Our rebranding started and ended with a new logo. Fawcett explains that a brand is much more than just visual expression. While a logo is considered a staple of any brand, she recommends putting this step on the backburner and focusing on elements like company values and purpose.
  2. The whole rebranding process was a snap. Newman says that the rebranding process is in no way an easy overnight creation. Take your time, do your research, and make sure you connect with the key players in this process: employees, customers and other stakeholders.
  3. We did the whole thing in-house to save money. Doing an entire rebranding project in-house can actually end up costing the company, says Newman. In-house jobs can lack fresh perspective and best practices necessary to build an enduring brand.

12 Moves That Will Destroy or Deteriorate Your Brand (Ragan.com)

While brands make tough decisions daily, impacting how well they thrive, Ragan’s Amy McCloskey Tobin offered some signature moves for brands to avoid if they don’t want to face deterioration in the near future. Here are a few red flags:

  1. No logo. Companies must commit to a logo in order to build an identity and increase market recognition.
  2. No brand imaging. Consistency in company font and layout for important documents and publications is a must. It’s important that you align your front end collateral so you don’t come across unorganized or unsettled.
  3. Lack of a corporate voice. Showcase your company personality so that customers and other stakeholders find it easy to relate to you. It is also important to ensure that employees are conveying this personality across all external interactions.

HTC: Here’s How We’re Going to Get Back Into the Game (CNET)

HTC is reintroducing itself to the smartphone business, attempting to distribute bolder messaging to consumers and the media, to establish less joint marketing initiatives and to distinguish themselves as a more independent company in a reinvigorated attempt to tell the HTC story. CNET’s Roger Cheng sat down with HTC’s head of sales and marketing Jason MacKenzie who said that HTC’s turnaround will be based largely “on its One franchise of flagship smartphone, a renewed presence in Windows Phone 8 and further expansion into key markets such as China and India.” HTC faces challenges similar to a number of other smartphone companies, including Nokia and Research in Motion. As HTC works hard to be widely recognized as a rising mobile force in U.S. markets again, the company has plans that may help set it apart faster in newer mobile markets in China and India.

Empowering Employee Advocates with @HiltonSuggests (Edelman Digital)

How is Hilton revving up its brand image? Simple! By reconnecting with their staff and providing a social channel, employees can now be part of the engagement process. Edelman made two observations about Hilton Worldwide guests both on-property and online that led to development of impressive employee engagement that would better serve guests and empower employee advocates.

They first observed that Hilton Worldwide guests ask the front desk or concierge for local restaurant and sightseeing recommendations. The second observation was that people on Twitter also ask about where to go and what to see while in a particular city. Edelman connected these two observations and created @HiltonSuggests to engage a larger community and increase employee-customer interaction. In retaining brand authenticity, Hilton selected employees in key market as the representative voice for each respective location. Edelman Digital’s Vanessa Sain-Dieguez offers some great examples of customer tweets and the follow-up answers from @HiltonSuggests.

Are You Refined Enough to Be a Fan of Grey Poupon’s Facebook Page? (AdvertisingAge)

Grey Poupon mustard launched a Facebook campaign which aimed to mark the brand as exclusive. While some brands are looking to have as many fans as they can get, Grey Poupon is looking to refine their list by asking fans to apply for membership to the “Society of Good Taste” via the Grey Poupon Facebook page. The brand is using an algorithm to determine whether fans who apply actually “cut the mustard.” Grey Poupon is forging a new social media path by taking a cue from past. We all remember the “Pardon Me” spot from 1988 that oozed refinement, from the grammar used to the etiquette exhibited by the two wealthy gents. Facebook users and Grey Poupon fans might want to refine their personal pages before applying to the “Society of Good Taste.”

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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