Proteus B2B is a marketing consulting firm specializing in repositioning B2B companies and their brands through positioning strategy, content marketing, B2B social media, B2B SEO, and B2B email marketing

Rebranding versus Repositioning

Many companies (and ad agencies, for that matter) confuse rebranding with repositioning, using the terms “rebranding” and “repositioning” interchangeably. Knowing the difference between rebranding and repositioning and which one you need is often the difference between success and failure.

While rebranding—the development of a new brand image—is often an important part of successful repositioning, by itself, rebranding generally represents cosmetic changes.

And while rebranding often works in the world of packaged goods, without underlying change, rebranding alone rarely works in business-to-business marketing. That’s because business-to-business marketing isn’t driven by 30-second commercials, merchandising, and package design. Business-to-business marketing is driven by relationships and actions.

If you’re a business-to-business company and you engage an ad agency for rebranding, they’ll probably do great work, and you’ll feel really good about your new image. Unfortunately, many people get lulled into thinking rebranding is going to solve their problems and make prospects want to buy their stuff. It rarely turns out that way; putting fancier wrapping and ribbons on the same gift doesn’t change the way people perceive the gift itself.

There are some cases in which rebranding is the only thing needed to reposition a business-to-business company or brand, however, these cases are rare. They happen when the company or brand already has strong, relevant differentiation, is currently doing everything right, and the sole purpose of rebranding is to more persuasively reflect what it is already doing.

Rebranding often plays a role in repositioning, but it’s later in the repositioning process—and never before clearly identifying the optimal postitioning and determining the brand strategy.

Repositioning goes deeper than rebranding. Repositioning involves identifying the right markets and the right positioning. Determining the right moves to establish the company or brand as a market leader. Aligning staff members. Refining and aligning product and service offerings. Identifying, introducing, and integrating new practices that deliver the brand and drive differentiation. And lastly, making sure that marketing communications vehicles support the desired position in the marketplace.

While rebranding is often a valid and valuable part of repositioning, rebranding is most often about the wrapping. Repositioning is about making sure the gift is as good as the wrapping and ribbons. So before you spend a bunch of money on wrapping and ribbons, think about whether that’s really where the problem really lies.

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About Proteus B2B Marketing

Proteus B2B is a marketing consulting firm specializing in repositioning business-to-business companies and their brands. We help companies identify and migrate to positions of market leadership where their brands have few credible substitutes in the marketplace.