In the last few years, we have written a series of articles analysing the most instructive rebranding case studies, including stories such as:
– Tropicana changing its iconic packaging and Netflix’s attempt to separate and rebrand its DVD rental service (part 4)
– Bell Atlantic and GTE becoming Verizon, and Lucky GoldStar becoming LG (part 3)
– Norwich Union and CGU creating Aviva, and Airbnb changing its visual identity (part 2)
– Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester rebranding to Santander, and a spin-off from Arthur Andersen becoming Accenture (part 1).
This article starts a new series focusing on repositioning examples that show how various brands have either achieved success or failed commercially as a result of redefining their brand territory.
The two brands we are showcasing today are GoPro and Lurpak.
After many successful years, GoPro’s growth slowed down due to the fact that the niche the company was targeting was relatively narrow. Most of the people who were interested in buying GoPro products already had them and were disinclined to upgrade to newer models, as older-generation products were still of satisfactory quality. The company, in order to continue to grow, made three detrimental business decisions designed to reposition the brand and expand its user base. The results of the new approach led to the brand’s decline. However, it’s still disputable whether the strategy itself was wrong or its implementation was too hurried.
The first decision was to widen GoPro’s target audience to attract more regular consumers. The company attempted to convince them that using GoPro products in everyday situations, instead of smartphone cameras, would enable them to be more present in the moment. This strategy never worked, although it didn’t harm the business as much as the other two decisions.
The second idea that GoPro implemented sought to expand its range of products. The company launched the Karma series of video drones while announcing that it had started conducting virtual reality trials. As the drones experienced major technical problems (they were prone to fall from the air), GoPro discontinued their production.
The third decision which turned out to be the most damaging to the business was to transform GoPro into a media company. As GoPro cameras allowed their users to create a large amount of unique video footage, the company, similar to Red Bull, became a content outlet, with “shareability” as one of its key objectives. GoPro invested a lot of money in developing more than 30 of its own series and launching a streaming platform, but none of these was officially launched as the company started having problems with its core business (mainly because resources were moved from it to the other GoPro endeavours). As a result of worsening commercial results, GoPro shares lost more than 90% of their value in just a few years. Nick Woodman explained to Inc. the reasons why the new approach failed: “The teams were killing themselves to launch the products on time. We were doing too many things, and it was taking too long to make decisions because management was juggling too many projects at once.”
What’s the key lesson?
Be careful when diversifying and protect your resources; entering new categories is always a risky endeavour and, while a recognizable brand name can help, sometimes it’s just not enough to achieve success.
The success of the Lurpak brand on the British market is largely down to its effective positioning and the creative work, which has been developed by Wieden+Kennedy London, since 2007. The core of Lurpak’s brand strategy lies in positioning it as “a champion of good food” and targeting so called “gourmet foodies” – people who like cooking at home and enjoy doing everything from scratch. This strategy doesn’t make Lurpak butter the main hero of the communication but focuses on its transformative power and places a stronger emphasis on a great food one can prepare or serve with it. Lurpak’s positioning and its execution have been so effective in the UK that they have also been adopted by the brand globally.
Lurpak’s communication and in particular its TV campaigns are widely believed to be a benchmark of what good food advertising should look like. They present cooking as a creative and almost magical process, in which with a little help of Lurpak and the special powers of the cook, the ordinary can be transformed into something extraordinary. It is also worth noting that despite the healthy lifestyle trends, the food shown in Lurpak’s communication is chosen to look delicious more than anything else. Bacon, cookies, pancakes and toasts are much more likely to appear in the brand’s advertisements than, for example, broccoli. Lurpak’s champion of good food positioning was captured in the tagline, “Good Food Deserves Lurpak”.
What’s the key lesson?
Sometimes your brand can be better off if you don’t make it the hero but accept the fact that its role is that of an enhancer.
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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.
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