Monday, August 4, 2008

CHANGE – For better or for worse?

During recent months, Sri Lanka has experienced some brand renovations to some of the country’s leading and ancient brands like Elephant House beverages.

Of course there are many others, but Elephant House is among the brands which renovated their brands by changing their Brand Name Font. These font changes would’ve been done with the brand’s best interests at heart and of course with the intention of giving the brand a “new look and feel”, so as to induce more repeat purchases and consumption and ultimately more sales and more profits.

Marketing vise this is quite a good strategic tactic. As with this kind of change, the brand goes through refreshment and re-enters the market like a new brand, only with already gained customer loyalty and market share.

Yet, although the strategy was good, its implementation definitely has not done it justice.

We don’t have to look far; compare a new Elephant House Cream Soda label to an old one. The new one may have a more modern font and “fun” look to it, but in my opinion, it does not give the brand a decent, homey and “rich” look as the old font. The same goes for Rich Life and Nations Trust, some other “changed fonts” whose ‘replaced looks’ caught my negative attention.

I may seem to be old fashioned and stuck to the old ways, but, in my view, old brands such as Elephant House should not kill its own value and customer perception by trying to change. These brands are so old but still thriving and surviving because customers find them closer to heart (customer intimacy).

So change is good but not always, and definitely not if it’s improperly done, however attractive it may seem. For instance, most people would agree that Majestic City will never look the same and never attract the same attention with its new “red look”. That big old yellow building was deeply implanted in many a young mind. So it is highly doubtful if the red can achieve what the yellow had.

Change, I believe, is effective, only if appropriately executed and only if necessary- if it’s not broken, why fix it?


  1. but one thing i want to clarify is that can we go against the changes in market or consumer behavior and stand still with our "old" looks when the environment, both internal and external tend to change rapidly in these modern days?

  2. Very well written article. Are you a student of management?
    About brand repositioning through a change in graphics, logo etc., there is a really great recent example from here.

    I don't know if you watched the IPL, but one of the major sponsors for the tournamant was (and still is, for next year) a brand called Godrej. They make stuff like consumer products like locks, furniture, soaps, etc., and industrial products such as chemicals, warehousing, storage, agro product... among many other goods and services in both segments. The have also recently forayed into real estate and construction.

    Now Godrej has been around for ages, really, and it's image for most people was an old, respectful, and rather tired one.

    To change this, they changed the brand colours, came out with younger, brighter ads, and even made their range of furnitures look contemporary.

    It was very well managed.

    Then, a few days ago in my Market Research class, my teacher did a spot survey of what each person associated with Godrej. Half the people associated it with the old brand image. The other half immediately spoke about the new brand colours, the 'young', 'fun' feel to the brand, etc.

    I thought that was very interesting.

    BTW, they haven't changed their font, just the presentation.

  3. To a extent what you say is true. But a while ago I wrote something about change that had a different angle on the whole situation.

    Basically what I said was that we as people like to cling to the past, and everything from the yesteryear tends to be romanticized and looked as being the ultimate.

    If anything from what I've seen companies around the world are recognizing this nostalgia, and one area this is apparent is the revival of loads of TV shows and remakes of old movies today.

    It's always the 'good old days' and 'not like today'. I hope you get what I mean, I not disagreeing.

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  5. Very interesting discussion over here..

    Well i suppose the real question one would face when changing the brand and its strategy is to adhere to the mass perception of the brand...we may personally like to have the old look compared to the new look and vise versa..

    But it all comes down to market research i guess, when it comes to marketing i feel what matters the most is our ability to address the perceptions of our consumers...

  6. hmmm... interesting but i believe that the re branding of Elephant house merchandise was a timely move.. if anything it would serve to circumvent marketing faux pas that 'ancient' (as u call it) brands such as coca cola experienced... what one needs to remember is the fact that elephant house brands viz. ice cream, carbonated soft drinks etc. are not products that consumers associate with any degree of reliability or assurance but rather they would prefer to use a brand that is more hip and trendy.. this is further backed up by examining the target market of E.H. which is predominantly young...
    For example vehicle manufacturers such as Benz or BMW should preserve the 'oldness' of their brand as they are targetting and older more mature market and also the product needs have a quality of reliability, therefore i is advisable to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the old brand..