The significance of rebranding in a stiffly competitive environment cannot be overemphasized. Organizations often undergo a change in logo, product line, packaging, advertising and other aspects of marketing with the aim of differentiating themselves from competitors, restoring image, and regaining lost market share (Khaund, 2014). Rebranding may also be informed by the need to adapt to change and remain relevant as well as reflect a shift in business strategy, focus, and target market. Reebok, a multinational fitness and sportswear company, recently underwent rebranding to reflect its shift of focus to the fitness industry. Focusing on the company, this paper describes the previous image as a brand, the reason for rebranding, as well as the rebranding undertaken and its effectiveness.
Founded in the 1 ate 1890s, Reebok is one of the largest sportswear companies in the world. With its headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts, the company designs, manufactures, and markets sportswear and fitness products throughout the world. The company is particularly involved in producing athletic footwear, fitness apparel and accessories, as well as training equipment. Over the years, the company has built a strong brand presence in not only the U.S., but also worldwide. Today, Reebok is one of the largest sportswear companies in the world. Historically, the company has had significant sponsorships in various segments of the multibillion sports industry, including American football, baseball, basketball, cricket, boxing, and athletics. This indicates the strength of the brand.
Though Reebok has from time to time engaged in rebranding in the past, the most recent rebranding was in 2014. The rebranding, which was the second significant rebranding in the company’s more than a century history, specifically involved replacing the previous vector logo with the delta symbol (Khaund, 2014). It was intended to restore the company’s diminishing market share in the rigorously competitive sportswear industry. In 2005, Reebok was acquired by Adidas in an attempt to counter increased competitive pressure from Nike. Though the acquisition seemed successful in the first few months, Reebok experienced a persistent decline in revenue after 2006 (Khaund, 2014). In the succeeding six years, the company would experience a number of unfortunate events, notably accusations of misleading advertisements and financial fraud, which further deteriorated its performance (Khaund, 2014). To regain the brand’s lost glory, Adidas decided to rebrand it by shifting its focus from athletics and sports to fitness. This rapidly growing segment has largely been ignored by most of its competitors.
In February 2014, Reebok unveiled its new logo, which resembles a delta as shown in figure 1 below (Khaund, 2014). The new logo symbolizes the transformation fitness can bring to people’s lives. The delta has three arms representing the three aspects of fitness: physical, mental and social (Reebok, 2014). Reebok has traditionally been a product company, with a specific focus on elite athletes. With the new focus, however, the company has repositioned itself as a brand for everyone. The company now acknowledges that consumers in their quest for healthier lives are interested in not just sport, but also fitness. As Norman (2014) puts it, the company has consciously brought back the human element to fitness.
Figure 1: Reebok’s change of logo
Source: Khaund (2014)
The shift of the company’s focus came with a number of changes, particularly in terms of sponsorship and product line. The company chose not to renew its sponsorship deal with the National Football League (NFL) (Khaund, 2014). In addition, the company focused on aerobics, yoga and dance in an attempt to grow its business. Its apparel products are now classified into these three categories. To push its commitment to fitness, the company has partnered with Les Mills and Spartan Race. The company has also launched a new line of products under the fitness segment in an attempt to reinforce its rebranding efforts. The rebranded stores are now referred to as fitness hubs. The hubs are utilized as not only retail points, but also channels for providing customers with information relating to various topics on fitness (Khaund, 2014).
It is now about three years since Reebok rebranded itself. A major strength of the rebranding exercise is that the company has focused on a segment that has remained largely untapped. This has created a unique brand positioning, which will be a crucial source of competitive advantage for the company in the long-term given the growing fitness market. According to Norman (2014), the new focus embodies a sense of community, which is vital for enhancing brand loyalty and brand equity. If the new focus is properly maintained and brand promise effectively delivered, the rebranding is likely to be a game changer for Reebok. The fruits of the rebranding exercise have already been reaped. Six months after rebranding, Adidas announced a 22% growth in sales, an indication that the new brand resonated well with consumers (Norman, 2014). The growth has been sustained since then (Gianatasio, 2015).
Overall, business organizations exist in a rapidly changing environment, which may often necessitate change of strategy. With increased competitive pressure and a deteriorating performance, Reebok recently rebranded itself. The rebranding exercise involved not only a change of logo, but also shift of focus, revision of sponsorship deals, as well as the introduction of a new product line. This far, the rebranding exercise has significantly paid off. The previously troubled company is back to growth. The future appears even brighter given the opportunities presented by the fitness segment.
Gianatasio, D. (2015). Reebok is quietly emerging as a challenger brand to contend with. Retrieved 20 October 2016 from: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising- branding/reebok-quietly-emerging-challenger-brand-contend-163074
Khaund, G. (2014). Reebok’s rebranding — a comprehensive analysis. Retrieved 20 October 2016 from: http://www.mbaskool.com/business-articles/marketing/9995-reeboks- rebranding-a-comprehensive-analysis.html
Norman, A. (2014). Reebok rebrand and 6 months on. Retrieved 20 October 2016 from: https://www.brandworkz.com/branding-2/reebok-rebrand-6-months/
Reebok (2014). Reebok signals change with launch of new brand mark. Retrieved 20 October 2016 from: http://news.reebok.com/global/latest-news/reebok-signals-change-with- launch-of-new-brand-mark/s/ff399034-0aac-4263-99ed-6104ef4eda20
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