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What happens when a successful brand—one that historically has “owned” the category—finds itself in an evolving/declining category? What happens when that brand moves into adjacent products—but sales suggest it lacks meaning and relevance?

A home improvement brand approached us to conduct a brand audit with the goal of repositioning and reintroducing the brand.

Problem

Our client’s brand was at a crossroads. The 2009 recession, as well as market consolidation, expansion into new channels, new product innovations, and advertising and promotional activities had created intense competition in the category. In addition, Millennials were increasingly finding the category—and our client’s brand—less relevant. The client had expanded its flagship brand into adjacent channels and categories to keep pace with these market dynamics. Yet, internally, there were concerns about the brand’s meaning and relevance with DIYers and Pros, the equity that it conveyed to these segments, and how elastic the brand was—and could be—in the future.

The client management team believed there was a white-space opportunity to re-invent itself and reposition the brand in response to these dynamics. The challenge was to develop a brand positioning and creative marketing materials that were ownable, leverageable, sustainable, and extendable to grow the brand into the future.

Result

The comprehensive research approach resulted in the development of a new Master Brand positioning to guide the brand on its growth strategy. Near term, the positioning served as a beacon in inspiring a comprehensive label redesign, an initiative that helped to solidify the new brand and create a more synergistic and cohesive portfolio.

Importantly, because the client team and agency were actively engaged throughout the process, they were better enfranchised in the results; there was no “sell-in” necessary. Stakeholders developed a deep, holistic understanding of their customers and internalized and evangelized the new Master Brand when making strategic decisions (i.e., “Is this consistent with our new Brand?”).

Solution

C+R conducted a comprehensive, multi-phased brand audit with the goal of creating a new/revised positioning for our client’s brand—to unify current and future product initiatives and engage new segments.

In the initial phase, internal stakeholder interviews provided ingoing brand equity and positioning insights to frame discussion areas and build hypotheses around what the brand stands for. Exploratory discussion groups with DIYers and webcam conversations with Pros were leveraged to build empathy and understanding behind category/brand drivers and differentiators.

We then facilitated a day-long workshop that included a cross-functional client team and, after debriefing on key insights, included rounds of hands-on exercises to elicit a range of potential positionings. First, we created personas inspired by the research participants. Each team had a different consumer vignette and was challenged to create positionings relevant to “their” consumer based on their unique attitudes, behaviors, and needs. Next, we looked at potential category extension—considering how the inclusion of different products could alter the frame of reference and relevant positioning. To combat an afternoon slump, we had a fun, energizing exercise of taking the brand’s core strengths and turning them into various superheroes to inspire new positionings. 

Throughout the session, we followed the design-thinking principles of divergence and convergence, landing on six unique and differentiated positionings (ranging from closer-in, more functional positionings to further out, more emotionally-driven ones).

Next, iterative rounds of discussion groups with Brand and Competitive consumers, as well as with Pros, were used to refine and converge on the most relevant positionings prior to the quantitative phase.

A quantitative survey was leveraged to validate the positionings with DIYers and Pros and to inform the development of a new brand architecture. The brand’s agency used this input to build creative platforms to guide future communications.

In the final phase, iterative discussion groups with DIYers and Pros were conducted to understand perceptions of the creative platform options, a new naming architecture, and potential label re-designs to determine how to optimize the best approach forward for the brand.