Marc’s Makeover: Marc Jacobs’ decision to rebrand… is it the right one?

Deciding whether or not to rebrand your company is an immense decision. Your brand is the face and personality of your company. It is what viewers connect with. Changing this identity will greatly affect your company, but if done right the market can soar.

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs has decided it is time for his company, Marc Jacobs International to rebrand. In an interview with David Amsden from W Magazine Jacobs explains the troubles the Marc Jacobs brand had encountered. Describing the brand as having been “diluted” from his lack of creative supervision and merchandisers pushing his design team.

In order to fix this Jacobs decided to leave his position at Louis Vuitton to grow his company, which includes boutiques, clothing lines such as Marc by Marc Jacobs and Little Marc Jacobs (a children’s clothing line), Bookmarc (a bookstore), and more.

Some changes have already taken place such as his decision to move his offices from Manhattan to London and his decision to part with longtime campaign photographer Juergen Teller after he creatively disagreed on the Spring 2014 ad campaign which features Miley Cyrus. 

marcmiley

So what is Jacobs looking to do? He’s looking to redesign the logo and packaging, to build his shoe and handbag lines, and maybe even change the name, which he told W Magazine that he had always hated.

Rebranding can be daunting between redefining research, audiences, creative campaigns, and even products, but for those experiencing continuous losses, it is often the best way to launch back into the market.

In recent years, another clothing line, Burberry, underwent a widely recognized successful rebranding campaign. Over the years, the British line went from being known for its historically iconic outwear, to being associated with cheapest form of high fashion, and even gang wear.

In 2006, the company hired Angela Ahrendts and in the next six years, she turned the ubiquitous brand back to luxurious. First, Ahrendts did what she called “buying back the company.” Reigning in the 23 licenses Burberry had around the world, control was brought back to the company with centralized executive and creative offices that could maintain product authenticity and exclusivity.

Secondly, Ahrendts recognized we are in the age of digital consumption and a digital generation – tapping into the resources social media and technology offers. In stores, sale assistants are equipped with iPads, and mirrors transform into screens displaying catwalk images. Online, the company continues to grow its presence, attracting over 16 million fans on Facebook, and over 2 million followers on Twitter. Burberry also uses YouTube to broadcast campaigns, events, music, and even corporate news. 

However, rebranding is not exclusive to high profile companies, the challenges above are things that can be experienced in all types of companies: personal, mid, or large. So how do you know if you should rebrand your own company? From Katie Morrell’s article “10 Signs You Should/Should not Rebrand” here are some warming signs that your company should rebrand.

Macro problems

Maria Ross, author of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget (2010, Norlights Press) suggests that if a company notices that their target customers are choosing the competition over their own company and if a decrease in sales is also trending, rebranding should be considered.

Look and function don’t match

Another element that should be considered when having a decrease in customers is “From a cosmetic point of view, when you look old and your looks don’t reflect what you are or what you deliver, it may be time to rebrand,” said Susan Betts, senior strategy director for New York-based FutureBrand North America.

Attracting the wrong customers

Rebranding is beneficial when a company wants to change their target customers. It gives a company an opportunity to create a new brand identity that the new target audience has the chance to connect too.

Management change

When a company changes management, it is normal that policies and values change as well. When a companies values change, rebranding is a good idea.

Philosophy/function change

When a company changes it’s direction, rebranding can showcase to customers what they may or may not be aware of concerning this change. Betts also mentions rebranding should be considered when a company has a “New philosophy or a changed philosophy”.

These signs are great examples to take heed from, but it is important to note rebranding should not be done unless it has been proven your brand identity is the root of your problems. Branding is the largest initial investment for a company, it sets the spring board for your identity, association, and customers. Rebranding is an even bigger investment – an attempt to reintroduce ideas to already established and preconceived perceptions is no easy task, it is one that must be thoroughly strategized. For Burberry, reigning in and refining their identity proved to be the best decision the company has made. For Jacobs, we will see what his creative vision produces.

What companies do you think have faltered recently or over the years? Who needs to rebrand?

Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade, Elizabeth Harrington

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2 thoughts on “Marc’s Makeover: Marc Jacobs’ decision to rebrand… is it the right one?

  1. Well written article. Very informative. There are probably some brands that could use rejuvenating. Crocs has long been at a crossroads. Timex has to figure out how to pull of something similar to Cadillac and find a way to get younger in a market that doesn’t need watches since everyone can use their phone to tell time. Updating a brand can be hard because it can look so obviously desperate. How do you go after a younger audience without looking like you are desperate for a younger audience? Or how to make maturity part of your brand?

    • Great questions Dr. Olsen. It seems to me that Marc Jacobs picked Miley for the spring campaign to kickstart that appealing to a younger rebellious audience and reinforcing his grunge roots. Thanks for the comment!

      -Caroline R.

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