John Martyn gives Access a run-down of how brands can remain looking and feeling young with a simple rebrand

Staying fresh in an evolving market

It is interesting that some of the great British food brands have paled into obscurity over the last 20 years. Tasty treats like Ambrosia tapioca, Ovaltine and Heinz Oxtail Soup, have all seen a considerable decline in popularity. It begs the question: What do brands need to do to survive in this day and age?

In a hyperactively evolved world, obsessed by 24-hour news, digital media and an all-time high level of consumerism, how does a brand maintain its ‘X-factor’? Especially those looking to secure a slice of a demanding, but fickle, market?

Adapting your brand and building on it to cater for the changing taste of an audience can apply to any industry. Nowhere is this more evident than in the live events and experiential sector, where ambition and expectations are high.

What factors spur firms on to improve an offer and how do they achieve this?

The key differentiator

The need to stay fresh is crucial. One way companies can ensure they remain ahead of the curve is through a rebrand.

“All good businesses spend substantial time considering their identity,” says Julian Saipe, MD of caterer Zafferano. “Who are we? Years ago, it got to a
stage where a long level playing field had developed in the event catering sector; promising seasonality, provenance, sophisticated staff and top notch service. In a highly competitive arena the differentiators had lost their significance.”

“We decided to up the game and invest in a brand identity, which would give more weight to our market presence and greater potential for business growth,” Saipe elaborates.

Ultimately for Zafferano, it was a case of looking back to move forward, “Many luxury brands use heritage as a measure of integrity, quality and class, so we went back to our roots.”

Market forces

Sometimes external factors play a significant role. The decision to rebrand Keith Prowse, a corporate hospitality provider, with over 200 years experience was not taken lightly.

As Sam Coates, head of marketing explains: “Secondary ticketing was a big consideration, purchasing from an unofficial source carries big risks to the buyer, right up to not being able to attend their chosen event. It was vital to communicate our position as a leading hospitality provider and as an official channel to purchase tickets. It was a key motivator behind the rebrand.”

The changing nature of Keith Prowse’s audience also provided a catalyst for change and indicating where major investment needed to be made in order to secure the company’s position.

The rebrand, which took place in September 2016 has already had a significant impact. “We have received a lot of positive feedback,” concludes Coates. “And we hope to see more as we unveil different phases of the new branding.”

Mergers and acquisitions

When Sternberg Clarke was looking to expand operations and explore new markets in the UK, a merger opportunity with prestige entertainment brand Trevor George Entertainment presented itself.

“I was immediately drawn to Trevor George’s longevity,” Sternberg Clarke director Adam Sternberg enthuses. “I knew the quality, integrity and knowledge gained from those decades of experience would be instrumental in helping us build our network and grow our business nationwide.”

Of course no merger is without its unique set of challenges, Sternberg points out: “Although both companies share the same passion for providing the very best entertainment. Merging two business cultures and ensuring they integrate together, while maintaining their individual brand cultures and reputation, must always be a consideration when mapping out the road to success.”

Still early on in the combined companies’ story, a positive impact has already been registered. To Sternberg, it has strengthened its offering.

Upping the game

Another way companies can maintain and improve their brand position is to develop new products and services. Last year, Warwick Conferences opened e Slate; a space designed specifically to offer delegates a personalised experience.

As Warwick Conferences’ head of sales and marketing, Rachael Bartlett comments: “We knew there was demand for a high capacity, quality and flexible event space in Central England, but it was also clear that clients were focusing more on the meeting experience.”

There’s no doubt the increasing desire for personalised service presents a big challenge for venues, which need to make an investment in their product to meet the varied demands of the 21st century delegate.

The opportunities a new space adds to a brand is reiterated by Bartlett: “We’re now reaching new audiences, with clients commenting that the eco-friendly and sustainable aspect of the building are the main reasons they book.”

Brave New World

What does it take to maintain your position in the minds of the public? Perhaps it merely depends on individual business strategies. It’s a tough nut to crack. e marketplace gets more crowded every year and it’s becoming harder to stand out.

In this throwaway age, it’s all too easy to sink into obscurity.

If you want to keep the wind in your sales and position yourself ahead of the pack, it’s crucial to constantly evaluate your offering, build on it and make changes if necessary.