"Leave My Noodles Alone" - Have you ever gone car shopping, seen a car you liked and then noticed them everywhere you go? That happened to me following the blog two weeks ago when I spoke of rebranding.
Let me back up - I am a very brand loyal individual. My family is the same way. As a child I remember celebrating the day that Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing began being sold in a bottle.
When it comes to mac and cheese, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Deluxe, with the fake cheese in the foil pouch (used to be in a can) is the only thing that is acceptable. And Vermont Maid is the syrup of choice in my home.
Well the "rebranding bug" has apparently taken hold. Shortly after my rebranding blog was published, I noted that the Girl on the Vermont Maid bottle had changed from a drawing to a
real woman. Not only that, the lucky charms cartoon leprechaun had been completely redrawn and the noodles in my macaroni and cheese suddenly had ridges. I double checked the box - it was the right kind, AAARGH!
To top it all off, I was introducing my youngest to classic TV shows. After showing her "Gilligan's Island" and "Happy Days," I decided to watch an episode of "Laverne and Shirley". The opening credits were a bit different as there was no sign of Shirley. I wasn't sure what was going on and my daughter said "how about an order of Laverne and Shirley, hold the Shirley."
How can you possibly have Laverne and Shirley without Shirley? As it turns out -actress Cindy Williams got pregnant and there was conflict about having her remain in the show so they
decided to continue the show without her. It didn't work.
As I began to think about unsuccessful rebranding efforts, I couldn't avoid researching the details behind one of the most epic failures of all time, "New Coke". For the youngsters in the crowd, let me fill you in.
In 1985, Coke had been losing market share to Pepsi for some time and they were convinced that the public preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi. Based on this assumption and countless hours
of market testing, they revealed a new sweeter flavor on April 23rd. The market research and focus groups indicated that everyone preferred this new flavor. Therefore Coke was not prepared for the
very loud, and angry, backlash for the discontinuation of the original Coke.
The response was so overwhelmingly negative, that Coke reintroduced the original Coke only 77 days later. The now named "Classic Coca-Cola" was outselling Pepsi by the end of that year. There is speculation that the entire shift was a planned ploy to reinvigorate the brand loyalty of the original Coke fans. The company denies that, but has reaped the benefits regardless.
So take some time and really look at your product before you do something drastic. Often times, changes are not necessary. If things are going well, maybe it's best to leave them be.
It's not all doom and gloom however, sometimes rebranding is the best thing. In 1968, guitarist Jimmy Page was playing for super group "The Yardbirds" when several key members decided to quit. Faced with a solid booked tour, he recruited two other musicians, John Bonham and Robert Plant. As one version of the legend goes, he was speaking to the drummer for The Who, Keith
Moon, and told him they would finish the tour as "The New Yardbirds." Keith apparently replied "that will go over like a Led Zeppelin". And so was born the greatest rock band of the 70's.