- Debranding: Why the world’s biggest companies are removing their brand names from their products, read the cover feature here
- “Nobody calls the Mini the BMW Mini even though it belongs to BMW. So why would we call ourselves RBS Coutts?” private banking firm Coutts talks about dropping the RBS branding
- Brand development director at Tesco, Sidonie Kingsmill, on the decision to include the Tesco branding on products or not
A brand is not a logo and a logo does not a brand make. It is about the experience. It is one thing to announce your arrival then get your share of voice and build your reputation. But then [there comes a point when] everyone knows you; you’re no longer new.
So, how does a brand stay desirable? In terms of luxury brands, if there is a limited edition £30,000 handbag, does it need a logo if Kate Moss is seen wearing it? Her social equals might realise [the fact that it is a special, designer bag], but if no one else does or it takes them months to find out who made it, it means the brand is rebuilding cachet.
[Some luxury brands] have gone from exclusivity to considering how to go mass-market. Mercedes, for example, created more accessible sub-brands. That might be great if it sells more cars, but perhaps the traditional customers, who are really its brand ambassadors, might start thinking: ‘What is the big deal about Mercedes – everyone’s driving one these days?’
So perhaps Mercedes could create a limited edition without the logo that people will recognise by shape or design but only you and a few others will know [what it actually is]. This way, you are recreating and somehow separating the brand.
I think the only danger of this is what a brand does afterwards to make sure the business isn’t being split. You have to make sure you don’t split your brand in half and leave [one half] in the mass market that you don’t want – and, if you’re not careful, that [will be seen as your brand].