Playing the name game

DSGi the electricals group revealed this week that it is returning to its roots and reverting to its former corporate group name Dixons Retail.

Dixons is not shy about the reasons for the U-turn and a spokesperson told me that the DSGi name just didn’t resonate with stakeholders, including shareholders, suppliers and colleagues.

The corporate rebrand is yet to be ratified by shareholders, but the company says it has yet to encounter any negativity towards the name change, so it’s all but a done deal.

The decision to drop the Dixons brand in the corporate identity was taken in 2005, a year ahead of the brand’s exit from the high street. Dixons was turned into a pure play online brand and looks to be doing very well if the group’s results last week are anything to go by.

It has also run a high profile and much talked about outdoor advertising campaign that ruffled the feathers of department store chain John Lewis.

However, at the time, the chain was blighted by a poor reputation for customer service and so, although Dixons claims the two things were separate decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised if the was a connection at the time.

DSGi said in its trading update that it is reinstating the group name to leverage the strength of the Dixons brand, which to me at least implies that it has significantly improved its standing.

The group says that the decision to change the name from Dixons to DSG International in the first place was made to reflect how international the group is as around 50% of its business is outside of the UK.

It’s worth remembering that the corporate name change won’t have any effect on the group’s consumer brands, which include PC World and Currys but it’s an interesting corporate retail rebrand story.

It is also another case study to build on those brought together by my colleague Lou Cooper in the cover feature of 17 June issue of Marketing Week.

The feature “Actions speak louder than logos” asked whether a rebrand can ever really work and looked at examples including BP, O2, Aviva and the Royal Mail as well as highlighting the pitfalls of a rebrand.

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson has also talked about the failure of brand repositioning to really make any ground. In his column “Rebranding cannot plug credibility gap”, he claims that only 1% of repositionings work. He cites BP’s oh so topical rebrand from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum – a new positioning that all too apparently doesn’t ring true no the company has hit crisis point.

It seems that while many brands try, the reality is that it’s very difficult to make a newly created positioning work for an already established business.

DSGi has learned this the hard way and is swallowing its pride and going back to Dixons.

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