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Using the relaunch tool to rejuvenate
(8 September 1999 - Business Line)

Many a time in marketing, there comes a stage in the life of a brand when it needs to be re-worked and relaunched to take it to a different level. This happens not only for brands which may not be doing well but also for brands that are doing well but would like to do better. Is it shameful to relaunch a brand? Should one feel guilty and sad about this? In my opinion, the answer is a strong no! Brands go through various stages of evolution in their life and often may need to be restructured and repositioned, revitalised or rejuvenated to improve their sales and market share and profits. How does one go about re-launching a brand? There are many ways, which I would like to share with you and recommend that they be used with a mix of optimism and precision. Before getting into the methodologies and ways of launching a new brand, it is important to define the objectives for the relaunch.

   Is the objective to rejuvenate the brand as a contemporary one, as
     it is being perceived as dated and traditional?
  Is the objective to relaunch a brand that has failed due to an
     inappropriate marketing mix?
  Is the objective to relaunch the brand and reposition it for faster
     growth and market share?

Now let us come to the ways in which brands can be relaunched.

The first is to keep all elements of the mix the same but reposition the brand in the minds and hearts of customers.

Thus, nothing is done to the product, the pricing or the distribution but the communication and the entire repositioning exercise changes the perceived value of the brand. The elements used would be in the area of the communication mix including the packaging. This approach is usually followed when consumers have accepted the product, found it affordable and available but do not want to use it because they feel it does not match their needs or aspirations, keeping the psychographics in mind.

Another method to relaunch the brand is to change the channel and distribution strategy. Other elements may be working but the distribution channel may be ineffective due to the choice of in-appropriate outlets or even ineffective trade margins and marketing strategy. This can be linked with the sales effort, sales organisation and structure.

This happens in cases where the product is accepted, its awareness is high but it is not available. There is, therefore, wastage of advertising money.

In this case, revamping the distribution structure becomes necessary.

The third way to relaunch a brand would be to revamp every element of the marketing mix including the brand name, the product ingredients and pricing, and bring it out with a new price and bring it out as a new avatar.

Relaunching a brand is a normal exercise but should be dealt with cautiously. If the brand is doing well because its positioning, distribution and pricing are accepted and it is growing as per the desired objectives, then it is recommended not to tamper with something which is working.

Finally, it is important to say that while relaunching a brand, the main objective should be to bring it to a better level in terms of sales, market share and profit than what its current position reflects.

(The author is Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, Mumbai.)

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