Branding, rebranding, and de-branding

High profile business fiascos, such as Coca Cola’s maladroit ‘new Coke’ attempt to change the taste of its product in 1985, form the basis of case studies for business schools around the world. Will business schools now also include the Co-operative Group’s recent decision to abort its 2008 “The Co-operative” rebrand among their case studies?

The 2008 rebrand was a major event for the British co-operative movement – and an expensive one. At the time, it was seen as confirmation that co-operatives were putting behind them their reputation for shabby stores, expensive prices and poor quality goods. With great drum-banging, the Co-operative Group announced that it had secured rights to use Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind soundtrack for its TV advertisements.

So what, if business schools pick up on this latest twist to the co-operative story, will they consider the real fiasco?  Will it be the 2008 rebranding exercise, abandoned so quickly? Or will it be the 2016 decision to revert to the old turquoise ‘clover leaf’ logo, a decision which I’d call an exercise in de-branding?

You know, seeing the old logo back in my local store, I have a horrible feeling that it may be the latter.

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