What is Debranding?

When it comes to remembering our favorite products, we usually recall their brand names or images that are associated with the brand. Although the trend over the years has been to market a brand name along with an image, many companies are bucking this tradition and instead using a simple image without their company name to market their latest offerings.

Coca Cola’s Latest Offering

In line with debranding their traditional offering of the Coca Cola name on their cans, this global giant has decided to take a different approach with regards to their marketing. They have compiled a list of some of the most common people’s names, and used these to replace their own product name on their bottles and cans in the UK. This smart move has led to skyrocketing sales figures, all because most people are simply not able to resist the purchase of a product that seems to have been tailor-made for them. Other companies have followed in this company’s marketing footsteps, including Stella Artois and HP.

A Deeper Motive

When the question of “what is debranding?” is raised, many people associate the term solely with the removal of a company’s name from their merchandise. However, debranding can also occur when one company purchases a product line or trademark name from another company. A few examples of this include the purchase of Ben and Jerry’s by the Unilever Group back in 2000, and the purchase of Green and Blacks Organic Chocolate by Cadbury’s in 2005. In some cases, the company that has made the purchase will continue to use the original name for branding purposes, but in most cases, we see almost all of the smaller brands being eliminated by their larger competitors.

Brand Saturation

One reason that could have contributed to the debranding of so many popular icons around the world is the fact that wherever consumers look today, they are being bombarded by brand names. Whether they are purchasing a cup of coffee or a pair of running shoes, virtually everything on the shelves has been branded in some way or another. In a world where simplicity is once again making a comeback, this could spell potential disaster for companies who rely solely on a brand name to sell their goods.

Approach any Debranding Campaign with Caution

While the process of debranding has worked well for a few larger companies, there have been instances where it has caused far more harm than good. An example of this is when Sony Pictures decided to release a debranded version of one of their most popular movies. Unfortunately, in this situation, the debranded alternative DVD did not tie in with Sony’s positive market image. As a result, many consumers thought the re-released item was a fake. This resulted in many of them trying to return the product for a refund.

If implemented correctly, debranding can result in a huge increase in profits for the company or brand concerned. However, companies also need to remain as transparent as possible when entering this type of marketing campaign.