Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Corporate Rebranding and the Effects on Consumers' Attitude Structure

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Corporate Rebranding and the Effects on Consumers' Attitude Structure

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Corporate rebranding is a frequently reported rebranding strategy in business press which challenges the elementary marketing theory and principles. Despite the high costs and unsure outcomes, empirical research on the impacts of corporate rebranding strategy on consumers' attitude structure was scarce. Focus on the most commonly practised evolutionary strategy, the present research utilized the results of 138 useable questionnaires using SPSS software package. The examination of hypotheses 1-3 which combined all the high and low familiarity computer and semiconductor brand names showed significant relationships for pre attitude [arrow right] post, pre attitude [arrow right] attitude toward rebranding and attitude towards rebranding [arrow right] post attitudes. Nevertheless, rather contradictory findings were found later by cross-checking and examining the two product categories separately. For high familiarity brands (both computer and semiconductor brands), all the three postulated relationships were found significant with consistently pre existing attitude as the best predictor of post attitude. Meanwhile for low familiarity, pre-existing attitudes was again found to be the best predictor of post attitude. However, insignificant relationships were found for both product categories with low familiarities (Computer: pre attitude [arrow right] attitude toward rebranding and attitude toward rebranding [arrow right] post attitude; Semiconductor: attitude toward rebranding [arrow right] post attitude). In addition, for low familiarity brand names, the effects of pre attitudes on attitude towards rebranding were found to be smaller compared to high familiarity brand names. The same thing happened in the case of pre attitude [arrow right] post exposure attitude relationship. However, for low familiarity brand names, the impact of attitude toward rebranding on post exposure attitude was found to be not larger than their high familiarity counterparts. The findings further confirmed the attitude structure varied according to the levels of product familiarity.

Keywords: corporate rebranding, corporate name change, pre existing and post exposure attitude, ambivalence, attitude toward rebranding

1. INTRODUCTION

Even with a history of more than 2000 years (Lury, 1998), many still regard the practice of branding and corporate branding as a predominantly twentieth century phenomenon (Lury, 1998; Schultz et al. 2005; Tokarczyk & Hansen, 2006) which has drawn profound interest among the general business press (Gregory, 1999; Sampson, 2003) and the academic researchers ( eg. Balmer & Dinnie, 1999; Bosch & Hirschey, 1989; Capron & Hulland, 1999; Dacin & Brown, 2002; Ferris, 1988; Horsky & Swyngedouw, 1987; Howe, 1982; Karpoff& Rankine, 1994). With a strong corporate name, marketers claimed to create positive consumer perception of existing products and opportunity for new product extension (Brown & Dacin, 1997; Ind, 1997); the ability to use the vision and culture explicitly as part of its unique selling proposition (Ackerman, 1998; Balmer, 1995, 2001a; de Chernatony, 1999, 2001; Ind, 1997) or unique organizational value proposition (Knox & Maklan, 1998). Boston Consulting Group's report on 30 product categories confirmed that 27 out of 30 market leading companies in 1930s are still remain at the top of the list after more than 50 years confirming the advantage of strong corporate names (Stevenson, October 28,1988).

Nevertheless, not all brands perform well and branding campaigns mean more than just giving a brand name to a product or services (Kapferer, 1992). For survival, these 'no longer performing' brands have to undergo painful process of rebranding which is both challenging and risky (Clavin, 1999; Dunham, 2002), and in many cases as a necessary evil for survival, and is prompt for mistakes. Literally, the word 'rebrand' is a neologism which is made up of two terms: re and brand (Muzellec & Lambkin, 2006). …

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