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Building a brand is difficult, but re-building one after a failure is even more difficult. It is a well-known fact that human brain is naturally hard-wired to remember and talk about negative experiences more than the positive ones.

Anything worth doing is difficult and if you have failed as a brand then reinvention may be the only way forward to survival. There have been many big names that have gone to the pinnacles of success to the depths of utter failure, only to get back again as respectable brands. One of the most famous cases is the case of Skoda, the famous car manufacturer. Looking at Skoda we will talk about how you should go forward if you are in the difficult spot of facing failure or re-inventing your brand.

How did Skoda re-invent its brand?

One of the best jokes associated with Skoda in the 1980s was:

“Why do Skoda have heated rear windows? To keep your hands warm while you push it”. And the joke that Skoda must have hated the most, “How do you double the value of a Skoda? Fill it with petrol”.

Skoda is one of Europe’s oldest brands and before the Second World War II it was considered a competitor to Mercedes in Eastern Europe for its excellent car quality. However after World War II Skoda’s factory fell under communist control leading to decline in investment which ultimately led to a steep decline in quality.

The turnaround began when Skoda was purchased by VW in 1992. VW knew from day one that brand myths have life of their own and the negative image of Skoda would far outlive the reality, however they began with a solid strategy. They first asked the Skoda team to fully focus on build quality, which they did. The car designs were changed, but even then elements were sustained which showed the Skoda heritage, for example the front grille. This is important, for some things are essential to the identity of the product.

Second came the marketing. Skoda did not try to shuffle all the bad customer goodwill under the market. Instead they made humorous ads which showed customer’s perception (that Skoda made bad cars), then the advert showed the new cars, with the tagline “It is a Skoda too. Honest”. The adverts were loved.

Quality which made their cars stand shoulder to shoulder with Toyota and Honda, and clever adverts Skoda has now taken over 2 percent of the market share of one of the most competitive markets of the world.

Where do you start brand-reinvention from?
First of all a brand has two very important offers, an emotional one as well a real offer. You have to offer a good product or service, which is complement by an “image” that gives it a bit of that magic factor. Think of Haagen Dazs Ice-cream when you think of the magic factor.

The onus of the quality part is on the business management. Re-inventing the image is something for which you should hunt a marketing agency, and in this day and age a marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing. Skoda worked on its quality and the amazing advertising campaign was led by Agency Fallon. Brand re-invention should start with self-reflection, and then effective market research to find which parts need to be worked on. The market research is again something that should be outsourced to digital marketing specialists for a digital marketing firm for a much larger reach.

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