Rebranding of stereotypical food brands : How Nordic consumers perceive the product rebranding and its impact on brand equity
Abstract: Background and Purpose: The process of rebranding requires a lot of consideration and analysis in order to be successful. In 2020, a rebranding movement of stereotypical brands began in the USA, and the effects also transpired to the Nordics, leading to multiple brands in the food industry initiating a rapid rebranding process. However, due to its complex nature and the balancing act between different stakeholders, it raised the question whether rebranding was necessary from a business perspective. The purpose of this study is to investigate how consumers perceive the rebranding's of stereotypical brands, whether they regard it as a necessary move for the companies, and how it affected brand equity. Method: In order to successfully achieve our purpose, a qualitative research design was implemented through an interpretivist and exploratory research design. Data collection was conducted through ten semi-structured interviews and analyzed through a thematic analysis enabling us to expand a presented framework. Conclusion: Our research identified the rebranding of stereotypical brands as a highly complex process, where the consumers perceive rebranding in various ways and where brand equity is impacted in multiple ways. Rebranding affects brand awareness, brand associations and brand loyalty. In addition, we identified that on many occasions, the negative effects of rebranding on brand equity are stronger than the positive effects. We also observed that although acknowledging the potential issues with stereotypical brands, consumers might not care about it in the end. Overall, we argue that listening to one’s own consumers and extensively analyzing the pros and cons of rebranding is the optimal approach for companies to successfully rebrand.
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