Lost in translation: Borrowing brand equity

June 12, 2013

A well-managed message and identity can be muddled when a brand redefines, reimages, or otherwise recreates itself. Retaining brand equity through brand evolutions is a challenge.

A change in a brand identity has purpose behind it. There are instigating factors pushing towards a new look or communications platform. It’s the execution part where the process can go a bit off-kilter.

News Corp is a solid example of how identity updates can get complicated quickly during updates and revisions. The upcoming split creates 21st Century Fox (managing the entertainment properties including 20th Century Fox) and updating the News Corp image.

Splitting the two divisions clearly and decisively better delineates which part manages which properties. Hopefully the bad blood some consumers hold towards News Corp can start to be washed away under the more balanced corporate structure.

The updated News Corp logo is derived from Rupert Murdoch’s handwriting, working to leverage that brand equity in the revamped identity. The 21st Century Fox identity and messaging is different than its product brand 20th Century Fox.

Over time, a more defined clarification of corporate brand verses product brand should occur. Initial knee-jerk reactions have been negative, due to confusion over whether 21st Century Fox was replacing 20th Century Fox, which it is not.

Once that confusion is resolved, it’ll be interesting to see how the restructured News Corp handles its trimmed down identity. It’s important to keep in mind that, generally, first reactions to any kind of change tend to be a bit negative and those feelings may grow more favorable over time as we become more familiar with the new identity.

Do you believe the restructuring of News Corp will help or hinder the various divisions, segments, and brands? What other corporate splits and restructuring efforts come to mind for you? Any companies that have done it right? How about ones that fell short of the mark?

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