Posted on October 1st, 2013 by PM+CO Team

Filed under: Industry News, New Branding

Branding your company and products took time?

So now it’s time to debrand them! 


One of the major marketing trends we’ve seen this summer has been the use of personalization in major brand packaging. The success of Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, in which the brand name was replaced by popular first names, has led to a lot of head scratching. What was it about this campaign that made it work so well?

The answer: The red and white company adopted what is called a debranding strategy.

The term ‘debranding’ refers to the practice of eliminating the brand name from products or marketing activities. This strategy is becoming a popular way for companies to differentiate themselves or extend their business. Dropping a well-known company name from a product or marketing activity might seem counterintuitive, but some businesses are employing this strategy to make their companies appear less corporate, more personal and more forward-thinking. However this strategy has some limitations and you should be aware that it can only be adopted in some cases. You must have an iconic brand and elements that are totally well-known such as a logo, a package and a color.

The foundation of this strategy is brand maturity. The brand saturation must have reached the point where people are seeing it everywhere.

Nike was one of the first brands to face this issue and then resolve it with a debranding strategy. The brand has moved away from using its name, preferring just the ‘swoosh’ logo.

Another well-known company using debranding is the Starbucks Coffee Company. Before Coca-Cola, it was the first to experiment with personalization. In an attempt to position itself as a friendly local coffee shop, the ‘Starbucks’ name was removed from coffee cups, leaving only the siren symbol. By asking customers their names, and writing them on its takeaway cups, the service became more personal and less corporate.

Obviously, Coke or Starbucks are strong candidates for debranding, because even with the removal of their names or their logos, their signatures are still emblematic and immediately recognizable. We must admit that the debranding strategy could not work with a brand that didn’t already have a significant amount of equity behind it. So, would smaller companies be overstepping to attempt this? We think yes. But the trend for more ‘silent’ or ‘quiet’ branding can be an antidote to the busy and frequently branded world in which we live in.

What is important to keep in mind is that a logo doesn’t equal a brand. Nowadays, brand experience is key. There is less of a need for overt branding or labeling: the experience can speak for itself.


I'd like to receive the 4-day email course.

Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply


You need to log in to vote

The blog owner requires users to be logged in to be able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.