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Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Rebranding Doesn't Work

I recently came across a company where the IT Helpdesk had been internally rebranded and the name changed several times over the past 6 or 8 years.  The department first decided to eliminate the term “helpdesk” from their name because the internal customers had started referring to them as the “no-helpdesk.”  They later again changed the department name to “Internal Services for Information Technology” because they wanted to emphasize the service aspect of their role in the organization.  It wasn’t long before employees began referring to the department as “i-Shit” by adding an H into the acronym.  Does anyone else see the real issue here?
The problem was never with the department name.  The real issues were the processes and actions that created the negative connotations.  These were never fully addressed in the rebranding efforts.  Sure there was customer services training and service metrics were implemented.  But the department employees reverted back to their old behavior and found ways to push their service numbers because they were quantity driven and not quality ratings.  The attitude and culture of the department stayed the same, so they maintained the same level of customer service (or lack of it) they always had in the past.
So, long story short: we can change our terms and educate our employees or customers, but if we don’t change the processes then we’re wasting time and money in order to rebrand something that will sooner or later carry the connotation of the old brand again.  Because it’s the same thing.  And people are smart enough to figure that out.
Good rebranding does’t try to convince people that something isn’t what it really is.  Or that it is what it isn’t.  People can see through semantic games.  Certain cable and phone companies may want to save this post and re-read it from time to time.  I’m not mentioning any names because they will probably change them in their next rebranding effort, anyway.

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