The concept of re-positioning a product or brand with consumers is a challenge businesses face for different reasons: they may want to change the view consumers have of the business; take the business in a new direction; or attract new markets to generate demand.

The public perception of a brand may be affected by many different things.  A tourism expert has said that Skegness, an East Yorkshire seaside town, should change its name to boost its image.  David Harper, from Leisure Property Services, said the town suffered from a bad reputation and needed to be re-branded to attract a wealthier market.  He proposed that changing its name would be a cost effective way of reinventing the town as part of a complete re-marketing campaign. (BBC, 19th January 2012)

Hi-Tec, the sports footwear business, is well-known for its high technology sports shoes.  However, more recently, its promotional activities have been focused on changing and expanding consumer perceptions of the Hi-Tec brand, demonstrating that its footwear can be part of a wider outdoor lifestyle.  Hi-Tec’s viral marketing campaign, Liquid Mountaineering, was a subtle but fun way of highlighting how all Hi-Tec footwear benefits from its ground-breaking technologies – making the shoes both lightweight and waterproof.

The use of a viral marketing campaign not only allowed YouTube viewers of the video to form their own opinions, but also provided a self-generating form of promotion as they shared the video online, enabling Hi-Tec’s message to reach consumers more widely and quickly than traditional advertising.

For Skegness, the simple act of changing the town’s name is unlikely to change perceptions by itself.  Councillor Adam Grist said: ‘The suggestion that changing the name would solve all the problems in one fell swoop is a ridiculous suggestion.  Hundreds and thousands of people visit Skegness every summer because of the idea that it is a traditional British resort and everything that offers,’ he said.

Nigel Tett, from the Skegness, East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association, said: ‘Skegness is one of the most recognised names within this country and that is borne out by Visit England who say Skegness and Lincoln are two of the main attractors within this part of the world.’

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