France's far-right party, The Front National recently rebranded. It even changed its name to Rassemblement National. It is the first time since its foundation in 1972 that this party rebranded itself. Why did the party undertake such a drastic change of image?
It takes a long time for a brand to become a household name at a national level. As the saying goes, if something isn't broken, don't fix it. Something must definitely be broken to justify such a radical rebranding.
Rebranding a large organisation like a political party is an expensive and intricate process. So this is a decision that the Front National probably didn't take lightly.
It is no secret that the current leader; Marine Le Pen; struggled for years to reform the party. Historically, the Front National has been a protest extremist party with no real capabilities of winning office. Marine Le Pen tried to transform the party into a well-run political machine. Her goal was to have a better chance of winning a Presidential election one day. However, over the years many many critics have argued that the Front National never changed. To many, it is still a very radical movement with a sulfurous past.
Appealing to people's aspirations to convince them to take action, as politicians do, is fundamentally a branding exercise.
The main reason behind the rebranding is Marine Le Pen's wish not to remain associated with the Front National's history. It is a radical move in trying to change the party's image among French voters.
A political party's image is key to winning votes. Its brand is its 'raison d'être' at a core level.
Appealing to people's aspirations to convince them to take action, as politicians do, is fundamentally a branding exercise. Many businesses probably wish for their clients and employees to become raving and loyal fans.
Ultimately, businesses with a reputable brand carve a niche for themselves and feel less under pressure to compete on price. It is actually the opposite: well-known brands always charge more than lesser-known ones. This holds true in the B2B sector as it does in the B2C sector.
However, some businesses still don't take their brand seriously. They believe that branding is only for large corporations such as Apple or Coca-Cola and that they don't need to build and nurture their brand. Every business or organisation has a brand, whether they look after it or not. Companies investing in their brand get an instant competitive edge in their marketplace. They do something that most of their competitors don't and increase their visibility.
There are many reasons why organisations rebrand. It can be updating an outdated image or attracting a wider audience. However, the goal is always the same: to become and remain leaders in their field for many years to come. So next time you look at your business plan's five years goals, ask yourself if your current branding will help or hinder you in achieving these big hairy goals. Maybe a radical change of image is in order.