Brand Repositioning and Types of Brand Repositioning

Brand Repositioning is changing the positioning of a brand. A particular positioning statement may not work with a brand.

For instance, Dettol toilet soap was positioned as a beauty soap initially. This was not in line with its core values. Dettol, the parent brand (anti-septic liquid) was known for its ability to heal cuts and gashes. The extension’s ‘beauty’ positioning was not in tune with the parent’s “germ-kill” positioning.

The soap, therefore, had to be repositioned as a “germ-kill” soap (“bath for grimy occasions”) and it fared extremely well after repositioning. Here, the soap had to be repositioned for image mismatch. There are several other reasons for repositioning. Often falling or stagnant sales is responsible for repositioning exercises. 

After examining the repositioning of several brands from the Indian market, the following 9 types of repositioning have been identified. These are:

  1. Increasing relevance to the consumer
  2. Increasing occasions for use
  3. Making the brand serious
  4. Falling sales
  5. Bringing in new customers
  6. Making the brand contemporary
  7. Differentiate from other brands
  8. Changed market conditions.


It is not always that these nine categories are mutually exclusive. Often one reason leads to the other and a brand is repositioned sometimes for a multiplicity of reasons.

Lipton Yellow Label Tea:

Lipton Yellow Label Tea was initially positioned as delicious, sophisticated and premium tea for the global citizen. The advertisements also echoed this theme. For instance, all the props and participants in the advertisements were foreign. It is possible that this approach did not find favour with the customers. The repositioning specifically addressed the Indian consumer through an Indian idiom.

Maharaja – the positioning:

Dishwasher in its initial Stages was possibly seen as an exotic product. Thus, Maharaja positioned it as a product aimed at the upper crust. Thus, the positioning statement was “your guests get Swiss cheese, Italian Pizza …… you get stained glassware.” But Indians are reluctant to use dishwashers because of deeply embedded cultural reasons. Thus, the message had to be changed to appeal to the Indian housewife. Thus the positioning was changed to “Bye, Bye Kanta Bai” indicating that the dishwasher signaled the end of the servant maid’s tyranny. The brand, therefore, was repositioned from a sophisticated, aristocratic product to one that is functional and relevant to the Indian housewife.

Visa Card – the Positioning:

Visa Card had to change its positioning to make itself relevant to customers under changed circumstances. Initially it asked the customer to “pay the way the world does” (1981). This is to give its card an aura of global reach. But as more and more cards were launched on the same theme, to put itself in a different league, it positioned itself as the “world’s most preferred card” (1993). To highlight the services it provided, it shifted to the platform of “Visa Power” (1995). This focus on explaining the range of services available with the card continues till date (Visa Power, go get it).

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