Comet Electricals – Rebranding

Comet, the electrical goods retailer owned by Kesa  Electricals, has initiated its new marketing plan: corporate rebranding. Unlike product rebranding, corporate rebranding aims to alter a company’s values, reputation and consumers’ perceptions – not altering their products sold. As a broad strategy to convey a more laid-back attitude, to be successful a number of specific tactical decisions have been made: a new white and orange logo, “Come and Play” slogan, casual staff uniforms and open floor plans for up to 100 of it’s 250 UK stores. Moreover, above-the-line promotion, in the form of TV advertisements, will help raise awareness of the new image among consumers. But, given the high levels of competitiveness in their retail sector, one has to ask if this change is large enough to have any meaningful impact on sales.

This strategy, which is a response to increased levels of competition from Dixons and Best Buy, could be classified as a loose form of market penetration; they see the best form of increasing their competitiveness is sticking to what they know while minimising the risk of alienating existing customers. This may be of particular importance to the company given the level of trust needed in a brand for consumers to spend large amounts of money on electrical goods – for instance, good customer service is expected to involve installation and easy returns – during a recession. Hence, it is likely that the strategy is a response to change Comet to fit consumers needs, who are more fearful, rather than transform the company as a result of internal influences.

Although the aforementioned changes may seem insignificant, they appear to be coherent and consistent in their direction, which means that all these small factors could have a big impact on their sales revenue. It may be likely that customers become more encouraged to purchase ‘fun’ electrical goods – T.Vs, games consoles and computers – in addition to household appliances. As Maclcolm Gladwell argues, ‘The Power of Context’ – the external environment that influences decision-making – may provide the tipping-point or the small difference between a sale; hence, if a small difference is made to each customer at every store, a large difference can be made to revenue.

Despite this impact of rebranding, I do have one issue with their strategy: that is the change of uniform. Although, the current staff uniform of suits is out-dated and cheesy – also a warning sign of a dodgy salesperson – the proposed uniform does not command respect either. Moreover, the pastel colours do not connote knowledge, experience or trust that customers look for in employees; consumer relationship marketing is most effective when an actual, human relationship can be formed. Also, is this really enough to transform sales in a poor economy, one in which competitors are also fighting for market share?

The rebranding strategy is, evidently, a crucial one for Comet. And, because they aim to have transformed themselves in time for Christmas, strict control over the marketing plan is vital to establishing a new image – something which can take businesses a very long time to achieve…

© Joshua Blatchford author of Manifested Marketing 13/09/2010

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1 Comment

  1. It is a great place to look for electrical gadgets for your home. They offer lot of cools stuff from dishwashers to TV sets.


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