On 16th January 2017, Juventus football club partnered with international brand consultants, Interbrand, to unleash upon the world its new brand identity. This marked a move from the historic football club to a premium lifestyle brand. It was an ambitious change, especially when considering the relatively unchanged and traditional nature of the club's branding for the past century.
At the time, many articles noted a significant backlash from football fans and traditionalists who deemed the rebrand soulless and unwelcome. However, since then, Juve as a brand has thrived and shirt sales have more than doubled – largely attributed to the 2018 signing of Christiano Ronaldo.
WHY DO BRANDS CHANGE?
Juventus’ brand evolution was a success. However, the old adage comes to mind “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” and it would be difficult to describe Juve’s previous brand identity as broken. It worked, but it worked as a football club and Juve saw themselves as something greater.
The reality of branding is much like the world of Alice in Wonderland, where to stay in the same place, you must run as fast as you can, and in order to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that. Juventus decided to not just stay in the same place but to run twice as fast to increase their market share and secure their place for the future.
HOW DOES BRANDING CREATE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE?
The rebrand gave Juventus a competitive edge by creating a distinction in its marketplace and differentiating it from its competitors. Looking at Serie A badges, you see an ocean of oval and shield designs that emphasise heritage and past achievements. Juve’s new badge breaks the mould and tells consumers that it is offering something more. Professionally designed branding ensures you communicate more effectively with customers, prospects and other stakeholders and helps you make a profitable connection with your target audience. It lets them know what you do better than anyone else. A consistent and unified brand approach can change or shape perceptions in the marketplace and give you a competitive advantage.
HOW DOES BRANDING GROW YOUR MARKET SHARE?
Juventus used branding to increase its market share by positioning itself as more than just a football club. In this case, branding was used to change consumers' perceptions of what they expect from a football team. In the past, supporters would come to Juve to purchase the predicted range of products any football club would supply. Positioning Juve as a premium lifestyle brand increased their market from football fans looking for football merchandise to anyone in the general public looking for premium sportswear.
Repositioning through branding is a powerful tool any business can use to attract their preferred type of client or customer.
HOW DOES BRANDING FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS?
When you buy a house, regular maintenance and upkeep are expected, otherwise, it will become dilapidated and uninhabitable. The same is true for brands.
It is the responsibility of all businesses to regularly revitalise their image in order to stay relevant and attractive in the minds of consumers.
Juventus predicted a change in market demand and decided to go above and beyond this regular maintenance to establish itself as a premium lifestyle brand before the market forced it to change.
A rebranding will deliver a plan for success, taking your business to where you really want it to be, ensuring you are moving in the right direction. It can assure you to deliver on your company's strategic objectives by giving your business a direction for the future.
Juventus identified inconsistencies with its current positioning, it used branding to challenge consumers' perceptions of the club. It took the leap from 'just another football club' to a premium lifestyle brand to create a distinction, grow its market share and safeguard the business from the future.
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here