On Rebranding

This headline on a Twitter tweet caught my attention this morning: «The ISIS view of Jabhat al-Nusra’s rebranding». It was accompanied by an image of a purported al-Nusra terrorist wearing a headband or keffiyeh adorned with the American stars and stripes.

But, «rebranding«? What a strange world. Decades ago, my old law firm, Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges, decided it was time to rebrand. Thousands of dollars were spent on a consultant and the firm’s partners were deluged with various phrases and terms from which to choose intended to rebrand the firm. Ultimately, It all came to naught. It was a waste of money, time and energy.

More recently, while I was at California State University, the chancellor decided it was time to rebrand. A new logo and color scheme were created, dollars were spent, and consultants were likely engaged. Colorful post-it pads were distributed and at least we were able to use them. But I do not think the rebranding accomplished very much for the institution.

Perhaps rebranding will help al-Nusra. It is apparently trying to distance itself from al Qaida these days. But I question whether its campaign will be any more successful than those I described above.

Meanwhile, I find it strange or worse that what we used to call, decades ago, Madison Avenue advertising techniques have seriously infected the worlds of education, legal services, and, now, terrorism.

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