Debenhams shows fighting spirit with new brand identity
As crisis continues to unfold at House of Fraser and Fenwick announces plans to cut more than 400 jobs following a 93% slump in pre-tax profits, it’s fair to say these are challenging times for the department store.
Hoping to buck the trend is Debenhams, which on Monday unveiled a new brand identity, the first revamp of its logo for nearly 20 years. Created by Mother Design, the new identity is intended to act as a visual expression of the change taking place within the organisation.
It comes complete with a cheeky social-focused campaign inviting people with an unashamed love of shopping to ‘Do a bit of Debenhams’. The idea is to use social and digital for the big broadcast messages and print to communicate the breadth of Debenhams’ offer. Some three million Debenhams brochures will be inserted into titles such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, You magazine, Metro and Marie Claire.
The consumer-facing campaign and new brand identity are the outward expression of an ongoing internal project known as Debenhams Redesigned, which builds on the company’s aspirations to become a destination retailer, dial up its digital business and find a point of difference.
Communicating that change is afoot, while building brand love is at the heart of the whole campaign, explained Debenhams managing director of beauty and marketing, Richard Cristofoli. Rather than being phased by the tough times on the high street, he believes the only option is to show some fighting spirit.
“At times like this my firm belief is you’ve got to come out fighting and that’s what we’re doing,” he explained. “We’re coming out saying ‘we are changing, there’s a lot happening here, there’s more to come’.”
John Lewis and Waitrose’s strategic rebrands
Debenhams isn’t the only retailer rebranding this week; John Lewis and Waitrose unveiled their rebrands to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners and launched their first joint marketing campaign as they look to make a bigger deal of what they see as their main point of different: their partnership business model.
This is more than just a cosmetic fix, however. The rebrand has two audiences: the first is the partners who John Lewis and Waitrose are hoping to galvanise in the face of job cuts and declining bonuses. The second is consumers, which they hope will see the more altruistic nature of the brands and shop there more often.
That John Lewis and Waitrose were kept separate has always seemed like a missed opportunity. There are clear cost savings to be made by working together and a halo effect to be had by aligning the two brands. Let’s just hope it doesn’t mean even more weepy Christmas ads.