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Description of Unbranding. Explanation.



Definition Unbranding. Description.

Unbranding is the Brand Management practice in which the use of a brand by a firm is reduced or discontinued. Typically because the brand has developed negative associations in the media and/or among consumers, or hoping to escape the consequences of inferior products / services or some illegal activities. Unbranding may or may not happen in favor of a new brand.


Companies typically invest large amounts of money in Branding and Positioning, mostly for good reason. Brands and their manifestations (names, logos, graphics, sounds, slogans, packaging, etc.) have the power to elicit a connection in the mind of customers to the products and services they represent.

Because of this connection brands are among the most valuable Relational Capital or Intangible Assets of any firm (See also: Brand Asset Valuator).

Brands are also one of the 7 classes of Strategic Risk mentioned by Slywotzky and Drzik. Unbranding can be seen as a subcategory of this risk class, besides brand erosion and brand collapse.

The importance of brands is the cause for several activities within most firms:

Unbranding is one form of rebranding in which the motivation is typically negative and/or non-voluntarily. Rebranding can also occur because of:

Rebranding and unbranding can happen at product, product line, divisional and/or corporate level in the brand hierarchy.

Depending on the level in this hierarchy and the scope of the rebranding effort, unbranding is an expensive and risky activity which should only be performed in case of a deeply and severely damaged brand reputation.

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