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Corporate rebranding: destroying, transferring or creating brand equity?

Laurent Muzellec (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Mary Lambkin (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




Companies changing their brand names are frequently reported in the business press but this phenomenon has as yet received little academic attention. This paper sets out to understand the drivers of the corporate rebranding phenomenon and to analyse the impact of such strategies on corporate brand equity.

Design/methodology/ approach

A cross‐sectional sample of 166 rebranded companies provides descriptive data on the context in which rebranding occurs. Two case studies provide further detail on how the process of rebranding is managed.


The data show that a decision to rebrand is most often provoked by structural changes, particularly mergers and acquisitions, which have a fundamental effect on the corporation's identity and core strategy. They also suggest that a change in marketing aesthetics affects brand equity less than other factors such as employees' behaviour.

Research linitations/implications

The paper proposes a conceptual model to integrate various dimensions of corporate rebranding. Analysing the rebranding phenomenon by assessing the leverage of brand equity from one level of the brand hierarchy to the other constitutes an interesting route for further research.

Practical implications

Managers are reminded that corporate rebranding needs to be managed holistically and supported by all stakeholders, with particular attention given to employees' reactions.


This paper is of value to anybody seeking to understand the rebranding phenomenon, including academics and business managers.



Muzellec, L. and Lambkin, M. (2006), "Corporate rebranding: destroying, transferring or creating brand equity?", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 40 No. 7/8, pp. 803-824.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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