Livestrong’s Bold Re-branding Strategy
In the competitive world of not-for-profit, the rules of brand apply just as they do in the corporate universe. As cycling’s black sheep Lance Armstrong continues to discover his personal brand, tarnished by drug cheating, continues to be cut-loose from the organisations who previously leveraged it so enthusiastically. The most recent, most graphic and I’m sure most heart rending for Armstrong has been the re-branding of his own Livestrong Foundation, which has seen his name removed from the brand.
There are few global not for profit brands so closely associated with their founder, and even fewer who have had to develop a brand strategy for taking flight and moving-on without that association. But that has been the challenge for Livestrong. In their favor has been the development of a number of strong brand assets that have immense equity in the market – including; the brand name ‘Livestrong’, the yellow and black brand colour palette and the now iconic yellow rubber Livestrong wrist bands. The strength of these visual language brand assets have provided the solid foundation for creating a new ‘Lance Free’ brand to launch the foundation on the next phase of its life.
The original brand mark (below) leveraged the Lance Armstrong name and fame.
The new brand mark (below) sans Lance, re-focusses on the powerful Livestrong brand name.
Just as important in the re-branding process is a brand strategy that provides the story telling around why the change has been made and where the organisation is headed from here. ‘The Livestrong isn’t about one person…’ thought is a great solution that takes the challenge and turns it into a positive statement to transition the brand. When managing any brand under pressure, the ability to focus on a greater purpose is an effective way to re-set the brand strategy both internally and externally. Critical to success is a fresh focus compelling enough to engage, capture imagination and draw people to follow.
With this re-brand Livestrong have done an extraordinarily good job of successfully traversing the challenging brand waters they found themselves in. For Lance, I’m afraid it’s yet another hit to his personal brand, and this one is sure to have hurt.