Want to re-brand as subversive? Irreverent… Bring me Iron Man!

You can tell from the video clip that Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC, has given a lot of thought to re-branding. It is not just their big money commitment to movie star Robert Downey Jr. to help them bring greater brand awareness in a very crowded market here in the United States. But really look at the clip. Even in its short form, it is clear HTC is tipping its hand at a long and lengthy re-branding campaign based around the two values,  subversive and irreverent. They even start by mocking their own name!

I think this is an interesting approach. Clearly with Blackberry on its seemingly ever long fade into brand history, HTC has Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and Android to try and distinguish themselves from, among others. And to make that distinguish for the smartphone dollar, first thing they would need to do would be to do with this ad is doing, which is rebrand in some way that gives HTC its own unique character and value. Let’s face it, it does not matter how crowded the mobile phone market is, both in the US and worldwide. This is the primary access tool to media now for most of the world, outstripping computers, televisions, etc. by a long shot. So to have a brand in the market that builds a unique character, as well as incurs the loyalty of a customer base, is a mandate that no cellphone manufacturer can overlook.

Look back to Blackberry’s attempts to relaunch itself a year ago to see a study in how not to re-brand. I can’t imagine their re-branding in fact made much of impression on anyone but their core users who somehow wanted to believe Blackberry could be seen in a new light.

As a pitch man for your product, it would be hard to top Robert Downey Jr. He’s got a perfect pedigree at this moment to help take a brand to a next level.

Good strategic move. The interesting part now will be how they build on this good idea, and start to use this new re-branding campaign to build loyalty among their users.