Rebranding a Legacy

By: Isel Longoria

Editor: Divya Thirunagari

On October 31, 2017, the New York Stock Exchange will say goodbye to Coach Incorporated’s stock ticker symbol (COH) and will say hello to TPR, for Tapestry Incorporated. The company announced the corporate rebranding last week.

For more than 70 years, Coach Inc. has been one of the top companies in the nation. New York-based, it’s best known as a leather and handbag goods corporation with a revenue of approximately 4.24 billion dollars. After the news broke about the rebranding, there were a broad range of reactions in regards to the change and much of it was on social media.

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For example, several individuals were confused about which name was going to be changed, with some people believing that the Coach brand would now be called Tapestry and their bags would be branded as such.

In an Reuters article, Chief Executive Officer of Coach Inc., Victor Luis, quickly attempted to rectify the situation.

The social media reaction is misplaced because people think we are changing the name of the Coach brand, which we are not doing. It’s really about creating a new corporate identity for Coach as a house of brands.

– Victor Luis, CEO of Coach Inc.

The corporation also addressed the confusion on social media:

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The company received negative feedback, not only on social media but also in the stock market. According to CNBC, shares of Coach decreased two percent in trading. Many people felt that the rebranding was destroying the iconic brand that had been successful for decades.

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So, what does this mean for the Coach brand now?

Was the sudden rebranding a good idea?

The reality is that Coach Incorporated is expanding and shaping its brand image to be more global and diverse. In 2015, Coach purchased Stuart Weitzman, a shoe brand, for 574 million dollars. Earlier this year, they acquired the Kate Spade brand for 2.4 billion dollars.

The purchase of these two high end brands was the core reason behind the sudden name change. There’s a big difference between being a brand focused on handbags and buying various companies with a range of products, so they tried to bridge the gap by trying a different approach to their corporate image. In spite of their intentions, the name ‘Tapestry’ doesn’t feel like it aligns with the company’s new approach.

Many posts on social media also expressed the same opinion:

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It’s extremely difficult for a well-established company like Coach Inc. to rebrand and move in a different direction after maintaining a strong brand image for decades. Luis mentioned the reason behind rebranding the corporate name was to reinvent Coach as an official house of brands.

This rebrand would have transitioned more smoothly if Coach Inc. had chosen a word that had a personal connection to the official brand that also could connect with Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. Only time will tell whether the greater audience will relate Tapestry to the Coach housing brand. For now, Tapestry just sounds like what it means.

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