Sometimes a company rebrands at a time of its choosing. A good example of a well-planned and well-executed rebranding is Norwich Union’s change to Aviva. In textbook style, Aviva used the considerable resources at its disposal to run high-profile TV, press and online adverts to communicate the change. It also continued with the old Norwich Union brand, allowing customers and stakeholders time to get used to the new Aviva name.
Unlike Aviva, sometimes a rebranding becomes necessary as a result of events beyond your control. Gresham PR’s mining client, now called GGG Resources PLC, but formerly known as Central China Goldfields PLC, responded to ‘events’.
Having listed its shares on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM in 2005, Central China Goldfields’ mission was to find gold and other valuable mineral deposits in China. But as these things fall out, its main discovery happened to be in western not central China, and the huge deposit it discovered was copper not gold.
Even so, this didn’t trigger the rebranding. The rebranding resulted from the Chinese government making an opportunistic cash offer in late 2008 for its giant copper deposit, an offer the company felt it had to accept during the credit crunch and the collapse of the financial markets.
After selling its copper project, Central China Goldfields no longer had any assets, gold or otherwise, in any part of China. It left China completely, banked the cash and looked for a transformative new asset. In February 2010, the company found just the asset it wanted. It acquired a 50 per cent interest in a former gold mine in Australia. This became the trigger point for the rebranding.
During the rebranding process, the mining firm wanted to retain some connection with its past. After all, its copper discovery was one of the world’s largest, and therefore it didn’t want to lose the kudos attached to such a find. It solved this problem rather elegantly by changing its name to that of its AIM stock ticker ‘GGG‘.
In fact, those close to the company already referred to it as GGG, this being less of a mouthful than Central China Goldfields. A lesson it also learnt was that a name should offer flexibility. Under its old name, it was rather limited to looking for a single metal in a single country. The name GGG gives it plenty of scope.
Having less to spend than Aviva on the rebranding, designers for a new corporate image were picked who were based in Australia, these being keener priced than their equivalents in the UK.
GGG’s design brief called for branding both modern yet timeless, and which befits a company that intends to grow quickly from a junior explorer to a medium-sized gold producer in a little over two years. Despite a tight budget, the designers amply fulfilled the brief.
On 9 August 2010, its shareholders approved the company’s new name at its Annual General Meeting. The next day, the new branding was rolled out in a new website and new marketing materials including business cards.
GGG has recently appointed a major new broker in Australia, seen its share price quadruple over the last year, and is now on course to dual list its shares down under before Christmas.
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