Goodbye 'Reckitt Benckiser,' Hello 'RB'

Package-Goods Company Unveils Global Rebranding Effort

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Reckitt Benckiser, the Anglo-Dutch company whose market performance for years has bested bigger and better-known peers, is launching a global digital campaign Thursday to address its brand-awareness deficit and start the shift to a simpler "RB" logo.

RB campaign

A digital campaign from Havas' Euro RSCG and Omnicom Group's OMD, both in London, breaks Thursday. The campaign focuses heavily on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as global ad networks. Reckitt didn't disclose spending but hopes to reach 70% to 85% of its target of professionals ages 22 to 32 around the world.

The effort, which focuses on the U.S., U.K., Brazil, India, Russia and Germany, dovetails with the company's launch of a new corporate brand: RB. The letters will replace use of the full Reckitt Benckiser name rapidly, similar to the pace of conversions of such U.S. brands as Wizard and Electrasol to global equivalents Airwick and Finish, respectively, in recent years.

"We've really led our peer group the past five years on top and bottom-line growth and yet really nobody knows us at all," said Andraea Dawson-Shepherd, global corporate affairs director, who's spearheading the effort. "That means if you're looking for potential partners and certainly the up and rising talent, we're a 'who are they?' type of company."

A global survey of the company's name recognition last year was humbling, she said, putting it at a mid-teens percentage, even in the U.K., its home country. The company is best known in India, where it's made more effort at corporate branding.

The new RB handle also aims to get the company past a name that's difficult for people to spell and say in much of the world, and from a tendency even among people who know it to refer to it as Reckitt. The company was formed from the late 1990s merger of Britain's Reckitt & Colman and the Dutch Benckiser, with the corporate culture today deriving largely from the Dutch side, executives said.

The Facebook campaign is a contest with a $5,000 prize asking people to upload videos describing a product they want to market and recounting why they made the decisions they did. Ads to run on global ad networks aim to be interactive, too, setting out a problem with a series of solutions from which to choose, which shows the value the company places on quick decision-making, Ms. Dawson-Shepherd said.

For now, the campaign and logo won't be highlighted in ads or on packaging, she said, "but you never say never." RB chose digital for the effort, she said, because so many more of its young target get their news that way rather than in print.

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