The name Matthew Lewis might not mean that much to you – but Neville Longbottom probably will. Whether or not you’re an avid Harry Potter fan you probably remember the character of Neville Longbottom, the goofy geek who was just never quite in with the cool gang and yet still proved to have a good heart and a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Fan hysteria around the male members of the cast has traditionally focused on Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Robert Pattinson (at least at the point when it didn’t feel indecent to do so) but over the past six months its been the actor who played Neville who has suddenly landed in the spotlight.
The reason? Well Matthew Lewis has gone through something of a transformation – from geeky kid to bona fide heart throb – and it’s sent the internet wild. If you Google Matthew Lewis these are some of the kinds of hits you will get: “Neville Longbottom Continues To Seduce Us With His Wily Wizard Ways.” “Hot Damn! Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis Shows Off Six-Pack Abs and Bulging Biceps: See the Pics” and “Ten points to Gryffindor! Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis showcases his transformation from geeky Neville Longbottom to dashing hunk in new shoot.” Have a look at the images that come up and you won’t recognise the chiseled hunk who appears where the goofy geek was before.
What Matthew Lewis has done is essentially the perfect rebrand and his transformation can offer some lessons to businesses looking to do the same.
Many a rebrand is half hearted, perhaps an attempt at some improvement or simply a cover up job to disguise the less attractive elements and enhance those that are more appealing. Matthew Lewis, however, has gone the whole hog – the overall aesthetic is a media friendly combo of hipster meets sophisticate.
Lesson: don’t cut corners. Identify your audience and give them what they want.
No longer just a personification of a much loved fictional character, Matthew Lewis is now a heart throb too. Which will come in useful for everything from endorsements and press attention through to the kinds of roles he’s likely to be offered as a result.
Lesson: aim high – and broad. There’s no point in a rebrand unless it increases your reach.
What’s the point in investing all that effort on a rebrand if you don’t then go out and shout about it? From magazine interviews, to a lively twitter account and lots (and lots) of half naked Instagram snaps, all that investment is out there and being worked to the max.
Lesson: when you rebrand be ready to capitalise on it.
Other than not going far enough, one of the worst things you can do with a rebrand is to go too far. Matthew Lewis may now be ‘hot totty’ (not my words) but he isn’t being gratuitous, overly attention seeking (for the social media generation at least) or over the top.
Lesson: don’t be desperate. Aim for a better version of what you were before rather than something you’re not.