The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Category: Brand Architecture
We are happy to answer marketing questions of all types here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today we hear from Jose, a Chief Marketing Officer in Chicago, Illinois who writes…
“I have a question regarding the measurement of negative and positive impact sub-brands may have on each other and the master brand. I understand there are different methodologies such as BCM and factor analysis that can help me understand key associations for a particular brand relative to competitors, but they do not highlight the specific impact sub-brands may have on each other. What methods would you recommend to better understand the full impact?”
Thank you for your question, Jose. I would approach this in one of two ways:
1. PRE & POST: First, I would seek perceptions of the master brand. This could include reaction to a battery of predefined associations (rating them on a five-point scale) or open-ended responses or both. Next, I would present an ad form concept that links the new sub-brand to the master brand. Then, I would seek perceptions of the master brand again. Finally, I would note any changes in master brand perception pre and post-exposure to the ad form concept.
2. SPLIT CELL: I would seek the responses of two demographically/psychographically identical groups. One group would provide perceptions of the master brand without any exposure to the new sub-brand (again, through a battery of predefined associations, open-ended responses or both). The other group would first be exposed to an ad form concept that links the new sub-brand to the master brand and then be asked to provide perceptions of the master brand. In this case, you would identify the differences in responses between the two cells.Read More
Once a brand has been established, it is difficult for people to give it up. They become emotionally attached to it. It may even be a source of self-esteem and personal pride. They invent a variety of excuses for why it should never go away.
The people I am talking about are not the brand’s customers or consumers but rather its creators and caretakers.
Often, brands create as much or more of an emotional connection with the people who manage them as they do with the people to whom they are marketed. Therein lies the problem with organizations that are skillful and prolific at creating new brands or that have grown through numerous mergers and acquisitions.
The Blake Project has been retained by many an organization that needs to simplify its portfolio of brands. The complex brand structure usually results in increased complexity, cost and customer confusion. However, the brands are entangled in so many ways with their individual support systems, including their dedicated managers and teams, that they are very difficult to terminate.
How likely is it that the person who created the brand or currently manages the brand will say, “yes, my brand should go away’? Not only does that person understand the brand’s equity, consumer franchise and complex expressions but that person’s ego, and perhaps livelihood, also depends on the brand’s survival.Read More
We regularly answer questions from marketers here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today we hear from Tammy, a Vice President of Marketing in Knoxville, Tennessee who has this brand architecture issue…
“Background: We went through an extensive corporate branding initiative around 2006-2007. A corporate brand strategy was developed but they did not dive into product brands it was more of a corporate branding strategy at a high level. A monolithic approach was recommended and many new products do follow this trend. However, no migration strategy was put in place to move endorsed brands under our corporate brand name. We have also had numerous acquisitions over past few years in support of our corporate growth strategy that do not fall within the original strategy. We have moved into the B2C space with more of a shadow-endorsed product. We have recently made our largest acquisition to date. Their portfolio of products have high market share, strong brand awareness and complement our portfolio. This acquisition also supports our move as a company to be a more specialized company.
However, their brand strategy is completely different from our brand strategy. They have made many acquisitions over the years and because their brand wasn’t strong they led with a product brand strategy many of which have little to no connection to the parent brand. Many of their brands have changed hands multiple times over the years, the one constant has been the brand names. Many of their brands are more B2C while most of the brands in our heritage portfolio are B2B.
Challenges: We are now faced with a significant challenge to integrate these brands into our brand portfolio and develop a brand portfolio strategy that supports our business strategy of growth through both acquisitions as well as organically, and supports and helps us achieve the vision to become a more specialized company. In the process we will also be reviewing our heritage brands to decide where they fit, what roles they play, and how to clarify and simplify our brand portfolio. We are looking to clean up the heritage brands, integrate the acquired brands, and provide clarity and synergy across our brand portfolio. What approach do you recommend?”Read More
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. This is our reason for being. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Robert, a Vice President of Marketing in Chicago, Illinois who writes…
“The insurance company for which I work recently acquired a much smaller, established company out of state to allow for geographic diversification into new markets. We don’t want to immediately rebrand everything to the parent company brand, but also don’t plan to keep using the acquired company’s brand as a DBA name much beyond a transition period that allows agents and policyholders to get used to the new company brand. Are there some broad strategies or rules of thumb about how and how quickly to morph from one brand to another?”
Thanks for your question Robert. Assuming you have already made the decision to transition all acquisitions to your brand’s name, the key thing is to communicate each transition in a way that the acquired brand’s target audiences have heard about the transition at least 7 to 12 times before it is fully executed. In this way, they will associate the new name and identity with the former name and identity.
This can be accomplished through communication or by that and linking the two names/identities for a period of time. For instance, you can render the acquired brand as a sub-brand of your brand or it can be endorsed by your brand for perhaps a year or two before the acquired brand is dropped and replaced by your brand. On the side of caution, I would also explore any associations the acquired brand’s target audiences have with your brand’s name/identity just in case there are any negative or confusing associations that need to be addressed prior to the transition.Read More
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, we’re taking another question from the BSI Emailbag. John, a Chief Marketing Officer in New York, New York asks…
“My company has acquired another organization, which has its own family of brands. What implications will this have on my brand and my brand management efforts?”
There are product and branding implications, both of which you should have considered before the acquisition. (There are also organization-alignment issues, which are beyond the scope of this response.)
For instance, there might be product overlap. What do you intend to do about that? Is the acquired organization in unrelated product/service categories, complementary product/service categories or the same product/service categories? If the latter, how much product/service overlap is there and will you rationalize the offerings to reduce or eliminate the overlap?
The next set of questions are branding related. For the brands that your organization purchased, do you intend to maintain them as separate brands, brands endorsed by one or more of your brands or sub-brands of one or more of your brands or do you intend to rebrand them with your brand names? The relative strength of all of the brands in question should at least inform this decision. Do the brands have high awareness and positive associations among their target markets? If they do and you are purchasing them, part of the price you paid is likely to be for the value of the brands themselves. In this instance, it would unwise to eliminate these brands, at least in the short-term.
If your intent is to eventually rebrand everything with your brands’ names, then you might consider a transition period in which the acquired brands are linked to the acquiring brands before they are eliminated.
Brand architecture decisions, especially related to mergers and acquisitions, can be complicated. We would be happy to guide you through this process. Thanks again for your question John, we wish you much success with your brand architecture strategy.
For brand marketers interested in more on brand architecture start here.
Have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project
Sponsored by: The Brand Architecture Workshop
Join us at The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn