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Category: Branding: Just Ask…

Branding: Just Ask...

Brand Architecture: Linking Sub-Brands


Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we’re happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Nafisa, a Vice President of Marketing in Khartoum, Sudan who writes…

 “I have a brand architecture question about creating the link between a sub brand and the holding company or group. What is the best or proper way to show that link in the logo, for example: 

(sub brand) from (parent brand) or (sub brand) part of (parent brand) group

 The objective is to clearly establish the relationship between the two brands while highlighting the parent brand as the holding company. Your advice is highly appreciated.”

Thank you for your question Nafisa. There is no one preferred way for a brand to be endorsed by its holding company or group. While many brands use the following phrases, there are notable exceptions: “A division of [parent brand],” “A subsidiary of [parent brand],” or “A [parent brand] company.” For instance Shoebox chose “A tiny little division of Hallmark” to imply a renegade or “skunk works” group loosely affiliated with Hallmark Cards.

They did this because Shoebox’s humor was much more edgy than the humor typically found on Hallmark cards at the time. When Raytheon bought the “Beechcraft” and “Hawker” aircraft brands (it subsequently sold both brands), it endorsed them with “Raytheon Aircraft Company.” I like this approach because it clarifies the exact nature of the relationship between the brands and what type of company the endorsed brands represent.

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Branding: Just Ask...

Moving A Brand Licensing Program In House


Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we’re happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Kim, a senior global brand manager in Los Angeles, California who writes…

“I’m frustrated with our brand licensing agency. The situation is the agency is not optimizing our program. The categories chosen are not reinforcing the brand’s positioning. The licensees are not fully exploiting their approved channels, limiting the distribution of the licensed product and the licensed products are not reflecting the brand’s attributes causing overall sales growth to languish and potentially damage the brand’s equity.
We are considering bringing the brand licensing program in house and discontinue agency relationships altogether, but first I want to understand the key factors needed to ensure a successful transition.”

Thanks for your question Kim.  Before making a switch you should have a good understanding of the following:

  • The pros and cons of managing a program in-house versus outsourcing to an agency
  • The players needed on a brand licensing team and their roles & responsibilities
  • The internal and external organizations that interact with the brand licensing function and what their roles & responsibilities are
  • The brand licensing process and how is it optimized within an organization
  • The area within the organization where the brand licensing function should reside and what resources are needed to build a best-in-class program
  • How to ramp up a brand licensing program and what would need to be accomplished in the first 90 days

There are good brand licensing agencies and consultants Kim, talk to other agencies and you’ll see what I mean.

Thanks for your question, we wish you much success with your brand licensing program.

For brand owners interested in brand licensing start here.

Have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

Sponsored byThe Brand Licensing Workshop

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As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn

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Brand Licensing Branding: Just Ask... Derrick Daye

Brand Licensing Strategy


Brand Licensing Strategy

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we're happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Kate, a business reporter for National Public Radio in Rochester, New York who writes…

"Kodak cameras and related products will be back in the marketplace this year, but they won't be made by Kodak. The photo pioneer stopped making digital cameras about a year ago. Now it is licensing its brand name to another camera maker. Please answer a few brand licensing questions for me."

1. What if any concern should Kodak have in licensing their brand?

As with all brand owners, Kodak should be aware that JK Imaging or any other licensee will have certain rights to the Kodak brand and through their licensing relationship, JK Imaging could adversely impact Kodak brand equity. This could result from the sale of poor quality products, the sale of the Kodak licensed products in an unauthorized channel or region, or from not ensuring the manufacturing facility used by JK Imaging complies with safe international working standards. To mitigate this risk, Kodak should have first vetted JK Imaging through a rigorous due diligence process to ensure JK Imaging can deliver against the Kodak brand promise in all products they manufacture. Second, Kodak should ensure they have a thorough approval and auditing process to affirm that all products sold in the marketplace meet their standards and that all facilities are compliant with government and trade guidelines. By picking a best in class brand licensee, Kodak will continue to reinforce their brand equities as they engage with consumers across all channels and regions where the brand is licensed.

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Brad VanAuken Branding: Just Ask...

Brand Strategy Sequence


Brand Strategy Laddering

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we're happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Pam, a brand manager in Cincinatti, Ohio who writes… 

"We have done a lot of consumer research recently to understand who our target is and what they see as key benefits for a brand we are about to launch. I need some help now pulling together my branding plan and getting internal buy in. Can you offer some brand strategy advice?"

Thanks for your question Pam, we're happy to help. Having carefully defined your target markets, done your research and determined the most important customer benefits puts you in a very good position. Now it is time to focus on the top one, or at most, two benefits that are highly important to your target customers and unique to your brand. They should be emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefits or even shared values with your customers. If you are still at the functional level with your brand's benefits, you need to ladder up to an emotional and shared values level.

Once you arrive at this, then it is time to communicate it outwardly through your brand's identity, including its name, logo, tagline and general look and feel. It is also time to create your brand's story and communicate it consistently through a brand elevator speech (employees can articulate) and marketing communication. But, perhaps most importantly, it is time to make sure everything your brand does deliver's on its promise. This can be done by deliberately and thoughtfully developing brand promise proof points at each point of customer contact and by creating new points of customer contact.

Finally, you will need to develop a plan that helps you focus your brand's resources on the most important drivers of customer brand insistence – awareness, relevant differentiation, value, accessibility and emotional connection. The best way to get internal buy-in is through leadership team consensus-building workshops throughout the branding process and a carefully thought-through internal brand communication and education plan. 

Thanks for your question Pam, I wish you much success in your brand building efforts.

Do you have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop and The Brand Storytelling Workshop

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Brad VanAuken Branding: Just Ask...

Revitalizing A Damaged Brand


Brand Strategy Zicam

Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Malcolm from Rockville, Maryland writes: 

"I’m an editor for a trade magazine covering the pharmaceutical and consumer health care product markets. I’m working on a story about a cold product brand, Zicam, that has had some big trouble in the past few years and is launching a marketing campaign to turn around the brand.

Problems for the Zicam brand, marketed by Matrixx Initiatives, began in 2009 when the brand’s top-selling products – intranasal gels – were recalled and discontinued after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there was a problem with the zinc in the gels causing anosmia, loss of smell.

So, Matrixx Initiatives loses huge revenues and faces class action suits about Zicam, but stays afloat, is taken private and now is launching marketing to turn around sales. The marketing positions the product as best in shortening the duration of a cold when used at the first sign of a cold, or the first sign of the “monster” of a cold coming on. Now to my questions.

1. Shortening the duration of a cold, the new tag line of Zicam, is not a product category that I’ve seen before. What are the chances for Zicam or any brand to drive sales with marketing based on a category that might be new to consumers? Do brands run a risk of turning off consumers by claiming the lead in a category consumers might not be familiar with? 

Creating a new "category of one" brand can be a very effective branding strategy as there is only one brand that can address the need(s) represented by the new category. In fact, this is the ultimate branding strategy, to become a "category of one" brand. Having said that, the need represented by the new category must be real. That is, the need must resonate with people as a powerful latent need. In this case, the need is to substantially reduce the impact of the cold from the very start. I would think that this is a very real need. If it is not a need to which people can immediately relate, then the brand would encounter a long and expensive uphill battle to communicate the new category to people so that they "get" what it is all about, with a lower probability of ultimate success.

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