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: Branding: Just Ask…
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.Read More
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 Chris, a Vice President of Marketing and Communications in Louisville, Kentucky who writes…
“I am charged with helping a sub-brand of the college that I work for rename itself. The sub-brand has not correctly identified itself with the college which is part of the problem. The sub-brand currently operates with a name that has virtually no meaning (Externally Sponsored Programs) for internal or external audiences. To make matters worse they use a product brand for one of their services.
To get participants involved with the renaming, I am hosting a 1/2 day workshop. My thought was to help them understand what a brand is and does and then lead them in exercises to identify the emotional and functional benefits of their favorite brands and ultimately the sub-brand that employs them.
That portion of the exercise seems ok to me, although suggestions are always welcome, my next thought is to help them see how those benefits impact their "customers". Thus creating a list of words that would resonate with their audiences. The ultimate deliverable is to use those words to create the name and tagline.
Could you offer insight on process or steps that you have used to create for renaming or minimally at re-branding?”
Thanks for your question Chris. Developing brand architecture for universities is particularly difficult, especially for large universities that have multiple schools, divisions, institutes, departments and programs.Read More
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Carla, a Senior Marketer from Kansas City, Kansas asks:
“I'm researching sub branding and would like to know if you could provide reasons a company should think about sub branding services. Specifically for B2B marketing.”
Carla, thanks for your question. Generally, a company should operate with as few brands as possible to maximize the impact of limited marketing resources. Having said that, companies often create sub-brands. I recommend no more than two levels of branding – (a) corporate / parent / umbrella brand and (b) sub-brand / product brand. The following are reasons to create a sub-brand:
- To create a stronger appeal to a particular market or market segment (for instance, the most discerning customers within the category)
- To make the parent brand more relevant to a specific market or market segment (for instance, African-Americans)
- To call out or highlight different amenity, benefit or values bundles offered by specific groupings of products or services (for instance, business hotels versus luxury vacation resorts)
Any time the products and services are similar (or the same) and the amenity/benefit/values bundles are similar (or the same) and the customer segments are seeking similar (or the same) things, there is no need for separate sub-brands. In fact, in this case, to have separate sub-brands would be confusing because the customers would not understand what the distinctions were between the sub-brands. The best rule of thumb is to keep the brand architecture as simple as possible and to align the brands and sub-brands with specific customer needs and benefits. The bottom line: brand architecture is designed to help make product choices as clear and simple as possible for customers, so use common sense when creating sub-brands and, as a marketer, make sure you are always viewing the world from your customer's perspective.
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Today on Branding Strategy Insider, we're taking another question from the BSI Emailbag. Manuel, a student of marketing in Frankfurt, Germany asks…
“I’m studying market research and we recently discussed brand strategies. The topic was why companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are moving from managing and marketing their brands separately to leading with their company brand.”
Thanks for your question Manuel. You may have heard the term, "House of brands versus branded house." Nowadays, most organizations have chosen the brand architecture strategy, branded house. That is, they have a corporate, parent or umbrella brand. If this is the only brand that they use on all of their products and services, they are pursuing a master brand strategy. If they also have other brands, those other brands are typically sub-brands of the parent brand or endorsed by the parent brand. But, in almost all cases for branded houses, their products and services feature the corporate, parent or umbrella brand, even if other sub-brand and product names are also used.
As you point out, the classic consumer product companies such as Unilever, P&G or Kraft historically were houses of brands in which each brand was managed and marketed separately. And the corporate brand was not featured on the products themselves. Why would these companies move to a strategy like Virgin's in which they are putting the corporate name on more of their products? For a few reasons: (a) credit can begin to go back to the corporate or parent brand from each product category in which the company operates, (b) the corporate or parent brand can convey quality and other assurances for the individual product brands and, perhaps most importantly, (c) in the long-run, some of the currently individual brands could be more easily converted to the parent or corporate brand, saving the company significant money in brand building campaigns.
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Today on Branding Strategy Insider, we're taking another question from the BSI Emailbag. Lawrence, a brand marketer in New York, New York writes:
“How do I license a brand name? I have the idea to connect a cartoon name to an alcoholic beverage. MGM is the owner of the rights. What is the best way to start? And what are things to keep in mind when approaching MGM?”
Thanks for your question Lawrence. Here are some of the things you should do to prepare for licensing the MGM brand name:
1. Determine whether the cartoon character has the permission to extend in to an alcoholic beverage or not. Think of the cartoon character as a brand. Do the consumers of the brand expect to buy alcoholic beverages? If the cartoon character has an adult fan base, then maybe. Conduct research within the core fan base that you can share with MGM.
2. What will be your business plan? What retail channels will you sell them in and at what price? What sort of marketing efforts will you put towards the brand licensing program. As a licensee, you should have answers to these questions ready. Also, have a sense of what sales numbers you will be able to achieve. You will eventually be asked these questions by MGM.
3. Be ready with a ballpark idea of what royalty rate you will be expected to pay MGM. Research what percentage comparable brands demand. Know your financial structure, i.e. expected MSRP, margins etc.
Have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project
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