by John Williamson, Account Chief, ddm advertising and marketing + communications
Take into consideration a model — possibly an enormous company — that has a hierarchy of different manufacturers and companies. Possibly you’re fascinated by Amazon which has Prime Video, Audible, and Amazon Echo. Or possibly P&G which owns Gillette, Pampers, Tide, Cascade, and Previous Spice. Unilever owns every part from Ben & Jerry’s and Skippy to Lipton and Dove.
Whereas all these firms promote completely different services, what all of them have in frequent is a transparent model hierarchy. Model hierarchy is a construction that has a top-level guardian firm or company model, a secondary stage of household manufacturers, and, under that, particular person manufacturers.
Model hierarchy isn’t solely reserved for big firms. Any group that’s composed of a number of manufacturers or companies can develop a transparent construction, and they need to. A scarcity of group and intention can undermine enterprise planning and confuse consumers. By clearly defining how your manufacturers and merchandise differentiate and relate to one another, you’re in a position to market them extra successfully.
Listed here are 3 ways to domesticate an efficient multi-brand technique:
1. Establish and eradicate sources of name confusion.
As you examine the assorted product strains in your group’s portfolio, you may uncover some overlap. Take into consideration every model from a shopper’s perspective: the place may the patron be confused about every model’s identification and what it represents?
It’s vital for each group to eradicate any inner confusion amongst its numerous manufacturers. It’s additionally crucial to eradicate confusion between its personal manufacturers and the same services supplied elsewhere within the market. The place do any model redundancies exist? What’s the lacking part that may enable every of your group’s manufacturers to face out?
As one instance, Modern Ergonomic Options (IES) is a guardian firm that acquired a number of manufacturers inside a brief span of time. IES discovered itself with 5 completely different firms all producing ergonomic workspace options by way of numerous merchandise and channels (HAT Contract, Ergotech, SiS Ergo, CompuCaddy, Modern Workplace Merchandise). However with no clear model hierarchy in place, there was confusion each internally, and available in the market, about how these firms associated (or didn’t relate) to one another.
With the explosion of development and acquisition of various product strains and market segments, IES’s problem was to prepare the manufacturers with a clearly outlined go-to-market technique and optimize every model’s potential whereas not cannibalizing market share or alienating their supplier community.
2. Develop a holistic technique for the group.
Each multi-brand group ought to be capable to envision its company hierarchy in a easy chart that includes a guardian model on the prime and every subsidiary model branching off. On this construction, the principle company entity oversees a number of subordinate firms organized by their main gross sales channels, or different market-defining traits.
As soon as the group’s inner model redundancies have been eradicated, the chart ought to virtually fill itself out. This could be a useful gizmo for figuring out the frequent thread uniting each model in a company’s portfolio, and the place every model aligns within the market. As you examine the chart, ask: is each product supplied inside essentially the most appropriate gross sales channel? The place do alternatives for re-branding particular merchandise exist? Is there a greater technique to set up the chart with respect to the group’s long-term technique, together with any future model acquisitions?
For IES this meant establishing an overarching company entity with subordinate firms organized by main gross sales channels. Modern Ergonomic Options made sense because the umbrella entity as a result of “ergonomic workspace options” is the frequent thread between every subsidiary model, no matter gross sales channel. And the brand new IES model, whereas not a consumer-facing model, supplies a typical identification for company shared companies, like operations, finance, advertising and marketing, and customer support.
Constructing on HAT Contract, the contract workplace model with the strongest title recognition, two firms had been consolidated beneath a typical title ― HAT Collective ― that additionally absorbed the related product strains from CompuCaddy and Modern Workplace Merchandise. This tremendously simplified their model construction and offered a template for future acquisitions within the contract market.
Now IES may deal with its Unique Gear Producer (OEM) and Level-of-Sale (POS) enterprise. This firm was re-branded Modern Design Works (IDW), a stronger title positioning for a refined technique of designing, engineering, and manufacturing merchandise as a contract workplace OEM provider and direct vendor within the POS market.
CompuCaddy had a robust direct-to-business gross sales mannequin, primarily in healthcare. Nonetheless, the model had little title recognition. IES folded its direct-to-business gross sales beneath the IDW title and group, whereas phasing out the CompuCaddy model and additional simplifying the IES model construction. The CompuCaddy merchandise had been absorbed right into a healthcare vertical inside HAT Collective.
One other model (Ergotech) primarily sells by way of distribution companions, which could be perceived as competitors with contract workplace sellers. So it made sense to maintain Ergotech separate from HAT Collective, each in product strains and advertising and marketing. The Ergotech model was given a model refresh and path to proceed servicing the distribution channel.
3. Articulate new model technique/methods.
With a long-term technique in place, and a sustainable hierarchy of manufacturers to construct upon, it’s time to refine particular model methods.
What are the distinctive attributes and buyer perceptions that every model presents? What’s the best technique for leveraging these optimistic attributes and perceptions, whereas elevating every model’s place? Tackling these important questions would require a ground-up strategy to refining the verbal and visible expression of every model.<
For IES to ascertain its new model, HAT Collective, a number of firms and product strains had been merged into one. Every introduced distinctive attributes and buyer perceptions. This new entity wanted to leverage these optimistic attributes and perceptions however with a brand new, elevated aesthetic. This required a ground-up strategy to verbal and visible expression.
Step one was to articulate the mission of HAT Collective ― “empowering individuals to work their method” ― then develop their story based mostly on the model’s mission to enhance worker well being, satisfaction, productiveness, and engagement by way of a complicated and versatile vary of office options. From this basis, the HAT Collective visible and verbal voice had been created.
Different inspiration got here from the Danish design aesthetic of SiS Ergo: a clear, heat, design-forward strategy to all HAT Collective model visuals, from brand design and typography to product renderings and promoting inventive. Leveraging this core attribute of a merged model not solely elevated the appear and feel of HAT Collective, however did so in an genuine and ownable method.
Creating readability in a multi-brand group calls for intention and a strategic strategy ― a proactive funding of time and power. The choice is an unintended model construction which will value a company extra on account of inner and market confusion, cannibalized gross sales, and missed alternatives. A clearly outlined model construction, and efficient model positioning for every firm inside it, is the strong basis of all wonderful advertising and marketing organizations.
John Williamson is an Account Chief at ddm advertising and marketing + communications. On this position, John conjures up the staff to create progressive advertising and marketing methods that obtain enterprise objectives. John has served purchasers in a variety of industries, from start-ups to fortune 500 firms, with over a decade of expertise main inventive groups in technique and execution of all features of B2B and B2C advertising and marketing.