Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Branding Approach: Let's get Monolithic

Hello again

I firmly believe that it's more important to own markets than to own products and the only way to own markets is to own dominant brands. Branding a new company is often a very exciting project and should be enjoyed from the word go! Once you know the rules of engagement it is a very simple game to play.  An overview of the different branding options a company has available to them is an invaluable exercise, so without further ado:

Monolithic Strategy:

"Mono", meaning "one", markets one brand only. Some examples are: IBM, Google and Microsoft. Some plus's of this approach are; the ability to create a strong brand identity; minimises confusion; reduce proliferation (many brands equal many strategies) and it is the most cost effective route.

I must warn anyone reading this, that even if you need to be frugal due to financial constraints, budget is not a good reason, nor will it ever be, to go this route. One of the aspects of this approach can either be seen as a negative or a positive attribute, depending on your brands' need. This is that all of the products need to have a single minded message that can be put across to an audience and whatever products emerge will all have to have the same message to convey. The good part is that any investment made through communications or research will benefit all of the products or services. The bad part – can all your services and products deliver this message? The answer to whether this will work for you will largely depend on what your product or service is. Can they be marketed together? Do they all have the same values like 'quality' or 'prestige' or 'reliability'? If not, then I highly recommend you go for a multi-branded or endorsed strategy and just make every penny count.

The biggest negative to worry about, marketing wise, is if one of the products or services isn't operating correctly, its performance can contaminate the values across the entire brand. If Volvo had to make a potentially dangerous car, like a sports car and it emerged that the cars where a hazard to own because they were badly built, the entire brand would be crucified and sales across the board would most probably drop.  Even though Volvo have spent so much time and money on positioning themselves in people's minds as "the safest car on the road", people are generally fickle, and will more often than not begin doubting the brand integrity as a whole and not just that of the sports' 'version'.

cozwecan.com does not typically lend itself to a monolithic structure because then we would have to direct people to cozwecan.com to click through to their preferred service or product site which we feel is a wasted 'extra' step in a customer's already busy world. This is not to say that people won't be able to go to cozwecan.com and click through to the sub sites, but it will more than likely not be marketed that way.

It could also not really fit with this structure (even though anything can be squeezed) because we know from the outset that it will comprise of many different products and services that would often be too different in nature to keep under one umbrella. cozwecan.com will have a common vision and statement, but the products may all need individual treatment.

That's all for this week!  Next week I'll be exploring the world of the multi-brand approach.

Have a great week.

Frankie

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