Branding: How to name your business/new venture?

Leyla Razeghi
Business Strategist: Architect for sustainable business growth for product makers and store owners.

Nov 22,2016

Brand architecture is one of the biggest decisions made at the start of any company; it is a semi-permanent decision with a very large impact. First, on how your brands reputations influence, relate and impact each other, and second and most importantly, how customers view them. The two extremes that host a wide spectrum of brands are Branded House and House of Brands.

Companies such as the Virgin Group Limited have decided to endorse all their products in hopes to make it clear that they own all of them and that they will all have the same values and personality; this concept is called the Branded House where you can say that the company is the brand. On the other hand companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G) have decided (until recently) that they prefer to scale down the P&G logo in the packaging and let their different products speak for themselves. Examples of the P&G brands include: Pantene, Oral B, Gillete, and Pampers. For this company, each brand identity is independent from the other. This concept is called House of Brands. Which one should you choose? The choice is highly dependent on the company objectives and product portfolio:

  • Unilever has chosen to enhance the individual brand personalities of Dove and Axe while leaving the Unilever name in the background. This has proven to be the right decision for them, since Dove’s personality is extremely feministic while Axe has gone as far as to introduce Ads with women running after men in an animalistic way.
  • Reckitt Benckiser: has chosen to make its name in their products as small as possible; most people can’t link this company to some of the major brands they sell. Did you know that they make French’s mustard, Franks Red Hot Sauce and Durex condoms?
  • Nestle has products with similar, non-conflicting personalities. Its portfolio consists of family products such as Carnation, Crunch chocolate and Gerber baby food. Each product in the portfolio receives support from the overall Nestle Brand, which has a trustworthy, healthy and family-friendly personality. The only exception to this principle is the Nestle Purina brand, which always sparks funny remarks such as they don’t make the chocolate where they make the dog food, do they? (The answer is no, they don’t)

When making decisions about brand architecture, it is crucial to ask the following questions: – Will I have brands with similar uses/audiences/personalities? – Will I invest in marketing efforts for the individual brands, or do I prefer marketing all of them as a group/package? This analogy might be useful: A Branded House is like placing all your brands on the same boat. If the boat sails fast and arrives safely, all your brands do so too. The opposite is also true.

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