Fragmentations, Extensions, Subs and Spin-Offs –
Brand Yoga Can Save Your Business
A Company’s brand is one of its largest, most important assets, one that takes years to develop, one that must be nurtured, massaged, cultured and maintained. For broad-based product and service companies, sometimes putting your brand through some yoga-like exercises can lead to tighter targeting, enhanced revenue and improved profitability. The creation of brand extensions, brand fragments, sub-brands and divisional spin-offs can allow your business to more closely identify potential customers, better serve existing customers, and create more value for the parent company over time.
In general marketing practice, it is clear that being everything to everybody is not the most efficient way to market your company and its products. The one-size-fits-all approach leaves much to be desired, as it is wasteful and inefficient in reaching the right customers at the right time without falling on deaf ears 99% of the time. Yet, knowing this, many businesses still hold themselves out as offering “whatever you need, we can do,” in an effort to effectively attract and serve clients. Top-flight business executives have realized that building into their core business, “sticking to their knitting,” is a strong, effective strategy for solidity and growth.
With the realization that the core business should be the only business, many companies divest themselves entirely of their non-core enterprises, effectively sacrificing the revenue from these businesses, regardless of their health. There are other solutions that are less grueling, primarily revolving effective use of brand.
Service businesses, especially those who offer a wide range of related services to a variety of industries, are often over-extended – so much so that their brand effectiveness tends to suffer or is made so diffuse as to be irrelevant. One of the powerful elements of a well-defined brand is the ability of the company to create a set of narrowly realized characteristics that are easily recognizable and transferable to all services offered. Without that central running theme, the brand becomes less effective and loses its power.
One solution to this challenge is to create sub-brands or extensions, each with slightly differing characteristics, to attach to the most closely related baskets of services. Market and customer research will often highlight clear break points among the services, allowing management to group them effectively, based on how customers use and perceive those services.
Sub-brands are presented differently than extensions – typically, the new brand is launched along with a tag line identifying the parent brand, i.e. “Orange-Glo, an S.E. Johnson Company” – using the cache of the parent company brand, S.E. Johnson, to “buff” the new product, Orange-Glo and transfer those positive characteristics to the new product.