Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brand Awareness: Family Branding vs. Individual Branding

Don't talk to strangers.  As children this proverb is taught to us as a means to keep us safe and out of harm's way.  As we grow into adults, we begin to understand that in many cases talking to people we don't know is ok and more often than not beneficial, but still lurking deep in our subconscious there is still that little voice that whispers, "don't trust this person, they're a stranger."  This little voice makes an appearance when we're thinking of making a purchase as well.  When confronted with a new product that we've never seen before, we will often times subconsciously pass it by because to us it takes on the role of a "stranger".  This is why brand awareness is a key component to any successful marketing strategy.  To people, familiarity is trust and taking the time to have people become familiar with your product gives you credibility.  But how do you go about doing this if you are a corporate business, with multiple products to promote?  Let's take a minute to explore the different options.

   Brand awareness can be split into two categories, family branding, and individual branding.  Family branding is where several different products are marketed together, under one larger umbrella brand.  Examples of family branding include Ford Motor Company, Apple Computers, and Bath and Body Works.  Individual branding is where each product is promoted as its own separate entity, such as Absolute Vodka, Eggo Waffles, and Oreo Cookies.  When choosing a marketing strategy that is right for your company it is best to make an informed decision by exploring the different upsides and drawbacks to each strategy.

   First let's look at family branding.  If you have high standards and always take quality into account, family branding can be a wonderful way to market your products.  Family branding is a group effort, where each product has the important job of supporting and helping the other products.  Rather than having to exert unnecessary effort on several different advertising campaigns, family branding allows the use of harmony, where each product's job is to compliment the others. In family branding, each product gives the others strength, and when one product succeeds, they all benefit. In family branding, one single advertisement or campaign unites the group.  This being the case, the drawbacks of family marketing only occur if one product's standards drop or are not maintained, as this reflects negatively on the group as a whole.

   Individual branding works best when your company has several unrelated products they want to promote.  If you are selling shirts, beer, and magazines, you will probably want each product to have its own unique image, as these items have very little to do with one another.  In individual branding, each product has its own unique position, and in marketing is allowed to go off in whatever direction it chooses.  Drawbacks to individual branding include: split markets, split efforts, and the possibility of imbalance within your company.

   Promoting brand awareness can be done in several different ways.  Here are just a few:

HAVING A POWERFUL LOGO

EMAIL, CONTENT MARKETING, OR PRINT MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

SPONSORED EVENTS  RELATED TO YOUR COMPANY OR PRODUCT   

CHARITABLE DONATIONS IN YOUR COMPANY'S OR PRODUCT'S NAME

   Your goal is for people to feel comfortable with your product.  You want to remove all anxiety and fears of "stranger danger", and replace it with the confidence that your product seeks a helpful and positive role in their life.  Whether you choose an individual or family marketing strategy, you want them to understand that your product is out there, waiting to benefit them.  If you can earn this understanding, even in a tiny corner of the consumer's mind, as a company you have won a great victory.


You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at peakadvertisinglosangeles@gmail.com.

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