Thursday, June 01, 2006

Two Brands are Better than One

In a February entry, I mentioned that you should brand opposing products differently instead of using brand extension. I gave the example of a successful high-end Italian restaurant, Filomarino, that wants to spin off "Filomarino Express", a fast-food version of the same kind of restaurant:

That name might give the fast-food restaurant an immediate boost, but it will also cause the Filomarino brand to lose its focus. Diners who associated the Filomarino name with sophistication or quality will be forced to re-evaluate what "Filomarino" means to them. The high-end restaurant will likely suffer as a result.

Fortunately, you can create a new brand for the fast-food restaurant, even if it is has the same owner and executive chef. You will have to start the branding effort from scratch, but your potential rewards are much greater. Two focused brand names for separate products tend to be much more powerful than a single brand name name with no focus.
Now we have Laura Ries writing about Budweiser:

The enemy of Budweiser is Bud Light, and the best strategy for Bud is to say: "Hey guys, be a man, don’t drink that wimpy watered-down girly stuff. You need to be downing the king of beers."

But because of Bud Light they can’t say that. All Budweiser had to do was give Bud Light its own brand name. There is nothing wrong with competing against yourself. Think Toyota and Lexus.
And Weber grills:

Keep Weber as a “charcoal” brand, period. And launch the gas grills with a new brand name. Maybe even a new name for the portable gas grills.
I don't mean to suggest that I've somehow influenced Laura Ries. Quite the opposite - my views on branding, reinforced by real-life experiences, are based largely on what she and her father have written in books I've read.


Michael said...

Speaking of two brands, what do you think of multipule blogs? I, of course, have two ( and

Does it make sense to split a blog up like that? The reason if finally did it was for copyright (RedMonk owns the content, while I own my own content). But, if that weren't an issue, would it still make sense?

Roger L. Cauvin said...

Cote', it depends on the segments you're targeting with your blogs. If they target the same needs and the same audience, then having two separate "brands" tends to confuse the issue. If, on the other hand, your content targets a more informal audience, and your targets a more "professional" audience, then there might be some value in it.

The real driver for creating separate brands is to avoid tensions that stem from brand extension. If your brand can't credibly stand for "professional" and "informal" at the same time, then you should have two separate brands.