Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Interaction Design: the Neglected Skill

Your product development organization has a big, gaping hole in it. (Be prepared to feel defensive as you continue reading.) One of the most important roles in product development is the role of interaction designer. An interaction designer designs how the users will interact with the product and conceptualize the tasks they perform. He decides whether, for example, the user interface will be command driven, object oriented (clicking on objects then specifying what to do with them), or wizard based. The interaction designer decides the individual steps in the use cases. Every company has one or more people that play the interaction designer role. Usually, those people have little or no expertise in interaction design. Sadly, they typically don't even realize how unqualified they are. Let's see who typically plays the role at companies. Engineer . An engineer is an expert on building what is designed. Yes, an engineer may know how to design the internal structure of the hardware

Stop Validating and Start Falsifying

The product management and startup worlds are buzzing about the importance of "validation". In this entry, I'll explain how this idea originated and why it's leading organizations astray. Why Validate? In lean startup circles, you constantly hear about "validated learning" and "validating" product ideas: The assumption is that you have a great product idea and seek validation from customers before expending vast resources to build and bring it to market. Indeed, it makes sense to transcend conventional approaches to making product decisions . Intuition, sales anecdotes, feature requests from customers, backward industry thinking, and spreadsheets don't form the basis for sound product decisions. Incorporating lean startup concepts , and a more scientific approach to learning markets, is undoubtedly a sounder approach. Moreover, in larger organizations, sometimes further in the product life-cycle, everyone seems to have an opinio