The value of a strong master brand in the digital age

Recruitment Innovation Concept on Chalkboard BackgroundCreating and presenting a strong brand is all about establishing value.This is especially true if you are selling direct to consumers. If you have been dealing primarily with distributors or retailers, your brand is important–but to a lesser degree. As you shift to selling directly to consumers, branding principles begin to apply.  Here are some of those principles:

  1. People buy from people and company brands they know and trust
  2. People buy product brands they know and trust
  3. If people don’t understand the higher value of your products and services, they will default to the lowest price
  4. A robust and effectively communicated brand increases your value
  5. If you do not define your brand, competitors and market forces will define it for you

What is the value of promoting a master brand?

Focused impact: Promoting a single brand with a single campaign makes for a more efficient marketing spend. In today’s fragmented media landscape, the advantage is even more pronounced. A company with a strong master brand can maximize its exposure, despite the need to split its outreach efforts.  Since ad and marketing spend needs to be divided among the plethora of media outlets and social media channels, it further dilutes the outreach if it must also be divided among sub-brands.

Customer retention: With a master brand strategy, a company is able to build longer-lasting customer relationships. By developing customer bonds with the overarching brand, companies can offset the natural customer attrition that brands and products experience when their appeal is based on a discrete period of time, like a certain life stage. Instead of customers abandoning the brand altogether when they “graduate” out of a product, they are more likely to shift to another offering in the master brand portfolio.

Brand equity. Companies continue to look to new products and brands to produce growth, but the continued decline in consumer trust in brands means new brands must clear an increasingly high hurdle. When new brands are able to draw upon a master brand’s existing equity, they have a greater likelihood of success than those that start from scratch. By conveying credibility, quality perceptions, and sometimes simply familiarity, master brands make the introduction of new sub-brands easier and usually more successful.

Competitive strength.  Between new media channels, new financing options, and consumers’ changing tastes, it is more feasible now than ever for start-ups and small businesses to build attractive brands and launch competitive challenges to more established players. But their effectiveness can be lessened when an existing market leader has pooled its resources and leveraged the combined power of all of its brands. A master brand strategy creates strength in numbers and establishes a competitive levee around the smaller brands in the corporate portfolio.

There are situations when a sub-brand must be featured or take a lead in marketing and advertising. That’s a subject for another day.

About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community, and more recently assisting other nonprofits and corporations. Everything on this blog is my personal opinion.
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