Planning out how you’ll brand a new division of your company is a tricky task. You may be tempted to use it as an opportunity to re-invent your company’s identity: new logo, colors, website – the whole ball of wax. Or, if you’re like me, you just groaned at the very idea and favor just adding a little line of text under your current logo. Either way, misnaming your business’s new division can confuse people and create a marketing hurdle you’ll have to overcome in the future. But how do you know when to rebrand or when to keep what you’ve got?
Maybe you need more recyclable materials for your asphalt plant, so you start a roofing company to use the old shingles in your mix. While the two may be mutually beneficial, people don’t often associate an asphalt plant and a roofing company. Your roofers may occasionally stumble upon, quite literally, a driveway in need of repair. But you won’t regularly cross sell a new roof to the neighborhood association who’s roads you’re paving. These two services would be easier to market with separate, more targeted branding.
Let’s say you own a paving company, but your hobby is wood working. You make wooden toys. When you launch your woodworking company, start fresh with a whole new brand. Because the target market for the two services, while they may overlap a little, are inherently different.
You’ve got an expert mixologist at your asphalt plant and you’d like to do field testing and mix design for more than just your parent company. It would be wise to rebrand in this case. Companies don’t often look to their competition to beef up their expertise. The service will be more successful under a new brand.
If you’re going to run the new division for a year and then roll it off and sell it, it may be less messy to keep it separate from the get go.
Google, your clients, and your target market already know your current name and what you do. If your new service is related you can piggyback on that relationship. Sharing a brand between your ready mix plant and concrete paving divisions is a natural fit. On the other hand, wooden toys and paving are not related, even if you personally do them both. If the two share a brand it has the opposite effect, you will not only confuse google, you’ll confuse everyone else as well.
Clients trust your current brand and have a positive impression of the services you offer. When you open up your quarry to sell decorative rock to landscapers, that enthusiasm can be transferred easily to the new product line baring the same brand. On the flipside, imagine the conversation explaining to the landscapers that they’ll be visiting Maple’s Rock Quarry to buy Founding Fathers Fancy Rock. Talking about the two services that are clearly related with different brand names often leads to unneeded confusion in your sales conversations and, in this case, frustrated clients who forget where to go to pick up their product.
Even down to answering the phone, it’s easier to talk about two services that share the same brand. “Eugene’s Paving and Small Toys how can I help you?” just doesn’t roll of the tongue. Your billing department will experience the same challenges. When a client sees “Eugene’s Paving” on the estimate, and again on the trucks and gear on the crew, the invoice he receives from “Big Bad Holding Company” for the services rendered doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Don’t make the decision to add another brand to your company based on the expense or emotional appeal. Focus on the perception of your target market. Keeping the same brand between related or cross sold products leads to happier customers, staff and management by cutting down on confusion, frustration and administrative costs.
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