Mixed branding is a dynamic and versatile marketing approach that offers companies a unique way to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of mixed branding, delve into its advantages and disadvantages, and compare it to mainstream branding. You’ll also discover some prominent examples of mixed branding and learn how to implement a successful mixed branding strategy.
Table of Contents:
- What is Mixed Branding
- Examples of Mixed Branding
- Mixed Branding vs Mainstream Branding
- Advantages of Mixed Branding
- Disadvantages of Mixed Branding
- Mixed Branding Strategy
- Choosing the Right Mixed Branding Agency
- Final Words
What is Mixed Branding
Mixed branding is a marketing strategy in which a company utilises multiple brand identities to market its products or services. This approach allows businesses to cater to different market segments, expand their reach, and diversify their offerings. Mixed branding can be achieved through various methods, including co-branding, multi-branding, and private labelling.
Examples of Mixed Branding
Mixed branding has been successfully implemented by several companies across various industries. Some notable examples include:
Procter & Gamble (P&G): The multinational consumer goods corporation owns multiple well-known brands, such as Tide, Crest, and Pampers, each catering to different market segments.
Unilever: The company markets a vast range of products under numerous brands, including Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s, each with its distinct identity. The products are mainly consumer products, each with their own distinct and unique branding.
Nike and Converse: Nike, a leading sports brand, acquired Converse in 2003, maintaining its unique identity while benefiting from Nike’s resources and expertise.
Microsoft and Xbox: Microsoft was known as a corporate brand, with multiple associations to softwares and platforms like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. On the other hand, Xbox has positioned itself in the console gaming niche.
Mixed Branding vs Mainstream Branding
Mainstream branding focuses on building a single, strong brand identity that appeals to a broad audience, while mixed branding leverages multiple brands to cater to different market segments. Both approaches seek to create strong brand equity and customer loyalty, but their methods and target audiences may differ.
Advantages of Mixed Branding
Mixed branding offers several benefits for businesses, namely:
Mixed branding allows companies to develop distinct brand identities that cater to specific market segments. This targeted approach results in more effective marketing campaigns and better customer engagement.
Case Study – L’Oréal
The global cosmetics giant, L’Oréal, effectively uses mixed branding with its portfolio of brands, such as Lancôme, Maybelline, and NYX. Each brand targets a different consumer segment, ranging from luxury to mass-market customers. Through this strategy, L’Oréal has successfully captured a diverse audience and grew to become a leader in the cosmetics industry.
By marketing multiple brands, businesses can mitigate risks associated with a single brand’s performance. This diversification helps protect the company from market fluctuations and ensures long-term stability.
Case Study – Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble (P&G) manages a wide variety of brands across different industries, including personal care, home care, and baby care. For example, P&G owns both Tide and Gain, which are laundry detergents catering to different market segments. This diversification helps the company maintain a strong market position even if one brand faces challenges.
Mixed branding enables companies to penetrate new markets without diluting their existing brands’ identities. This approach allows businesses to grow and expand without compromising the reputation and image of their core brands.
Case Study – Nestlé
Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, has expanded into various markets by leveraging mixed branding. The company owns brands like Nescafé, KitKat, and Purina, each catering to different product categories and consumer segments. By maintaining these distinct identities, Nestlé has successfully expanded its global reach and market share. According to Nestle.com company site, they mentioned that they have a unique global footprint and sell their products in 188 countries worldwide.
Innovation and Adaptability
Mixed branding encourages companies to continuously innovate and adapt their offerings to cater to the evolving preferences and needs of different consumer segments. This adaptability is crucial for staying ahead in today’s competitive business environment.
Case Study – Coca Cola
Coca-Cola is a prime example of a company that has used mixed branding to innovate and adapt to changing consumer preferences. In addition to its classic soda, the company has introduced various sub-brands like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, and Coca-Cola Life, each catering to different consumer preferences regarding taste and health concerns. This mixed branding approach has allowed Coca-Cola to remain relevant and maintain a dominant position in the beverage industry.
Mixed branding offers businesses a range of advantages that can help drive growth, diversification, and market expansion. By learning from the case studies presented above, we hope that you can better understand the potential of mixed branding and unlock new opportunities for your business.
Disadvantages of Mixed Branding
Despite its many advantages, mixed branding also has some drawbacks:
Managing multiple brands requires additional resources and investments in marketing, product development, and logistics. This increase in costs can strain a company’s budget and impact overall profitability.
Case Study – General Motors
General Motors (GM) experienced the burden of increased costs associated with managing multiple brands, such as Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. As a result, during the 2008 financial crisis, GM decided to discontinue brands like Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer to reduce costs, streamline operations, and focus on its core brands.
If not executed correctly, mixed branding can lead to confusion among customers, which may hurt the overall brand image. Consumers may struggle to differentiate between brands, causing brand dilution and a negative impact on brand equity.
Case Study – Virgin Group
Virgin Group, led by Richard Branson, has ventured into various industries, including airlines, telecommunications, and even space travel. However, the wide range of brands under the Virgin umbrella has sometimes led to brand confusion among consumers. For example, some customers may not associate the Virgin brand with both luxury air travel (Virgin Atlantic) and budget gyms (Virgin Active), causing a potential disconnect in brand perception.
Multiple brands under the same company can compete for resources and attention, potentially leading to conflict. This internal competition may hinder the growth and development of individual brands, affecting overall performance.
Case Study – Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. owns multiple clothing brands, including Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Over the years, these brands have faced internal competition, with Old Navy’s success overshadowing the other brands. This competition led to Gap Inc. announcing the spin-off of Old Navy in 2019. However, the company later reversed the decision and continued to operate the brands under one corporate umbrella.
Managing multiple brands can lead to increased complexity within the organisation. This complexity may result in challenges in decision-making, coordination, and resource allocation, impacting the efficiency of the company’s operations.
Case Study – Procter & Gamble
While Procter & Gamble (P&G) has benefited from the diversification of its brand portfolio, the company has also faced increased management complexity. In response to this challenge, P&G announced in 2014 that it would divest, discontinue, or merge over 100 brands to streamline its operations and focus on its core businesses.
Mixed branding can be a powerful marketing strategy, but it’s essential to understand and consider the potential disadvantages before implementation. From the above case studies in this article, we hope that you can identify potential challenges and develop strategies to mitigate risks, to ensure a successful mixed branding approach for your business.
Mixed Branding Strategy: A Step-By-Step Guide
Mixed branding is a powerful marketing strategy that enables businesses to market multiple brands to diverse market segments. However, implementing a successful mixed branding strategy requires careful planning, execution, and management. The following entails a step-by-step guide to developing a successful mixed branding strategy. By following these steps, you can unlock the potential of mixed branding and drive growth and profitability for your business.
1. Identify Market Segments
The first step in developing a mixed branding strategy is identifying the market segments you want to target. Conduct market research to determine which segments your company can serve effectively with distinct brands. This research should take into account demographic, psychographic and behavioural factors.
2. Develop Brand Identities
Once you’ve identified your target market segments, it’s crucial to develop distinct brand identities that resonate with each segment. Your brand identities should align with the target audience’s preferences, expectations, and values.
Create unique brand identities for each segment, ensuring they align with the target audience’s preferences and expectations. Most companies or corporations that do mixed-branding strategy usually have a brand guide for every product line. Each brand should have a unique name, logo, packaging, and messaging that differentiates it from other brands in your portfolio.
3. Allocate Resources
Allocating appropriate resources for each brand is crucial for success. This includes marketing, product development, and logistics. Each brand should have a dedicated team responsible for managing its operations, and these teams should work collaboratively to ensure overall success.
4. Create Brand Guidelines
Creating brand guidelines for each brand in your portfolio is crucial for maintaining brand consistency and cohesion. These guidelines should outline the brand’s visual and messaging elements, target audience, brand voice, and tone. The guidelines should be shared with everyone involved in managing the brands, from marketing teams to product development teams.
5. Monitor Performance
Regular tracking of the performance of each brand is crucial for ensuring their success and identifying areas for improvement. Monitoring performance involves measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) like sales, market share, customer satisfaction, and brand awareness. Use these metrics to identify which brands are performing well and which ones require additional attention and resources.
6. Adapt and Evolve
As consumer preferences and market conditions evolve, it’s crucial to adapt and evolve your mixed branding strategy to remain relevant and competitive. This may involve repositioning or rebranding existing brands, introducing new brands, or discontinuing underperforming brands. Stay vigilant and be open to change to ensure the long-term success of your mixed branding strategy.
A successful mixed branding strategy requires careful planning, execution, and management. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively implement a mixed branding strategy that targets diverse market segments, drives growth, and increases profitability for your business. Remember to monitor performance, adapt to changes, and maintain brand consistency to ensure long-term success.
Choosing the right Mixed Branding Agency
Partnering with the right mixed branding agency is crucial to the success of your mixed branding strategy. An experienced agency can provide valuable insights, expertise, and resources to effectively execute your branding initiatives. By considering the key factors outlined below, you can make an informed decision and find an agency that aligns with your business goals and values.
1. Assess Agency Experience and Expertise
When selecting a mixed branding agency, it’s essential to assess their experience and expertise in the field. Look for agencies with a proven track record of successfully executing mixed branding strategies. Review their portfolio to ensure they have worked with diverse brands and market segments. Evaluate the agency’s understanding of market dynamics, consumer behaviour and their ability to develop compelling brand identities.
2. Evaluate Strategic Capabilities
A reliable mixed branding agency should possess strong strategic capabilities. Assess their ability to conduct thorough market research, analyse competitive landscapes and identify market segments that align with your business goals. Evaluate their capacity to develop comprehensive branding strategies, including brand positioning, messaging, and marketing campaigns tailored to different market segments.
3. Consider Creative Excellence
Mixed branding involves creating distinct brand identities that resonate with different target audiences. Evaluate the agency’s creative excellence by reviewing their past work. Look for agencies that have a diverse and impressive portfolio, showcasing their ability to develop compelling visual identities, logos, packaging and messaging across multiple brands. Ensure their creative work aligns with your brand’s values and the desired perception of each brand within your portfolio.
4. Collaborative Approach and Communication
The success of your mixed branding strategy depends on a strong partnership with the agency. Consider their collaborative approach and communication style. Look for agencies that prioritise open communication, active collaboration and a deep understanding of your business objectives. Assess their ability to listen, provide valuable insights and work closely with your internal teams to achieve shared goals.
5. Resource and Project Management
Implementing a mixed branding strategy can be complex, involving multiple brands, teams and projects. Evaluate the agency’s resource and project management capabilities. Assess their ability to allocate appropriate resources, manage timelines and deliver projects within budget. Look for agencies that have a structured project management process, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, alongside a reputation for delivering projects on time and to client satisfaction.
6. Client References and Testimonials
Before making a final decision, reach out to the agency’s existing and past clients. Request client references and testimonials to gain insights into their experiences working with the agency. Ask about the agency’s professionalism, responsiveness, ability to meet deadlines and overall satisfaction with the results. Their feedback will provide valuable insights into the agency’s strengths and weaknesses.
Choosing the right mixed branding agency is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your branding initiatives. By assessing their expertise, strategic capabilities, creative excellence, collaborative approach, resource management, and client references, you can make an informed decision and find an agency that is the perfect fit for your business. Remember to prioritise a strong partnership, aligned goals and effective communication to ensure a successful mixed branding journey.
Mixed branding is a powerful marketing strategy that can help companies expand their reach and appeal to diverse market segments. By understanding its advantages and disadvantages and following a well-planned strategy, businesses can successfully harness the potential of mixed branding to drive growth and profitability.
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