May 29, 2006
Liz published this at 10:06 am
A high-power company in educational publishing, bought three smaller companies and put them together. They think they offer a diverse portfolio. I think they offer a menu of bacon, ice-cream, tofu, and cognac. They are quite equipped to make the district-wide, state-wide sale. But rare is the sales rep who has the time or experience to speak to the details and nuances of the four individual product lines that they offer.
The Emperor has clothes bought by the bean counters. The bean counters think in BIG NUMBERS. The PR says that’s wonderful. The enterprise doesn’t see the world becoming niches and moving online.
The Umbrella Brand
Each of the small companies had a brand that was strong and thriving. The bacon was the superior bacon in the market. The tofu, the ice cream, the cognac were likewise. That’s the reason the big enterprise bought them. Then the big enterprise threw away each little company’s branding statements and gave them all one new “umbrella brand.” Here you go teachers. This is it.
Learning that Changes Lives
Changes lives how? in what way? for the better? . . . That’s not branding. That’s not even promotion. That’s empty air. An enterprise with four brands that don’t relate is a store not a brand, and their inability to make a branding statement that defines all four proves it.
The most telling part is that each time I want to quote that statment as an example, I have to look it up, because I can’t remember it. What does that say about the statement they’re making? How unremarkable is that?
Maybe the enterprise should put down their PR and read their marketing copy.
Maybe I’m just picking on details. What do you think?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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