Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creating a Sub-Brand

Using a sub-brand is a common practice among marketers.

However, there's no safety in numbers for these marketers. Sub-brands are quite dangerous because marketers run the risk of repositioning the original brand.

A perfect example of this is Friendly's Express. This extension of the Friendly's brand was first introduced last summer and promises the same Friendly's food, only faster. All meals are (expected to be) served in six to eight minutes.

Friendly's hopes to convey the idea of "same food, only faster." However, the extension will consequently convey the idea that service is too slow at Friendly's. They will wind up damaging the original brand in the long term.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to see the effect a brand extension can have while it's happening. Amidst new sales and greater fanfare, brand perception is transforming. Marketers be warned.

As always, comments can be posted by clicking on the comments link below. I look forward to reading them.


Monica said...

This reminds me of your Dominos post, which I have recently re-tried their pizza and it really has improved. What is the difference between a sub-brand and re-positioning their brand? Is there a time when brands need to restrengthen their brand and try to better convey what they are to the customer?

Alexander said...

Thanks for the question. A sub-brand is just a brand extension; like Friendly's "Express" is an extension of the original Friendly's restaurant or Saks' new "Off Fifth" outlets are extensions of the Saks main stores you already know.

Positioning is the process of entrenching ideas/qualities/thoughts/feelings about a brand in your mind. So repositioning is when marketers try to adjust your current perceptions of a brand.

Remember that positioning is entirely hinged on perception, not reality. Therefore, changing reality cannot guarantee perception will change. In fact, in the long term, I argue that its quite unlikely.

Of course there are lots of brands that need to reposition themselves, but many do so and don't even realize it with brand extensions.

Using the Domino's example, there goal is to adjust consumer perception of their pizza's taste. In reality I'm sure it's better, but by battling for best tasting pizza, they are now competing on an almost impossible playing field.

They built the brand on fastest pizza in town, which is the position I think they should have kept working, while quietly improving pizza quality in real life.

Big Trout said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. Once Friendly's Express is up and running I see only mass confusion and complaints when customers patron the Original Friendly's. They will be expecting the faster service. In fact I will be as bold to predict that the sub-branding will cause all Freindly's to become "Expresses" in just a few years!

Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander said...

Thanks for the message and I'm glad that you agree.

Nice to know my message is reaching some new people out here as well.

Hope you enjoyed what you read.