Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Don't Mix Your Brands


This weekend I happen to notice a new addition to the Esurance commercials that ran on television this weekend. Watch carefully and you will notice a logo that reads "an Allstate company" at the very end of the ad near the bottom of the screen. This change was made because Allstate purchased Esurance (along with another company) for a combined sum of $700 million early in 2011. The refreshed campaign for the online insurance provider launched this weekend during Sunday's National Football League games.

While the likely motivation for adding an Allstate "endorsement" to the end of the Esurance ads was to add credibility to the Esurance brand, it actually will add to the confusion between the two brands. This is the wrong strategy because both brand are unique and have different positions. In this case, they're the exact opposite positions.

Allstate is the brand at the top of the ladder. Its brand promise is that you're "in good hands" with Allstate and you know better than to settle on "cut-rate" insurance companies.

Meanwhile, Esurance is positioned at the opposite end. It's the no-fills insurance company that serves the cost-conscience consumer. Through technology and modern design efficiencies - i.e. cutting out the agent - they can serve clients at a lower cost.

Individually, each is a fine strategy. One man's "cut-rate" is another man's "no-frills." And with unqiue brands, they've done the right thing by position one at the top of the market and another at the bottom.

However, by combining them, even ever-so-slightly, they will began creating branding mayhem.

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