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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Company Vs. Brand Names - Which Do We Push?
Posted by Anonymous on
11/12/2012 at 1:40 AM ET
We have a company name which we have been pushing for 15years on the phone, in marketing, web etc but have recently diversified extensively and in the process of diversifying have built new brand names and associated logos. Now we are in the position of having a reputable company brand and rising product brands. We also have several product lines that are un-branded, including our core line (70% of our sales). My question is, do we scrap the product brands and build only the company brand or do we build both the company brand and the product brands, creating new brands for the un-branded products.
Company: GREENLINE (
Un-branded portion - shade structures and sails, textile facades and metal roof shade structures
- Covascreen aluminium screening
- Fabmax custom precast concrete and steel fabrication
The Covascreen brand has been in place for 12months or so and is gaining reputation for a good product and is being specified by architects. A google search for Covascreen goes directly to greenline.com.au/covascreen.
Concerns in the company are:
1) That we will lose the reputation of the GREENLINE name if we market products exclusively under sub-brands
2) That two names (on one brochure or one web page) ie GREENLINE and Covascreen is confusing and weakens the brand
My point of view (and I'd be glad of correction!!) is that the Covascreen (for example) is available from GREENLINE, so you have GREENLINE business cards, letterheads, invoices, email addresses, domain names but literature, quotes and web pages specific to that product are co-branded with the Covascreen logo.
You could say that the Covascreen is quick and easy to use and also that GREENLINE is a reputable company with ISO 9001 certification (for example) so that Covascreen is what you're selling and GREENLINE is who is selling it.
11/12/2012 at 5:17 AM
I am going to short-circuit your question and ask a real marketer's question:
WHO IS YOUR BEST CLIENT?
Everything follows from that.
You have the metrics to find who your top 5% of clients are. Because they will be driving 40% of your profits.
I want you to do this, because they know the answers to your questions. We don't. We can offer general advice - your clients can offer you SPECIFIC advice - like
- What they like
- Their choice, Covascreen or Greenline
- whether ISO9001 means anything to them or not.
Because I ain't buying. They are.
So find out who they are, and get back to us for more ideas as to how to tap into their rich seam of gold. It is narrow and it is deep, it takes hard work to dig for. Like all gold miners, if you do your job right, you gets rich. Your gold is there, your job is to uncover it.
From your website (visited 11:14 am CET) you have a substantial business and you will have a relatively large client inventory. Remember that a small fraction of it will yield large amounts of your profits. FOCUS in on this segment. Appeal to them and them alone.
Because you will find that whilst appealing to them, your chances of landing another excellent customer are better. You will also have a general appeal because of your sensible no-nonsense website that is well designed and easy to get around.
Please let me know what you think.
To your success, Moriarty xx
11/12/2012 at 7:23 AM
It's not about your products and who sells them. It's about your target audience(s) and what benefits you deliver to them.
The simple answer is that you need a different brand name for each target audience and/or each benefit you deliver. Each brand name should have a clear and specific meaning, and communicate something important to the target audience. If a brand name tries to have multiple meanings or connotations, you'll just confuse everyone and defeat the purpose of the brand name.
Brand names are much more than labels that identify products and differentiate them from other products. They are promises of important benefits that are truly meaningful to the target audience.
So step back from your product line-up and the labels you have put on the things you sell. Put yourself in your customers' shoes, and define the target audience and benefit for each segment of your market. That will tell you what your brand line-up should be.
11/12/2012 at 9:57 AM
Cadillac Escalade - Luxury SUV buyers
GMC Sierra 1500 - Truck buyers
Chevrolet Corvette - Sports car buyers
and all of THOSE are under General Motors.
11/12/2012 at 11:50 AM
Forget about what's being sold and about who is doing the selling. Instead, focus on who is buying, why they're buying, and what problems people want to solve.
People generally seek solutions that they find in the qualities, promises, and traits represented by brands offered by companies.
11/12/2012 at 3:52 PM
Thanks all, really appreciate your answers. One of our problems is our widely diverse market segments, trying to classify it is... hard! But it wasn't meant to be easy (as Moriarty says!) Main problem with PROJECTS not PRODUCTS is that profit is not fixed, you can lose on what you thought was a great job and you can win on what was a terrible job. Just makes it difficult to classify a 'good job' or a 'good customer'.
I will update you all on what we discover/ decide, and once again, I appreciate your responses.
11/18/2012 at 6:50 PM
Hello all, I have asked 5 key customers some branding questions on this subject, see below the first few questions. Glad of your thoughts.....
1. How did you first find out about Greenline?
Customer 1 – Builder – It was ages ago – he can’t remember. He’s our biggest support! Might have looked us up on the internet, spoke to Sales 1. Sales 1 said could do COLA and sails, he gave us $xxxx order. He remembers now, he was looking for a carport and somewhere came across the Cantaport, found our name as supplying them and called us from there. That would have been 4years ago.
Customer 2 – School – She probably came across us in an internet trawl initially
Customer 3 – Architect – Can’t remember
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Can’t remember
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Would have been one of his people in the office, he has 20 people in the office
2. What makes you work with Greenline?
Customer 1 – Builder – Good service, attitude, nothing ever a problem. Job had problems, you could look at it as a cup half empty or a cup half full. He’s got a positive, can-do attitude, likes us because we fix the problems, rings us and we fix. That would have been 8 months to 1 year ago.
Customer 2 – School – The professionalism of the 1st project. The finished product was excellent, in the process on a second job, initial designs look fantastic. The quality of the job was excellent, everyone was very pleased with it. Working with you was a pleasure, this can be confirmed by the architect.
Customer 3 – Architect – Able to deliver on a big project. It’s easy to find someone to do a shade sail over a car, but project is complex.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Everything has been ok, in follow, they had a bit of an issue, had no problems getting someone back to site
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – On project, we were reliable, did a good job
3. We’re thinking about revitalising our brand identity....
a. What are your thoughts on our current brand?
Customer 2 – School – Brand doesn’t impact her, colours aren’t important. Been around schools for a long time, actually recommended us to another primary school principle as late as this morning.
Customer 3 – Architect – Not into the marketing side. That wouldn’t matter to him. It’s what you can deliver. Could be called Joe Blow Shade, that wasn’t why we were chosen.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Just personally, I would say, what does Greenline have to do with shade sails? If I saw Greenline on the back of a ute, you know, when I drive around I’m always taking notes of who’s working in the area, and I saw Greenline with a phone number, what’s going to make me call that number? It doesn’t mean anything to me. If you said Shade Sails I might call you because I might have a project happening. I’m very critical of names.
b. What are your thoughts on the Greenline name?
Customer 1 – Builder – wouldn’t matter what you called it, could call yourselves “Second-hand Socks” for all he cares. It’s what you are like to work with. He had a good experience, then recommended us for another project. Needed another Cantaport and he got his one 2 days ago for his boat. We were able to do it. School was supposed nominate a shade installer and forgot about it. The architect passed on his details to us, we gave him a price, it was under budget, we could do it in the time. Posts were made in 7 days, he got his structural info and council permit. First sail didn’t quite fit, we went back and re-made it and then it all worked.
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Don’t know why the hell you call it Greenline actually, I have often wondered about that, doesn’t mean anything.
4. What stands out most about Greenline in your mind (good or bad)?
Customer 1 – Builder – easy blokes to deal with
Customer 2 – School – we’re professionals. The personal contact, quality of the proposals. We fitted in with what the client said – if we said something was not good enough because of xxx, we went away and came back with something else.
Customer 3 – Architect – The proof is in the pudding, its what we actually delivered, everyone was thrilled with the outcome.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – It was only a small job, I haven’t been involved in one like this before. I don’t believe anyone sets out to do a bad job, if the specs are right, the scope is right, the price is right, I do it and judge from the result, names mean little, it comes down to price and professionalism.
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Reliability, you’ve done what you said. I don’t like paying in advance, you accepted that, I have no complaints. You asked for a deposit and I said no and you accepted that. I’ve been in business for a long time and you could work with how I wanted to work.
other questions in separate post...
11/18/2012 at 6:52 PM
Second lot of questions/ answers....
5. Who would you consider are Greenline’s competitors?
Customer 1 – Builder – there are thousand shade sail guys, if someone said Shadeport or Shade Sails R Us, he just knows Greenline, we have our own engineers, computations etc, would just use us.
Customer 2 – School – there’s a whole lot of shade companies, some small builders, Stylemaster, they do patios, but there’s lots and lots
Customer 3 – Architect – Opposition #1, project went to them for a price. I don’t like their structure, they have a sales guy who comes out all dressed in a suit and tie and knows nothing about the product or the company. Ask questions and they don’t know the answer.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Don’t know, if I had another job, I’d call you first. (Doesn’t remember the previous job we did for other centre manager), a lot is in the name, Greenline is fine, as long as you have a tagline
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – I don’t know, one of my property managers would have arranged that, you do have two or three competitors.
6. What is your impression of Greenline’s existing marketing material?
Customer 1 – Builder – It’s ok
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Its professional, no issue with the reports etc.
7. What information did you receive from Greenline that was most helpful?
Customer 1 – Builder – They have a policy to look at timelines, cost and quality. If the install timeline is fair, the cost is good or relative and they assess quality. Those are the three parameters they assess.
Customer 2 – School – The video was excellent, good to see how it looks, confirms we’re doing the right thing. The architect came up with some concepts, it was good to come up with a structure that matched those designs.
Customer 3 – Architect – It depends on the stage the project is had. Early on, during tender stage, we need to know if it can be done, then it needs to be priced. As we move forward we need technical info. I suppose it’s having the right info at the right time, Sales Person #1 and me worked through the detail. The problem I have is after we go through the design stage and marketing department and you put us through to the project managers and I said “Ahh no, what’s going to happen now” you have a new person you haven’t met before, it changes the chemistry. The contact you had is lost , the new person isn’t familiar with the process that has been worked through. You guys handled it well, if I had a problem I called the sales guy, but you get this communication vacuum, from an architect’s point of view, there’s a taking in of breath.
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – I had a specific design of the first structures which I liked, you suggested something else but I liked what I had better.
8. What info do you consider most supportive with the quote:
a. 3D drawings?
Customer 1 – Builder – yes, they’re important, it’s fancy
Customer 3 – Architect – yes they help
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – they help Guarantee is the foremost, and what the guarantee actually means, what it actually is, you can say 15years limited, what’s it actually mean. Photos are good, recent photos and time lapse photos to show what it will look like over time.
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Yes, they give you a better idea. He had a set design, all he would need to see is a elevation or cross section.
b. References and testimonials?
Customer 1 – Builder – Yes, on the first project they went from two calls, so references are important.
Customer 2 – School – important
Customer 3 – Architect – Initially they’re important
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Don’t pay a lot of interest to these
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – You had done the previous project, that was good enough.
c. Technical information (Specifications, charts and tables)?
Customer 1 – Builder – Specs are important because you get guys that need to cross their i’s and dot their t’s. Need to see that it is certified, meets compliance, and get a guarantee.
Customer 2 – School – Not really, happy with the info they received, like to see info showing what schools we have done, useful, helpful info. Pictures of them would be good.
Customer 3 – Architect – Certainly, you need typical sizes, I suppose that would be very difficult as all the projects are custom projects. Just being able to ring up and talk is important.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Not my business. If I spend $xxx, what’s it going to be like in a year or two.
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Not really, design is important.
d. Photos of similar projects?
Customer 1 – Builder – Pics are good
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Pics are helpful, likes project we have done.
9. What do you think of Greenline’s website and what info online would be most helpful?
Customer 3 – Architect – No, he hasn’t logged on for a while, it would be infrequent. He would be looking for some standard things, a few cars, and some bigger; shade structures in schools then also some unusual stuff to show what you can do, tailor made stuff.
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – Haven’t been onto it, would look for contact names, photos, time displacements, where you drag the cursor over it and you see how it changes over time.
10. What info would be most helpful in a facade email?
Customer 3 – Architect – The unusual is of interest, push the boundaries. People say that they can span this and span that, but show complex, work of interest. Yes to pictures and concepts, even a case study, this is the challenge we had, this is what we did and this is what happened.
11. Are there any other services you would like Greenline to offer?
Customer 1 – Builder – Saturday’s lotto numbers! Happy with what we do.
Customer 2 – School – Not really, a school spending $xxxx with a single company over two years is a testament in itself.
Customer 3 – Architect – No
Customer 4 – Shopping Centre – You could do a follow up appointment at the centre, this time of the year we’re doing budgets/ cap ex for next year. At a retail centre its all about the customer, how can you enhance the customer’s experience. Just send me a bottle of Chardonnay!
Customer 5 – Shopping Centre – Not at the moment, there’s a couple of projects in xxxx coming up.
11/18/2012 at 7:07 PM
you say "if we said something was not good enough because of xxx, we went away and came back with something else. " if you detail something like this in your portfolio, you will show that you care. That does a lot more than **telling** people you care. Coz everyone wants to care, few actually do it.
Can we nail down "quality proposals" - this again might be something to differentiate you.
I am trying to find some kind of commonality that runs through all your diverse operations. You are one business, you have a style and quality. You need to find that and show it clearly. It will not be big, it will be there otherwise they would not fit in your portfolio. This is a game-changer.
Can we have a negative customer response. It's a little like my first paragraph - it will show people (a) what you don't do (and focus them on what you DO do) and (b) shows you are trustworthy because you tell people where you went wrong/made a mistake.
Put all of these together and you will have something special. BTW. I would not be worried about weakening your brand image - if your product is good and backup is strong, it will strengthen both.
Sell results not images!
I can't see how Greenline would lose - as long as you focus on the end product not your advertising. Your client satisfaction depends more on the longevity and use of your products than any brand name.
What do you think? Moriarty xx
Sorry if this is a little unstructured, it's late at night on this side of our little blue ball.
11/18/2012 at 7:10 PM
I'll come back tomorrow to look at your second set of questions. M xx
11/19/2012 at 5:35 PM
Thanks for your responses. We had a brainstorming session yesterday and came up with the following:
a. The GREENLINE name is recognised (when we call a lot of our customers and say we're from GREENLINE they know who we are) and as such would cause a disruption if we were to change. It does however need a tagline/ positioning statement that shows the customer (especially new customers) what we do and why they should buy from us.
b. Branding our individual product lines would be of no disadvantage, it will probably actually help. This would mean that brochures etc would feature predominant individual branding, would not have the GREENLINE logo on the front, but would have the company name and details on the back. The GREENLINE name and marketing would be prominent on emails, letters, quotes and company specific documents i.e. certification, contracts, etc. Individual marketing pieces fro the different brands would be in a similar layout and can be identified by colours.
c. This is on a slightly different track, but several customers have made comments like “Guarantee is paramount” and “Yes a guarantee, but what does it actually mean” and “I can spend $xxx, what’s it going to be like in 2 years”; we’re thinking that providing a guarantee is very important and needs to be expressed simply. Look at the actual feedback from customers and what we actually do. The reality is that IF WE STUFF UP WE FIX UP and we can use that as a selling point (in different words!) Woolworths say “Your satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”, Bunnings say “If you find a lower price we will beat it by 10%”, we need to provide this simple to understand guarantee.
d. Glad of your thoughts on the following brand names:
- Steel Roof Structures - METL
- Membrane Facades - Autograph
- Our core range of shade structures - Greenline Shade & Shelter, with logo emphasising the Shade & Shelter.
Cheers and appreciate your feedback.
11/19/2012 at 5:54 PM
Just going back through my notes from yesterday and your response, the main features I can see running through our company is:
a) real service - personalised & professional
b) experience the customer has - positive, proactive & enthusiastic
c) quality built product
I've being trying to define our Unique Selling Proposition for 6 months and it's been a challenge; what can we say about ourselves that's unique? What's important to our customers? Some of the responses earlier in this post are interesting and confirmed my thoughts that our customers don't care if we have been in business for 15 years or whatever, they care about WIIFM (what's in it for me), what do we give them and how??
I think it needs to come down to the security of choosing right, like IBM "no-one ever got sacked for choosing IBM" or whatever it was. People need to feel safe in choosing.
Glad of your thoughts....
11/19/2012 at 6:16 PM
Geoff - this is going to be quick and general. I am tired and off to Hamburg in the morning.
USPs. Have you read Rosser Reeve's book "Reality In Advertising"? Worth a look even if you don't get all of it.
The hardest thing to do is work out your own USP - mine took me six months and still needs honing. It will tie in with what your customers want of you (and I mean want, not what you THINK they want). This is always where a third party is useful. I do know of a guy downunder who gets this stuff, I can look him up and let you know. He might have time too.
I want to start this by looking at what you don't do. Better put, what you can't do. You will have upset a client somewhere along the line. They will tell you what you can't do well. It might be a detail in planning, a drafting mistake - a spilled coffee? The point is that this is something you don't do well.
More importantly it gives you a more concrete direction for your USP. You do this, you don't do that. Your guarantee rests on what you don't do, fessing up to it and backing that up with a 100% money back guarantee.
Is this making any sense to you? I mentioned all of this above -that will give you the idea just how hard it is to grasp. Even recognizing its power is a step in the right direction.
Look at what your competitors are offering, beat their ads by 500% by driving in down through what they are offereing, and nail it with your guarantee. Sure, they might be offering what you do, ***they just ain't sayin so***. When they catch up, make sure you have a new USP ready. You will be constantly updating and honing the situation. It is a very real arms race! Yet if it is done properly, it need not be. If your competitors choose a genuine USP - they will appeal to a different segment of the population.
There are clients that no company wants though ...
I hope this puts things into some kind of context. Moriarty.
11/19/2012 at 6:23 PM
"what’s it going to be like in 2 years"
how long does your stuff last? Now to be worthwhile, your guarantee needs your knees to weaken. Okay? It has to be full on. Or it ain't going to work.
Try (example) "if it fails for any reason in three years, we will replace it for free". Any = any. A helicopter crashes, someone is sick on it, it really was a manufacturing fault (!). You will double sales and pay out on 1 in 50*.. Plus, you got three years to get your act together! Oh, and back up your guarantee with an insurance policy in case you go bust. That will please them too.
Now was that a boundary or a six?
*Who knows. You know your biz better than me. Just make it a really ballsy guarantee. Okay?
11/19/2012 at 6:25 PM
That means I am dopey, by the way. sorry. M
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