Here are three recent branding strategy situations I’ve come upon. Have you experienced any of these three branding situations? If so, how did you react? Or if not, what’s your reaction to them here?
FedEx Office and an Ingredient Branding Strategy
As a Kinko’s customer since grad school and watching FedEx grow its brand portfolio from the a competitor’s vantage point, it was understandable, but sad, when FedEx rolled over the beloved Kinko’s brand, turning it into FedEx Office after its acquisition. FedEx was notorious for a strong master brand strategy (i.e., all its transportation and logistics offerings were FedEx something or other), and the Kinko’s brand fell to its tightly implemented approach. WhileFedEx CHANGED the brand name, its master brand strategy wasn’t successful in getting customers to QUIT SAYING Kinko’s or some hybrid version of the old and new names.
Just this past week, I noticed FedEx Office has addressed the naming issue in the classic Intel way, going the ingredient branding strategy route. An ingredient branding strategy highlights a brand that lives inside another one even though it might not be visible to customers. In this instance, FedEx Office is once again acknowledging the Kinko’s brand as an ingredient of the overall brand experience by recognizing it is “Kinko’s Copying Inside.” It may be a late move (it’s not completely clear when the change first took place or if it’s happened uniformly), but it shows the importance of the willingness to change a brand strategy that’s not working as expected.
Southwest Airlines and Off Brand Advertising
I’m an unabashed Southwest Airlines fan and have written (and tweeted) about the brand several times on Brainzooming, including profiling the Southwest Airlines social media strategy. During the NCAA tournament this weekend, I saw the new Southwest Airlines brand advertising campaign.
In short, I guess you would describe it as an identity campaign trying to help us see how Southwest Airlines understands us or knows what its passengers are going through in their lives. You can watch the ad here and see what you make of it.
I tweeted immediately after seeing the new Southwest Airlines brand advertising campaign that it is off brand. The advertising isn’t fun, personal, or representative of any reasons I choose to fly Southwest Airlines. Perhaps as the brand has had to walk away from its peanut-loving, low-cost airline position it’s still looking for something else.
Interestingly, this was the first time Southwest Airlines has EVER responded to one of my tweets, as shown here.
@brainzooming Sorry it disappoints, Mike! I’ll still spin plates and juggle fire for you, if you so desire! ^BT
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) March 23, 2013
My reply was it wasn’t really an issue of whether I was disappointed in the ad.
The point is this new Southwest Airlines brand advertising could have come from any other airline. When you look back at previous Southwest Airlines advertising, I cannot remember even once when that was the case. And that, my friends, is not the sign of a brand moving forward.
Making a Big Promise with Your Brand
Finally, how willing is your brand to feature a big brand promise right on your building (You’re Gonna Love This Place!) or in your name (Stellar Books)?
I’m not saying don’t put a big brand promise front and center to continually remind your customers you’re reaching for their highest expectations. But if you’re going to do it, you had better be ready to deliver on your big brand promise no matter what!
How Is Your Branding Strategy Doing?
If you’re new to the idea of branding or struggling to strengthen your brand, contact The Brainzooming Group. We can help you identify and take advantage of your best branding opportunities in new ways! – Mike Brown
The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.