Step one: Establish a brand.
Step two: Immediately stress out about your logo, settle on something, and call it a day.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
If you want to have a successful brand, you must determine a clear direction—beginning with how you’ll market it.
Brand architecture: One brand or many brands under one roof
Decide whether to use one brand, such as Ford, or a host of brands, as in the case of Unilever.
The advantage to the former is you’ll manage only one brand. The latter requires the flexibility to multitask and see the bigger picture.
With just one brand, you won’t be able to differentiate. With several brands, you’ll have a broader scope of targeting possibilities, including a variety of products and marketing segments.
Which is right for you? Consider the following:
If you have several products that do not directly relate to one another—think motor oil and soap—selling them under the same brand name isn’t going to work.
If you have two great ideas, you might be better off creating entirely different brands or creating subdivisions of the same brand. That will help avoid consumer confusion.
Your organization might sell many products, but you probably don’t want to market them with the same strategy.
For example, you don’t want to be known for selling diapers and French cheese. Those two products do not market well together.
If you’re launching a high-quality product, separate it from your more budget-friendly products.
A negative user experience with a lesser-quality product will be associated with everything else you sell. Avoid that.
One negative review can contaminate all of your brand’s products, even if they different in quality. Be wary of using a similar marketing strategy for both.
To broaden your reach and expand your brand, identify several target audiences.
How can you do that? Establish two different brands. For example, to break into the luxury car market, Toyota created Lexus. Follow a similar strategy if you’re marketing your product to different groups (single, young mothers and retired couples).
You can differentiate by using different colors, visuals and language in your marketing and advertising.
Start thinking about these tactics sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you might be forced to abandon your marketing strategy entirely.
Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. A version of this article first appeared on Spin Sucks.