Devising a Branding Strategy: How to Choose a Brand Name
One of the most important branding decisions while devising a branding strategy is how to choose a brand name for the product. Is it even required? If required, should it carry a legacy of from the previous brand under the stable of the organization OR the firm should look at investing a new brand name altogether?
In general, in today’s era, there is almost no product which sells without a brand name. It could as simple as the family name of the manufacturer e.g. MDH Masale to more evolved approaches in selecting brand names.
Below are the four strategies on how to choose a brand name as explained in Marketing Management by Dr. Philip Kotler:
1. Individual Names
While deciding on how to choose a brand name, a company may decide to choose individual brand names for every product line. The advantage of choosing a different brand name with the product is that the company doesn’t attach any reputation with the new brand. Also, in case the product/brand fails, the company image or other products offered by the company is not hurt.
e.g. Major automobile leaders own more than one brand and do not associate one brand with another keeping individuality of each brand intact.
- Volkswagen Group: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen.
- Toyota: Toyota, Daihatsu, Lexus.
- Hyundai Motor Group: Hyundai, KIA.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Lancia, Maserati, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep, Ram.
- Tata Motors: Tata, Jaguar, Land Rover.
2. Blanket Family Names
As Dr. Philip Kotler explains, many firms chose to use their corporate brand across their range of products. E.g. Heinz, General Electric etc-.
Advantage of using corporate brand names:
- The biggest advantage of using a corporate brand is the fact that it entails lesser investment compared to launching a completely new brand name.
- If the corporate brand has good equity, the new product gets headstart and receives instant recognition.
- The sales of the new product us likely to be good if the corporate brand holds good equity.
- Brands are intangible assets to an organization. Expanding the horizon of the brand, in turn, increases the intangible assets the firm holds.
In India, Bajaj Group strongly believes in strengthening the corporate brand around which their business revolves.
- Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd. – General insurance business.
- Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd. – Life insurance business.
- Bajaj Finserv Ltd – Financial Services.
- Bajaj Auto Ltd. – Manufacturers of scooters, motorcycles and three-wheeler vehicles and spare parts.
- Bajaj Corp, Cosmetics.
- Bajaj Electricals Ltd. – Manufacturers of electric fans, highmasts, lattice closed towers and poles.
3. Separate Family Names for all Products
Companies may choose to use separate family names for a different line of businesses. This approach is preferred when the companies are into various unrelated product categories.
Godfrey Philip India Limited is into different businesses branded under different brand names. The brand names are completely unrelated to each other and most of the times the consumer wouldn’t even find out that he/she is consuming as Godfrey Philip Group product.
- Cigarette Brands: Four Square, Red & White,
- Retail: 24 Seven
- Chewing (Tobacco Products): Pan Vilas
- Confectionary: Funda Goli, Naturally Imli, Burst,
All the above portal are owned by Godfrey Philip India Limited. The advantage of keeping separate family names is that any outburst against one brand doesn’t spill over to other businesses.
4. Corporate Name Combined with Individual Product Names
Last and final approach, as per Dr. Philip Kotler in his book Marketing Management, is to use the corporate brand as the umbrella name under which the company might choose to create sub-brands which have a life of their own.
e.g. Sony uses its brand name as an umbrella over various sub-brands created for product categories.
- Sony Playstation: Gaming Consoles
- Sony Bravia: Televisions (LEDs)
- Sony Alpha: Cameras
- Sony Cybershot: Point and Shoot Cameras
- Sony Xperia: Mobile Phones
- Sony Vaio: Laptops
Individual names and blanket family names are sometimes referred to as a “house of brands” and a “branded house,” respectively, and they represent two ends of a brand relationship continuum.
How to Choose a Brand Name is a tricky and slightly subjective decision. Practically, no companies might not stick to one approach but uses a mix. E.g. On one hand where Bajaj uses its corporate brand across the business, it has chosen to disassociate the brand name ‘Bajaj’ from their ‘Pulsar’ range of motorcycles. Now Pulsar is a standalone brand.
Two key components of virtually any branding strategy are brand extensions and brand portfolios which will need detailed discussion and will be taken up in subsequent posts.
Read More excerpts from by Dr. Philip Kotler’s book Marketing Management Here