Not very long ago our firm was contacted by a company in the computer accessories business that wanted help with its branding strategy. The company, let’s call it Company “A,” is still closely managed by its two founders. It has developed a reputation for high quality and reliable premium-priced products and is the leader in its field. The need for a branding strategy arose when Company A bought one of its smaller competitors, Company “B,” known for its line of value-oriented products, for its creativity and new product development ability. Company A made the decision to keep both brands A and B, and was faced with the task of developing a marketing strategy that would allow the two brands to coexist and flourish. Marketing management wanted to find a way to differentiate the brands in their distributors’ and customers’ minds. They thought a branding strategy would do the trick. It will not! Company A’s management confuses branding with marketing and wants to use a “branding strategy” where a product line “repositioning” is called for. What it needs in the short term is to position each company relative to the market and its powerful distributors. This calls for a traditional
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