Ingredient branding: perils and opportunities ~ Brand Mix

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ingredient branding: perils and opportunities

Photo: Nemo, all grown up by motleypixel (Flickr)

I have a new article on ingredient branding that's been published by Finding your Nemo: Surviving the Dangerous Waters of Ingredient Branding. Here's the speed-read summary:

1) What's Nemo got to do with it? As a clown fish living in symbiotic harmony with his sea anemone host, Nemo is a rare example of a win-win in the animal kingdom. But, for every Nemo, there are many, many more predators and parasites. What's true of the animal kingdom is also true in the world of ingredient branding.

2) The allure of ingredient brands: Companies are attracted to ingredient branding, smelling the whiff of opportunity. When brands are weak, bland, or undifferentiated, ingredient brands can add strength, color, and distinctiveness. When brands are commoditized, ingredient brands can add value. And if the ingredient brand is already well known and built by someone else, it can deliver these benefits very quickly.

3) Success! It can work. The Heavenly Bed is a spectacular success for Westin. Hemi, worked for Dodge and Techron worked for Chevron. But note that all these successes were proprietary ingredient brands launched by the companies themselves (vs. a partnership with another company).

4) Intel eats its hosts: Intel is the most famous of all ingredient brand cases. It was a spectacular success for Intel but pretty much a disaster for all the host computer companies. They were hooked and then sunk.

5) Any clown fish-like examples? There are a few: Starbucks coffee stores in Barnes & Noble Stores, the Oreo McFlurry at McDonalds and the Woolmark seal. These are partnerships where the partners have complementary skills and the ingredient brand does not threaten or take away the key brand equities/competencies of the host.

6) Lessons: The main lesson is to be really careful out there. The world of ingredient branding is a dangerous place, often best left alone. Better off to create your own ingredient brands if you can. If you feel the need to go off-reef and partner with someone else, then be especially wary. That enticing light may just turn out to be a nasty Anglerfish.

1 comment:

Ali said...

talking about ingredient branding, here is a great article on which explains with different examples ... I liked the dreamliner example the most....

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