Mixed branding, for many, is something that starts and ends in a business school classroom. Many large corporations have successfully used mixed branding to increase their reach without having to create a brand new one.
This article will explain the meaning of mixed branding in the marketplace and highlight three instances in which companies successfully leveraged mixed marketing tactics to diversify their customer appeal.
What is mixed branding?
Mixed branding refers to a strategy of using multiple brand names to market the product to different customers. Sometimes companies find that their brand identity is not aligned with the target audience they want to reach. These businesses might find it beneficial to partner with or create another brand to better market their products.
Customers don’t often realize they are buying the same products from different companies. The secondary brand aligns with customers’ purchasing preferences and makes certain products more appealing to new customers.
Microsoft & Xbox
Mixed branding was a benefit to both Xbox and Microsoft. Xbox, a Microsoft subsidiary, was a great opportunity to market Microsoft tech products to gamers.
Why was Microsoft able to use the Xbox brand to reach this market? It was mainly because of Microsoft’s popularity with the general consumer.
Microsoft is a serious, large company that produces efficient, effective technologies. It was practical and wouldn’t have appealed to younger gamers who are more interested in games.
Xbox’s branding and imagery are geared towards appearing young and modern. Although the brand materials retain a sense of innovation, it is evident that Xbox branding colors are more appropriate for younger audiences.
Michelin & Sears
A successful example of store branding is the Michelin/Sears tire partnership. A niche branding strategy, which involves a chain retailer in the brand partnership, is called store branding.
Sears is a trusted store that provides a variety of goods including clothing, appliances, tools, and other value-oriented products. Sears is a trusted brand that provides a one-stop shop for customers.
Sears can market tires to loyal customers. This is especially true when Sears-branded auto centers offer services such as tire changing to consumers. Sears can sell a lot of tires and related products by offering a tire-changing service to customers who make appointments.
Here Michelin enters the picture. Sears wants to offer tires to customers who trust and rely upon the Sears brand. Sears may not be able to diversify its business and make its tires. Sears Auto Centers allows Michelin to rebrand their tires as Sears tires to sell more tires.
This allows Michelin to increase its sales, while Sears can provide high-quality services without expanding production.
Toyota & Lexus
Toyota and Lexus form part of a strong sub-branding arrangement. This allows the brands to appeal to distinct audiences while still being part of a larger company.
Lexus is owned by Toyota, the parent company of Lexus. However, the two brands serve very distinct markets in the automotive industry due to the significant branding differences.
Before Lexus was introduced, Toyota has been a reliable and cost-effective car brand. The company’s parent company is known for focusing on families who needed reliable, yet affordable vehicles to help them get the job done.
Toyota was determined to enter the luxury car market. It knew that the value-oriented family brand it had built would not be enough to draw in luxury buyers. It created Lexus to break free from the brand identity of its parent company. The brand used modern fonts and colors.
This secondary brand allowed Toyota-made vehicles to appeal to two distinct audiences that had different automotive preferences and priorities. The company was able to sustain success with Lexus cars over time through targeted branding strategies that were effective and mixed. This allowed them to break away from stereotypes about Toyota seamlessly.
Mixed Branding Strategies Diversify Companies
Mixed branding can be a great way to get your company noticed in a new market. Companies that use targeted mixed branding strategies can engage with new customers while maintaining their existing brand and loyal customers.
Companies can create creative strategies by modeling mixed branding efforts that are based on the success of Michelin, Microsoft, and Toyota.