One Strong Brand? Really?

What happened: In an effort to try and explain a recent merger of Contex and VIDAR, the company is stumbling all over itself. The important facts to know are Contex and VIDAR are both well-known brands and Contex is the dominant brand. This posed a strategic problem for Contex because customers kept asking what were the main differences between the two products. Since both brands are well known and respected it wasn’t possible to eliminate or downplay either of them. So the company decided to call them both Contex and cross its fingers that the questions would go away. Ultimately, that will probably work, but not before Contex has further confused an already confused market.

Check out this corporate speak and decide for yourself how much sense it makes.

“Though very successful, two separate brands of wide-format scanners from the same manufacturer can create confusion. So, to make our brand even stronger, we have decided to differentiate our wide-format scanner brand and VIDAR System Corp.’s successful brand of medical film digitizer products. Beginning in 2010, all VIDAR wide format scanners will be branded with the Contex name.”

Why it matters: When an organization says it wants to differentiate its brands and then takes an action that neutralizes its brands, that is not smart marketing. Obviously, the brands held value or the company would not have been asked what the difference between them was.

Of course, brands are sometimes renamed, but in order for the new name to make sense a logical reason needs to be offered to explain the change. In this case, Context says it has decided to keep them differentiated, however, it has taken the action to make them the same. And frankly, that isn’t logical or smart branding because all it is going to accomplish is raise more questions than answers. And that’s never a good thing.

Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company, or product/services company serving the industry, and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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  • http://SteveBlanken Steve Blanken

    As the sales director for Contex North America trust me the market is not confused. They were more confused with the same product going out under two different names.
    GM and Ford have just reduced brand names because they realize in this economy they are not gaining market share only trading back and forth between brands. As a sharp marketeer you should certainly know that unless you have two different channels to market the same product to it does not make sense to spend double the money to market on two brands of the same product to the same market.