The 1980s witnessed a revolution in the understanding of the working of the brands. Marketers depict brands as a reflection of customers’ own personalities, so that they can relate to their products well. In fact the distinguishing aspect of the modern marketing has been its focus upon the creation of differentiated brands and using them as weapons for launching multi-level attacks on competition. Market research has been used to help identify and develop bases of brand differentiation. A brand identifies a product and its sources, but it does even more. Along came brand extension. Today brand extension strategies are widely employed because of beliefs that they build and communicate strong brand positioning, enhance awareness and increase profitability. Brands are often extended beyond their original categories to include new product categories. Research has proved that the success of brand extension depends on the transfer of parent brand awareness and associations to the extension. The transfer of these quality perceptions is the key in umbrella branding. An umbrella brand is a brand that covers diverse kinds of products which are more or less related. It applies also to any company that is identified only by its brand and history. It is contrasted with individual branding in which each product in a portfolio is given a unique identity and brand name. Mr. K.R.Senthilvelkumar, a professor at Jansons School of Business offers the most pragmatic of reasons behind an umbrella brand strategy, “with scarce financial resources, firms cannot afford to allocate huge budgets for building and maintaining several brands”. Nowadays consumers have become quite unpredictable in their newspaper-reading or TV-viewing habits, it is very difficult to assure the reach of messages to the target audiences. The advertiser has to use many broadcast and print media with high frequency to create the desired effect for every brand, which ultimately puts huge burden on the budget. Hence, companies consider it wise to maintain a minimum number of brands in their portfolio so that they can do justice to each by effectively distributing their investment for promotion purpose. Yes, umbrella branding is widely practiced. The Confederation of Indian Industry's second FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) conclave in 2003 almost declared that umbrella branding was the way to go in a competitive market environment. In an interesting anecdote, R S Sodhi, GM Marketing (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation l), compared the umbrella brand and individual brands to an Indian family, where in umbrella brands - like the Indian family, the father is the head, looking over the children. When they grow up and become independent, they hold the umbrella for the family. Individual brands on the other hand are like a western family, who grow up fast and leave the father behind. Amul’s strategy of using “umbrella branding” has really paid off. Amul’s advertising and marketing spend has never exceeded 1% of its revenues. Most other food companies spend 6-7% of revenues on advertising and marketing. They (GCMMF) are not big spenders compared to Britannia or Nestle. Despite a limited budget, Amul’s creatives—in the form of billboards or the Taste of India campaign—have always managed to evoke a larger-than-life brand feel, consistency and spirit of Indian culture in a contemporary way. Companies phase out the brands which have become redundant and retain one or two umbrella brands for every category with necessary variations under each. For example consumer goods major Reckitt & Colman India Ltd. chalked out an expansion strategy to introduce 20 new brands in the year 1999-2000. The strategy also involved repositioning its existing brands and consolidating sub-brands under its main umbrella brands - Dispirin, Dettol, Harpic and Cherry Blossom. The strategy was designed to vault Reckitt & Colman, in terms of sales, into the big league. With the...
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