Eric Revels Creative Co. (ERC) just wrapped up a sub-brand launch for our client StreamLinx. They had developed a new, much more sophisticated and powerful software offering to manage energy retrofitting for large, existing facilities (since specified energy-saving measures are now mandated by the federal government). Their offering is easy-to-use, intuitive and makes what was once a laborious and costly process easier and more cost-efficient.
It was time to launch StreamLinx’s first sub-brand: SnapCount™. So, how did the team get there? There are several quick questions to ask yourself if you’re considering a sub-brand:
1. How much equity exists in the current master brand?
If your answer is “not much,” then it’s likely a no-brainer to move forward with the sub-brand, but keep going through the questions. If your answer is “some equity, but it’s limited to a small audience,” then continue on. However, if your answer is “we have a ton of equity in our master brand,” then depending on how you plan to execute sub-branding, it may not be right for your company.
2. Is the new offering unique and differentiating? Can it set your company apart?
How unique is your new offering? Is it a game-changer? If so, then you should seriously consider sub-branding to support the initiative. By sub-branding, it gives you a reason for a formal launch, lots of press and rationale for premium marketing support. If it’s not a game-changer, perhaps the new offering just becomes one more product or service in your line-up.
3. Could the new offering stand on its own, without the master brand, if it was required to?
One litmus test that we use at ERC is whether or not an offering, product or service could stand on its own – if it had to. If it can’t, then don’t mess around with a sub-brand. If it can, then you’ve got something to think about!
4. Does your company plan to develop additional offerings of comparable or better value than the new offering?
Launching a sub-brand is part of an overall product, service or marketing strategy. If you know that you have other offerings in the pipeline – that are just as strong and exciting as the one you’re planning on sub-branding – then this affirms your decision to move forward with a sub-branding strategy and brand hierarchy/messaging. If you don’t, but you still like the idea of sub-brand, perhaps you need to take a hard look at your master brand and whether or not you really need it.
5. How would your customers/clients react? Would they embrace it?
Last, but not least…what would your current customers think about this decision? Would they feel shorted if they bought into your offerings prior to the launch of the new, sexy sub-brand? How do you make them feel good about what they have? Well, the best way to go is to turn your current customers into brand advocates by including them in your Beta test and upgrading their services to the new offering. They can also serve as a great sounding board for how you approach the launch. If asked, most customers are happy to provide insights and ideas on how to help make the launch of your new product/sub-brand a success!
Depending on how you answer these questions, your decision should become clear. If you’d like any help determining whether or not you should launch a sub-brand, and/or if you need marketing communications to support your new sub-brand, let us know! ERC Co. would be happy to help.
Please check out the StreamLinx site to see where we netted out in our solution of SnapCount™ powered by StreamLinx.
Director, Marketing Services