Column Branding Transfer: how 2 brands become family

In some cases, it is decided to link the brands of both organizations after a merger, so-called Brand Transfers. In brand image transfer, the goal is to transfer valuable associations for consumers or customers from one brand to another, whether combined or not.

Definitions of the brand image concept (source: Brandr / MarketingTribune)
1. All inclusive definitions:
* The overall perception of the brand
* The perception of all the characteristics of the brand
* The general impression of the product or service

2. Symbolic meaning
* The brand is associated with two kinds of meanings: the functional and the symbolic
* The image contains product features and socio-psychological meanings

3. Meanings and Notices
* The product is purchased for its physical product characteristics and for the meanings and associations that distinguish the brand from the competition

4. Brand personality
* The brand is seen as a person
* Products have human characteristics

5. Cognitive and psychosocial elements
* The image includes ideas, feelings and attributes towards the brand
* The total set of attitudes, halo of psychological meanings and feelings and aesthetic associations


Hampton by Hilton

Though Hampton by Hilton more one brand approval strategy, there is also a Brand Transfer here. The brand’s image is always integrated in the communication, and Hilton is only too happy to parade theirs mid price brand.

Hampton by Hilton is an award-winning brand for price-conscious and quality-seeking travellers. “With more than 1900 locations in 15 countries around the world, we offer everything you need for business or leisure travel. Enjoy high-quality accommodation, in-room amenities, competitive rates and friendly service.

Photo: Vodafone

VodafoneZiggo took a closer look

A well-known and effective Brand Transfer was the one between Vodafone and Ziggo, both with a large market share in the market. Vodafone primarily wanted to exude innovation and strength and emerge as a winner. Therefore many sponsorships in the sport, as in previous years in Formula I with the then still starting Lewis Hamilton. Vodafone previously had a dual brand in the Netherlands with Libertel-Vodafone, but the successful Libertel brand was killed after only two years.

Vodafone recently aligned its international brand positioning to Together We Can in 2021, emphasizing that the collaboration between human ambition and technological innovation can lead to great results.

Because both brands will continue together and form a single brand, a new strategy and the company’s core values ​​were needed. This was developed by agency Heldergroen and translated into Open Up, Team Up and Step Up.

When two large organizations with their own cultures merge, it is especially important to develop a new common culture for the employees and introduce it with great patience. Avoid both parties feeling deprived or undervalued.

Traditionally a cable company and merged in 2008, Ziggo has grown rapidly as an independent company. But the brand has also previously known a period with many product complaints. Before the merger with Vodafone, the Ziggo brand was more diffuse and therefore benefits from the merger and the strength of the Vodafone brand, which is understandably named as the first brand.

Ziggo has already committed to the Ziggodome in Amsterdam in 2009, a place that is experienced by all music lovers as a top location and artists like to perform there. Among other things, brand awareness has increased considerably, and Ziggo is emphatically positioned as an entertainment company with TV, streaming and concerts.

VodafoneZiggo also aimed to exploit the potential cost advantages of the merger of Vodafone and Ziggo in the Netherlands. The cable and telecommunications group succeeded in serving the customers of both companies from one network, reducing the number of homes and establishing a joint customer service. All this results in significant cost savings every year.

You can therefore say that both brands, the brand transfer, are successful for the time being.

Photo: Ziggodome

What should you pay attention to in a Brand Transfer?

Very simple: you would do well to know the correct value of the brands involved at the time. With this you not only know the current economic value and the accumulated marketing and brand success, but above all you gain insight into turnover, distribution and profit potential for the coming years. The Brand Commissioner’s BVM brand assessment method is a good instrument for this purpose.

It is also very important to see which communities the brands involved have built up in the meantime and how they talk about the brand (fan potential). What is certainly also very important is knowing what the current brand image of the brands involved is. It cannot be the case that brands with a conflicting image are simply combined as one brand. Think ShellTango, JumboPicnic or MercedesDacia…

In acquisitions, it is often too easily argued that there is a double cost of maintaining the brands and that carrying one brand can lead to significant savings. It can certainly be the case in certain cases. But a thorough market strategic analysis can provide the necessary clarity.

What positions do the merger brands in question currently occupy and how are the brands positioned in the market? Is there much or little overlap in the user groups? Almost all markets have room for divergent positioning, which is why it is important to take a good look at where your own and competing brands are positioned. For example, the purpose of an own brand can also be more future-proof than another own brand. If all positions are already taken and the own brands have a lot of overlap with each other, a restructuring of one of the own brands may be the right choice.

Photo: FrieslandCampina

There are several big brands that have experienced a Brand Transfer, such as ABNAmro, Douwe Egberts/Van Nelle and FrieslandCampina back then. It is true that they come from the same sector, but with significant cultural differences, and it takes years to blend properly…if at all.

The most important success factor for a Brand Transfer is – after you have established that it provides sufficient synergy – the development of a new good brand policy with an appropriate house style. And then implement this widely in the organization and in brand communication.

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