Retail Branding with a House of Brands

By Tom Dougherty
Retail branding: House of brands or branded house?

Retail branding: House of brands or branded house?

Retailers are always looking for ways out of their holes. So what do they do? In at least one case of retail branding, a chain is evolving into a house of brands.

retail brandingTarget, the retailer always chasing its own tail to track down Walmart, is building a partnership with Ulta Beauty. By including a store-within-a-store concept with the beauty retailer.

This follows Target including standalone sections with Starbucks, CVS and Disney. Basically, Target wants to be known as a sort of shopping mall. And how are malls doing these days?

Not a great retail branding idea. Offering those brands by itself isn’t a bad idea. But if the retailer thinks it can catch Walmart and outlast others by leveraging other brands, the Target brand will be lost in the equation.

Let’s step back for a moment. A branded house means the parent brand is the face of the franchise, so to speak. You know, like Walmart. A house of brands means all the sub-brands take center stage. Think Proctor & Gamble.

“But it also leaves Target’s own retail branding efforts in the dust. Consumers won’t come to Target because of the Target brand. They might not even come for the more meaningful brands. Because they can get them elsewhere. Including online.”

Retail branding doesn’t work with a house of brands anymore

The problem with a house of brands is that it’s very expensive to keep afloat. In Target’s case, it’s not as expensive because the other brands are doing the heavy lifting.

But it also leaves Target’s own retail branding efforts in the dust. Consumers won’t come to Target because of the Target brand. They might not even come for the more meaningful brands. Because they can get them elsewhere. Including online.

Retail branding right now is simply lost. Some still believe they can make their brick and mortar locations work with store design. Many, especially Target, simply copy Walmart’s low-cost model and wonder why it can’t catch up.

The answer always stares them right in the face. Fix your brand. It’s that simple. Yet most retail branding is simply lazy. And retailers remain as stubborn in clutching their outdated brands as those grasping their Blackberrys.

There’s a better way. Drop us a note and we’ll tell you how to be different and better.

 

 

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