Answering YOUR Questions

Two brands, one umbrella business?

creative entrepreneur 2 brands.jpg

I've had this question literally half a dozen times in the last couple of months, and the funny thing is, just by asking this question, I can already tell that people are starting to think about the right things.

By questioning their' brand’s position, they’re starting to remove their own,
personal agenda and think about it from a potential client’s perspective.

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There are really two different questions you should ask yourself when thinking about splitting the brand

Question #1: What does my target market see/hear/feel?

With two different core offerings internal processes, pricing, and costs may be totally different from one another. For example, if you’re a photography business, how you price your wedding packages may be different than how your price your corporate session time and licensing, OR maybe your start-to-finish processes is different when someone hires you to take 100 company headshots than it is when you’re shooting environmental, branding photos for a website. With two different process, it seems to make sense to separate them out into two different brands, but I would argue that deciding between keeping both segments under one umbrella brand, or splitting into two shouldn’t have anything to do with your own internal structure.

It’s not about you, it’s about the customer!

What does your customer want? What do they want to see in your brand before hiring you? Is there a common thread (in their mind) between the two brands, or do the dual messages cloud their perception? Does one segment give you some kind of legitimacy into the other? Do they work in conjunction with one another? Can you make them look seamless on your website and marketing, or will they be confusing for customers to see them in the same space?

And when I’m asking these questions, I’m not asking YOU as the business owner. I’m not looking for your projected views of your customer. I’m asking you to go ask your customer — literally. I’m wanting you to get out of your own perception, and get into theirs.

Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer
— Jonathan Midenhall, CMO of Airbnb

If your potential customers answered that it will cloud your message, it’s time to seriously think about splitting the brands. Having a clear message about your value is the first (and most important) step in branding! Communicating your value in a way that makes people want to HIRE YOU is the only way that your business is going to make money. The more clear you can be, the more motivated your potential customers will be to spend.

Question #2: Can I AFFORD to split into two brands?

The truth is, honing in on your brand as a business is hard. It takes years for a business to fully refine their brand and create a clear, concise message for their current and potential customers. The thought of managing two brands is often too overwhelming because yes, two brands usually means twice as much to manage (on the marketing side).

However, when business owners are asking this question, they’re usually at a point in their business where they’re either adding, or growing a secondary revenue stream. At that point, the question becomes:

Is the additional revenue worth
the extra time, energy, and money it takes
to manage a second brand?

This one is potentially more difficult to answer than the first. It takes some time to go through projections, added cost assessment, and forecasting revenue, but once you do the work, your answer will be very cut and dry. Numbers don’t lie, and they will also end up saving you time and money in the long run. We created a blog post about Annual Financial Goals for your business, and suggest meandering back there for a re-cap on how to create and digest these projections.

If after crunching the numbers, you find that the pay-off out weighs the costs, then YES, split those brands and continue to GROW YOUR BUSINESS. You got this!!!