I often work with estate agents and Departments within an Estate Agent’s portfolio are sometimes diversely different in their outlook, process, marketing and in some cases brand identity. When asked recently the question ‘One brand or two?’ in reference to the visual identity of departments within an Estate Agent my reply was that one brand is always stronger and here's why:
Whatever service a person is looking for the whole is more than the sum of its parts. If residential boards are a familiar sight or word on the street is good then this gained awareness is transferable across other services be that commercial, financial or block management.
Most people will deal with residential estate agents at some point in their lives but they are much less likely to with say land or agricultural. So when picking an agent for this other service the familiarity of a brand is likely to sway decision making. We are programmed as humans to opt for familiarity however subliminal.
Clients from one brand could easily become a client for the other brand, confidence and loyalty has already been instilled. Why rock the boat with different logos.
Companies are like families, and whatever we know we should feel, if departments are altogether different brands it is very difficult to co-erce members to feel equally loyal, this division is apparent to onlookers.
The different departments under one roof, or in this case umbrella gives strength and reassurance to a customer making a decision between competing agents.
Marketing an umbrella brand is more cost effective than marketing two or three smaller ones. Advertising costs can be reduced and online traffic and search engine optimisation more effective.
The flip side
Strength can go up as well as down. If one brand is letting the side down it will affect everyone, but turn that around and benefits are equally effective.
And the exception to the rule
If one of the brand’s business involves working for customers of competitors to another brand this can create unease both within the market and a customer’s understanding and may damage the umbrella so perhaps a reason to separate.
To sum up Super brands such as Easyjet, Virgin or Savills promote a unified identity across all their products and services and even Unilever and P&G the major ‘multi-brand’ examples have started to promote their own umbrella. In a day and age where locality is no longer a winner, competition is growing, attention spans are shrinking and audiences are swayed in any number of directions, my experience tells me there is certainly strength in solidarity.
I’d love to hear your views.
I am a freelance Website Designer, Logo Designer and Graphic Designer based in Suffolk.
Contact me for more information.