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Group Branding

Forging a sense of unity of the group and using it for market development and improvement of recognition

There are roughly two major perspectives for group branding. One perspective is to generate a unifying force in the group and the other is to coordinate the brand system.
Groups have been formed as clusters of multiple companies after a company splits into business domains. In this process, an organization that originally had a single ambition transforms itself into separate companies that work on their respective businesses in different directions as suited to peculiarities of their domains, markets, and customers.
As a result, individual companies have their own visions and values to be offered and the group loses its integrity. Meanwhile, “group management” gains attention. According to this approach, intra-group collaboration, such as the development of new technologies and market cultivation based on a combination of technologies and sales forces owned by the individual companies in the group, will be encouraged to trigger a new movement or to win a large-scale project.

In view of this, an increasing number of groups now engage in branding based on concept redefinition, in which they go back to basics to redefine their group philosophies, to clarify the value offered by the whole group (for example, by purposing its social value), and to specify the roles that individual companies have to play in the group.
Although mergers and acquisitions are nowadays common, there are an increasing number of groups clearly defining or redefining their visions, missions, actions, and other aspects in a bid to help newly affiliated companies swiftly share their cultures.
Group internal branding will facilitate sharing of brand concepts like these.

The second major perspective of group branding is to coordinate the brand system. In the case where the holding company or the group is defined as a parent brand while operating companies are defined as subsidiary brands, it is vital to build an orderly relationship in which the parent endorses its subsidiaries and where subsidiaries lift their parent.
One option is to make a uniform brand name applicable to the whole group and to individual companies. In this case, it is necessary to broaden the scope of consideration to the second-tier subsidiaries of the parent brand.
When using their names to conform to a uniform system (i.e., a format with a main part followed by an extension) on extensive brand interfaces, group companies will be easily recognized as belonging to the same group, will link the brand interfaces that tend to be disintegrated, and will be able to gain a single major perception.
This coordination of the brand system will lead to the creation of a sense of unity among the group companies as mentioned in the first major perspective of group branding.
Pursuit of the group’s single brand or voice and advertising of the main part of the brand will help increase the name recognition effectively while cutting communication expenses. In other words, this approach gives the advantage of increasing the global expansion potential.

On the other hand, scandals caused by any subsidiary or second-tier subsidiary will directly affect the parent’s brand. Following this coordination of the brand system, it is significant to implement internal branding as discussed in the context of the first major perspective of group branding, in which thorough education is given about the common philosophy and action guidelines of individual companies.

Example of an implementation process

  1. Auditing of the current system, inspection of the philosophies and visions of individual companies and interviews with top executives of the group and individual companies
  2. Determination of the policy, including the group’s philosophy, vision, mission, and the desirable form of the group system
  3. Development of brand concepts, including the philosophy, vision, and mission
  4. Development of a group slogan that plainly declares the philosophy and others as needed, and development of the group’s symbol, visual identity, and icons as needed
  5. Preparation of a brand book for harmonizing the mindset in the group and development of communications to outsiders
  6. Implementation of different internal branding measures and development of methodologies for displaying the group’s synergy

Development of a style for the group as needed.

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