One of the key exercises in our Brand Profile Process is the ’Brand Relatives’ exercise - where you identify:
- Complementary Brands - Brands that have a similar audience - e.g. Diesel, Wrigley’s and MTV
- Competing Brands - Brands competing for the same audience - e.g. Diesel, Energie and G-Star
- Brand Aesthetics - Brands which have similar design values - e.g. Diesel, Kidrobot and David Beckham - never forget that celebrities are brands too!
The purpose of this exercise is to consider the consumer lifestyle of your target customers - you need to adopt their mindset and think from their perspective of what brands they associate positively with and actively consume - and how your brand fits within their lifestyle choices.
It’s quite easy to identify complementray brands at the top end of the luxury market - Rolls Royce, Rolex and Montblanc for instance.
The middle market definitions are far more difficult, often the starting point is where your customer do their weekly shop - ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose - there are also the budget supermarkets - Aldi, Lidl and Netto? It’s very much about what brands your customers identify with - what is more relevant and more important to consumers within a specific demographic, and which aspects matter less. Within the same consumer segment, certain brands will hold a particular caché - it is this you want to be able to seize on and make use of for your own positioning.
As well as supermarkets, you could also compare Pizza Chains - these map onto consumer lifestyles:
Ask Italian | Domino’s | Fire & Stone | Papa Johns | Pizza Express | Pizza Hut | Prezzo| Strada | Zizzi
As do Coffe Chains:
BB’s Coffee & Muffins | Caffè Nero | Caffè Ritazza | Coffee Republic | Costa Coffee | Starbucks
Or even Pharmacies (near enough every UK citizen goes into a Boots or Superdrug store at least once per year):
Boots | John Bell & Croyden | Lloyds Pharmacy | Superdrug
A significant psychology in ’Brand Relatives’ is one of ’Aspiration’ - not always what brands people buy on a regular daily basis, but what they aspire to and buy for special occasions.
In defining Brand Relatives, it is important to identify common references points and benchmarks, and to steer clear of cues and markers which might have negative connotations for your demographic / audience.
In effect you are identifying a ’Brand Family’ where you must also be able to identify red herrings - which don’t sit comfortably within that family group - the key dynamic within marketing is pin-point accurate targeting - any visual cues which blur your message or confuse your customers are going to lead to compromised targeting.
Comrz as an example
For our own Comrz Brand, the ’Brand Relatives’ overview looks like this:
Complementary Brands - Here we consider Brands that would have a similar audience profile to our own - Brand which share similar values. Comrz is very much about R&D, engineering, innovation and empowerment; Brands that share these values would include:
Apple, Audi and Dyson
Competing Brands - In the area of Social Commerce, Comrz and Affino compete against the biggest and best known eCommerce and Social Integration platforms; these would include:
IBM, Venda and Volusion
Brand Aesthetics - Comrz is engineering and finesse -focused, underlining its values and positioning with simple elegance and refinement; Brands that share these characteristics include:
BBC, The Guardian and John Lewis