AgDM newsletter article, May 2002

Building Your Brand with Flanker Brands

by Nancy Giddens, agricultural extension value-added marketing specialist, Missouri Value-added Development Center, University of Missouri; and Amanda Hofmann, student research assistant

This article is second in a five-part series on building a brand and developing it in the marketplace. The previous article outlined the importance of branding and the process of creating a brand for a new product. This article moves ahead to developing flanker brands.

What is a flanker brand?

A flanker brand is a new brand introduced into the market by a company that already has an established brand in the same product category. The new brand is designed to compete in the category without damaging the existing item’s market share by targeting a different group of consumers. This strategy, also called fighter branding or multibranding, is used to achieve a larger total market share than one product could garner alone. Companies with multiple brands in a single product category generally have the following types of products in their portfolios:

For example, General Mills markets both Gold Medal and Robin Hood brand flours. Gold Medal serves as a premium product and commands a premium price from consumers who value quality. However, Robin Hood offers a lower-priced product with a slightly lower level of quality for those who are more heavily influenced by the price of products within a category.

Why is flanker branding important?

Flanker branding is important because it allows a company to attract new customers from various market segments. The main brand of a company’s portfolio should target the market segment containing the most consumers. Another brand can then be positioned to convert users from other market segments by using a different set of benefits or product characteristics. For example, Proctor and Gamble’s (P&G) Tide is an extremely successful laundry detergent. In order to appeal to consumers who desired a lower-cost detergent, P&G introduced Cheer, which is a slightly lower quality product offered at a value price. While Tide’s sales dropped slightly with the introduction of the new brand, the combined sales of Cheer and Tide were higher than Tide’s original sales alone, allowing P&G to gain a greater market share. A company’s brands should attract customers from competing brands and not each other.

There are a number of advantages to developing a flanker brand:

Developing flanker brands does present challenges. Introducing a new brand is quite costly. Creating another independent brand requires name research and substantial advertising expenditures to create name recognition and preference for the new brand.

Will Flanker Branding Work for You?

Flanker branding is not for everyone. There are a number of questions that must be answered in order to make the best decision for your situation. The most basic questions include:

A flanker branding strategy can be very effective if implemented appropriately. The next article in this series will examine another type of branding – product line extensions.

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