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Business communication insights, innovations and perspectives

Transbranding—or how to keep your brand unified in a fragmented market

In their post for the Harvard Business Review, Dae Ryun Chang and Don Ryun Chang  look at how brands can maintain unity in today’s increasingly fragmented markets. One way brands such as Starbucks are successfully addressing this type of market is by adopting a transbranding policy and management system. According to the authors, transbranding is “using brands to connect and effectively move between divergent markets.” Adopting a transbranding strategy is necessary in today’s markets because it’s no longer just marketers who are able to tell a brand’s story. The online environment, and particularly social networks, allow other voices to create (and often muddy) a brand’s narrative. Transbranding calls for marketers to unify their brand’s narrative across online and offline channels.

In their post, the authors provide some key characteristics of organizations that are successfully using transbranding to tell their brand’s story. Characteristics of these organizations include the following:

  • They are transitional in that they allow time for their brand to evolve and align itself with the larger market place.
  • They are transcendent in that they don’t just appeal to a niche audience on social media, but make the effort to find those characteristics that transcend and appeal to all audiences.
  • They are malleable. With so many places for brands to appear online nowadays–from tablet apps, smartphone apps, desktop, etc.– a brand logo must allow for flexibility and have the ability to fit all types of properties, characters and media.
  • They are transparent. The authors praise the branding campaign around Domino’s Pizza where the organization openly discussed customer dissatisfaction, quality issues and communicated how these would be addressed allowing for an open and honest discussion with their consumers.

Brands that can successfully conquer the divide between online and offline marketing by employing some of the characteristics of transbranding will find they have they ability to present a cohesive, unified image in any type of market.

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