2 Many Brands = 1 Big Mess


2 Many Brands = 1 Big Mess: It’s hard to think of an industry in which branding is more important than in cell phones. People might buy a new phone for its capabilities, but they will only stand in line overnight to buy the phone and put up with months of disastrous glitches for a well designed, well marketed brand. We saw it with the iPhone, we saw it with the Droid, and now we could have seen it with the Samsung Galaxy. However, all signs indicate that this phone will never reach its potential. Unfortunately, the naming and branding of this new smartphone is nothing short of dumb.

The core problem with this phone is a lack of continuity in the brand and marketing. The Galaxy smartphone will have a different name for every carrier that sells it. It will be called the Vibrant for T-Mobile, the Captivate for AT&T, the Fascinate for Verizon and the Galaxy S for US Cellular. In short, this is not one brand, but four. Five, even, if you count the plain old Galaxy. For more information read 10 cool marketing tips.

Can you imagine the iPhone making such a sensation if it had a different name for every carrier? We can’t either. People bought wholeheartedly into the iPhone brand and were proud to display the logo design. In fact, the phone was such a status symbol that many people switched carriers, even though the company monopolizing the iPhone market didn’t offer great coverage in many areas.

But back to Samsung. Even if the company can whip up fervor for its new phone, can it do it four times over? Can it come up with a logo design that unites four separate brands, each with their own name? Will they ever be able to fit this marketing and branding nightmare coherently into a 20 second commercial slot?

Consider the following scenario: A customer hears about the Samsung Galaxy and pops into their favorite carrier’s store to check it out. But the store doesn’t carry the Galaxy. When the salesperson pulls out a Vibrant, the customer basically shrugs and walks away. Who is going to give up their ringtone collection for a phone they’ve never heard of? Similarly, no kid is going to ask for the Galaxy for Christmas and be happy to open a Fascinate. Multiply these scenarios by tens of thousands and you can see why this is a marketing and branding disaster waiting to happen.

Popular phones become so because of branding. Remember the Blackberry? It was called the same thing regardless of the cell phone carrier. We all recognized the logo design and the phone itself. The same for the iPhone, the Treo, and the Droid. People identified with the brand—in part because it was that, a single brand. Pulling off the same success with four separate names will be a marketing team’s nightmare. It may even be impossible.

Branding confusion can be disastrous for a brand. Don’t let this happen to you! If you think your business brand and logo design could use a little streamlining, contact a logo designer today.