Ed Cotton: Can Brands Sustain Their Identity In The Face Of Consolidation?

New company ‘everything everywhere’ merges two brands into one and shares the challenges of maintaining company autonomy.

It’s clear that the financial pressures are running rampant right now in the capital-intensive network provider space.

everything everywhere  is a company, created as a result of these pressures and is the consolidation of T-Mobile and Orange mobile and digital businesses in the UK.

It’s also a company whose name sounds like it might have been created by an algorithm.

The company has over 600 retail points of sale and 27 million customers and exemplifies the potential problem of brand consolidation; a process that is designed to make things simple, but ends up making things far more complex.

Orange and T-Mobile had a history of great communication; Wolf Olins developed the mold-breaking Orange name and identityWCRS the advertisingand of course, T-Mobile’s recent ad campaigns have been amongst the best out there.

As single entities they needed distinctive brand POVs and their brand’s thrived of their unique spirit and attitude, but under a single parent, these formerly very independent brands now need to be managed as a portfolio and we’ve already we’ve seen T-Mobile’s famous “Life is For Sharing” strategy bite the dust.

There’s now consensus at everything everywhere, with layers of brand management and portfolio planning going into decisions and while the brands still exist with distinct strategies, they’re going to be weakened as a result.

It’s brand management on life support.

Yesterday, to further complicate matters, everything everywhere announced plans to launch a third brand to add to its portfolio, which will be launched later in 2012.

While everything everywhere currently seems committed to a three brand portfolio strategy, it contradicts the financial purpose of consolidation.

The time could easily come when for the sake of efficiency the three brands go away and everything everywhere will become the sole entity, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it could.

everything everywhere might end up being a stark reminder to all of us that work in the business of developing, creating and marketing brands, that in a world where corporate consolidation is now a major force, the only way for brands to survive is to be strong enough to make the elimination decision extremely hard for the bean counters.

To see the original post, click here. Originally posted on Influx, which explores the intersection of brands and the social, consumer and cultural forces that shape them. Read more on Influx.

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