The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-02-2004, 02:58 PM
GWVet GWVet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Why do companies market products under several brand names?

I was researching LCD projectors for work today and came to find out that InFocus, Proxima, Eiki, Canon, and Boxlight LCD Projectors are all made by Sanyo. Sanyo also sells projectors under their core brand name too. That's easy to understand, what with acquisition and mergers etc., but the thing that surprised me was that many times they will sell the same exact piece of equipment under 4 different brand names. Kind of like the old Dodge Dart was the same as the Plymouth Valiant. That one caused me to scratch my head all through childhood too.

Anyone know why they do this? Is it just market saturation taken to the extreme?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-02-2004, 03:14 PM
kellner kellner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
- Different brands can be focused (at least originally) on different markets or countries. Many buyers prefer pseudo-domestic products or brands can develop different prestige in different countries more or less by chance.

- Conglomerates can flesh out the product palette of their subsidiaries so that they appear to cover a much broader range of products than they really do. This way they can take advantage of any preference that might exist for their established brands in some market segment.

- Companies can change prices without negative effects on premium brands.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-02-2004, 03:58 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 14,804
There can be different levels of "fit and finish" between the multiple brands all sharing the same core guts.

More sneaky - multiple brands can prevent price matching. If Sanyo sells (for example) Eiki-badged projectors at Costco, Canon at OfficeMax, Proxima at Office Depot and InFocus at CompUSA, there's no way a consumer can price-match between stores, even though there may be no difference other than the name on the box.

Brand familiarity - Want to sell these projectors to schools? School AV deparments will be familiar with the Eiki name from their long-established (25 years or so, in case you've never heard of them) line of movie projectors, while photo and art departments will likely be enamored with Canon for the cameras produced under that name.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-02-2004, 04:32 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Yes, it's a way of getting a bigger share of the market. And it's often requested by the stores themselves.

An example: I once worked for a local snack food manufacturer. They produced 2 brands, our premium named brand, and a smaller, cheaper brand (actually the name used by a company we had purchased some years earlier). The small corner grocery stores that we dealt with wanted to have at least 2 brands available to their customers, at 2 different prices. But they would prefer to have fewer suppliers to deal with. By selling the second brand, our sales drivers could provide them with what they wanted for their customers. So in many of these stores, we got 100% of their business, under the 2 different brand names.

P.S. To anticipate another question, was there any difference in the quality of the two brands? Well, maybe. They both came off the same production line, but when the raw materials were of poorer quality, we generally packaged the product under the cheaper brand name. And usually the machines toward the end of the line (which get more of the broken & crumbled product) were packaging the cheap brand. But often, the same product was going into packages of both our premium and our cheap brand name. So the answer is that you might get the same quality from either brand, but you do have a somewhat higher chance of getting a lesser product from the cheap brand.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-02-2004, 04:45 PM
Rex Fenestrarum Rex Fenestrarum is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Foxbase Alpha
Posts: 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellner
- Conglomerates can flesh out the product palette of their subsidiaries so that they appear to cover a much broader range of products than they really do. This way they can take advantage of any preference that might exist for their established brands in some market segment.
Another way of saying this is that it's a cheap way for a company to get into a certain business. If you own a camera company, you probably have an infrastructure in place to.. make cameras.

If your marketing wonks decided to start selling scanners under your brand name, you are faced with two options: 1) building your own factory at a huge expense and high risk; or 2) having Mustek or Canon or someone else "re-badge" their scanners. This helps their volume and gets you into the scanner business with minimal investment.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-02-2004, 04:59 PM
critter42 critter42 is offline
He who fixes things
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Mr. Fixit's House
Posts: 900
When I was selling electronics in the 80's, I learned that Matsushita (at the time Panasonic's parent company; don't know if it still is or not) not only made Panasonic and Technics VCRs, but also made VCRs for Quasar, GE, and a couple of other companies I can't think of right now .

In fact, we had in stock at one time one particular model each of the Panasonic and GE that were exactly the same, except for the markings on the faceplate and the brand name silk-screened on the remote. Button layouts, on-screen display, even the remote controls were identical. There was only about a $5 or $10 difference in price between the two (Panasonic was the lower-priced one). However, I can't tell you how many times someone would look at the two (usually we kept similar models/different brands on separate ends of the electronics wall, but in this case, I wanted to see what happened, so I put them both right next to each other on display ), and then go ahead and buy the GE because "it's an American company - I don't want anything made by those job-stealing Japs, I only by American!" {cue "Look for the Union Label" }.

In this particular instance, there was no discernible difference in quality between the two in construction, picture quality, accuracy, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-03-2004, 07:54 AM
GWVet GWVet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Thanks for the replies. Basically confirms my suspicions - corporate subterfuge. What I find telling is that nowhere on Eiki, Proxima, InFocus, Canon or Boxlight's web pages can you find any information that lets you know that they are affiliated with Sanyo. They make no secret that Proxima and InFocus are the same company, but nothing further. Eiki's web site has the history of how they innovated the 16mm projector industry and later acquired the Amercian company Bell & Howell - nothing about Sanyo though.

It makes sense for a company to acquire its competitors and continue to use their brand in order to preserve market share. But I would think that keeping the products separate would make more sense.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-03-2004, 08:16 AM
NutMagnet NutMagnet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
In an earlier age (Pleistocene, I believe), I had begun a stellar career working on the assembly line in a freezer factory. The main parts of a freezer are: the shell (or box), the motor/compressor, the tubing, the (box) liner, the lid, the lid liner and handle. Everything was exactly the same, except for the lid liner and handle, which designated the "brand", which drove the price.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-03-2004, 08:27 AM
GWVet GWVet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by NutMagnet
which designated the "brand", which drove the price.
That was what confounded me about the projectors - the prices of every single brand that produced the same model (along with unique model numbers) was the same. Maybe if there were a difference it would make sense to me.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-03-2004, 09:24 AM
JerH JerH is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Sometimes there's a distribution issue, particularly when companies merge or buy each other. Suppose JerH Custom Gizmos merges with GWVet Discount Sprockets. The new company (JerVet Consolidated Devices) might have exclusive contracts to sell to certain distributors under the JerH name and other, competiting distributors under the GWVet name. They pretty much have to continue selling under the multiple names or give up the contract. Over time, it ends up that you're selling the same product under multiple brand names because its less trouble than revamping your distribution network.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-03-2004, 10:12 AM
GWVet GWVet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Now that actually makes some sense JerH.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:10 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.