Take Bimbo Bakeries, a fine purveyor of bread from Mexico. Successful in all measures of the word, they continue to hold on to a brand name which, in the American market, leads to bad puns at best and sexual innuendos at worst.
To address this brand issue, they added the phrase pictured above to all product packaging (as well as billboards which is where I saw this my first time). They even trademarked the phrase, “Say ‘Beembo'” to assure that they are the only company in America actively asserting that “Bimbo” is pronounced, “Beembo” (I’m pretty sure they didn’t have to worry).
The brand management strategy question here is: “To what degree should they be pushing their brand in a market where it is more hindrance than help?” Granted, they are getting great press about this issue, but the publicity actually makes them come off looking more clumsy than clever.
Bimbo’s roots go back many decades and they are rightfully proud of the company name. But perhaps in this case, it would have been better to not launch in a market with a brand name that had them starting from behind and defending their decision from the get-go.
Hitting close to home
This issue hits close to home for as I write this post, I am preparing to shoot a brand I have focused on for some time: “Leverage the Web” and move most of my blogging activity over here to “Matt About Business”.
Why am I taking this step? You see, I started Leverage the Web to educate business folks about the great software and tools which could be found online and used for a much lower cost of ownership than traditional business solutions.
However, similar to Bimbo, I found myself starting from behind when I had to explain again and again what Leverage the Web was all about. I was trying to reach business people but I was not doing this with my brand because:
- The word business was not mentioned;
- I used the word “Web” which probably scared off 2/3 of the people I was hoping to reach;
- The word, “Leverage” is typically used in complex financial transactions which probably scared off the remaining 1/3 of the people I was trying to reach; and
- The whole branding phrase taken together sort of demanded that my target market already had the mindset I was hoping to engender and, if they did not, it did not seem to “talk” to them.
So, I’m re-branding. It is painful. I do have a lot of pride around what I’ve done with Leverage the Web and it is difficult to watch it slip into the background rather than hold center stage.
However, I believe I can accomplish my goals and achieve success better with a new approach. Like the boy who shot his dog in ‘Old Yeller’, I feel better as I see the child, Matt About Business, getting up on its feet and growing.
Perhaps Bimbo would like to borrow my shotgun.