No categories Brands: I sell everything

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We talked about other times of brand extension, that is, when a brand, manufacturer or distributor of a product/service or of a certain category of products/services, decides to does “trading up or trading down” by putting its own brand and its own style on products/services categories that historically not have ever belonged to it.
Sometimes it happens to come across instead on brands that have no category of product/service specific, are neither producers nor distributors, but only managers of the brand and all the production and distribution or a big part of these are for third parties.
Are brands well known without having any merchandise category of reference, or rather, have a product with which they are parties, but having done immediately many brand extensions and much branding, the public does not know exactly what their first product category.
The public is not being able to categorize the brand from the product point of view, accepts quietly and unconsciously whatever thing the brand marks.
The idea of talking about this thing came to my mind a few days ago when I saw on TV a video of a hip-hop song of the nineties where the protagonist in full-style Miami East Coast travelling on the water with a powerful offshore marked with the inscription Playboy Cigarette.
Cigarettes Playboy … I thought, but how much time has passed! What a incredible years were those!
The 80s and 90s were the promised land of the brand extensions, the economy was racing, everything branded was sold easily and people still believed that something “marked” was better than another for the simple fact that it showed a known logo.
We all remember that it was said: this is branded!
Today, that paradigm has almost reversed. Persons are informed, they check and double check news and reviews before making a purchase, even if the product/service is “branded”.
The paradigm on the brand is not that no longer exists, but it is changed and has reached a wider range.
The brand is no longer distinctive mark of quality, but hallmark of the values he wants to express, among which there may also be the quality, but is no longer the focus of the all brands value.
The difference is that today there may be brands that express how value or among their values, the quality, while in the ’80s and’ 90s the brand as such was a synonym of quality, regardless of the values expressed. This did proliferation the brand extensions, because people believed that if there was the brand, it was something that was worth.
Today there are brands that focus on quality as a value because it is no longer obvious that for a brand the quality it is a bond. These usually treat just one product/service or just a single category. They have logos graphically very simple to emphasize the fact that they think more to the product than to the image. The industry that today counts more of these ones is definitely the food industry, including bars and restaurants.
There are other brands that work very fine remaining totally uninterested about the quality (in terms of branding!). They never talk about it, they talk to the customer showing other types of values and they have a coordinated image usually very strong and recognizable, to leverage values on which they have focused and to differentiate themselves in the market.
In fact, if the quality at level of branding goes almost always hand in hand with the simplicity of the message and of the graphics, making therefore these brands very simple to understand, at the same time makes them often similar to each other; the brands which pointing instead on other values do not convey almost never only one, otherwise to the quality they add others, which creates a brand identities more complex and therefore a bit ‘most difficult to understand and convey, yet easier to distinguish.
Returning to the brand extensions, the former are more related to the product group, declaring themselves somewhat like proponents of the quality of the product/service, the latter instead have more possibilities to range over, moving among different market sectors.
Among the latter, some have reached the culmination of merchandise diversity, proving to be almost exclusively a brand identity, without definition of belonging to a market sector or category of product/service.
We take as an example the brand from which it all started: Playboy. This is a brand that everyone knows to be a soft-erotic magazine, but in reality who would say that they are part of the publishing market?
Its competitors are the other magazines? His real market are the newsstands?
For us, Playboy is not a publishing brand, is a no-categories brand, for two reasons: first because it is too large the fleet of products on which is printed the brand for which they can not bind either to a specific category of products and not even a specific commodity.
Indeed it is a brand of t-shirts, vests, dresses, glasses, sweaters and … I did not believe it myself, skateboards, skateboard wheels, even (for the series the wolf loses his hair but not the vice) electronic cigarettes.
Second reason is to have made of its own brand identity, a world.
Lacing up at the ideology of the American Playboy (totally different from the Latin lover) and at the hyper-consumerist culture, also of the bodies, which began in the 80s, has created a world and within a world, there are many objects.
In fact, although it behaves as a subject of publishing, publishing many interesting articles of lifestyle which not concern the soft-core, it is a brand that has transcended both the goods (the magazine) as the market sector (publishing ), backed by a powerful brand identity, able to attract customers on anything it puts their own brand.
How did they do?
They did branding. The parties, the Mansion, Mr. Hugh Hefner, the Playmates (who have their own website apart from), the gossip, participation in music videos, movies and all it could convey the values of Playboy, have meant that the brand ascended to the Olympus of the brands that are just brand identities, transcending and living without the hassle of being relegated to a only one material form.

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