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Brand architecture – one name or several?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

You may be sitting at the airport drinking a Kingfisher beer while you are waiting for your Kingfisher flight. Maybe in a year or two you will be able to stay at a Kingfisher resort and talk to your friends on a Kingfisher mobile network.

The Kingfisher brand is growing. Vijay Mallya obviously loves it. Where else is he going to take Kingfisher and how far can he stretch it? Probably, if he can manage it, quite a long way. But he has to be careful how he uses it. He has a few other businesses which aren’t called Kingfisher, both in India and globally.   Mr. Mallya owns Whyte & Mackay, a venerable Scotch whisky company.   Whyte & Mackay has several brands, single malts like Dalmore, Isle of Jura and Fettercairn, as well as Glayva liqueur and Vladivar vodka, and none of them are called Kingfisher.

Why? Because when he bought Whyte & Mackay, he bought some very valuable brand names and if he chucked these out and called everything Kingfisher, he wouldn’t be in the Scotch whisky business very long.

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