Unlike a product/service positioning, an umbrella positioning unites a collection of brands, products or services within a single message. Think of it as the “high altitude” approach to articulate differences and benefits across a series of sub-brands with one voice. Each sub-brand under the umbrella can engage its targeted market with a specific, relevant sub-conversation, which ladders back up to the more general umbrella idea.
You’re familiar with many companies that choose to have an umbrella positioning: Quaker Oats focuses on the wholesome goodness of its products made with whole-grain oats, Dove has leverages self-esteem and inner beauty across all its line, and American Express commits itself to being the world’s best service company for travel and finances – and provides advantages to its affiliation with its customers.
There are several advantages to utilizing an umbrella positioning, so it may be something you want to pursue.
- 1. Make better business decisions – An umbrella positioning provides the essential framework for business choices. It serves as a “north star” upon which all efforts in the organization should focus to attain its vision. Keeping this focus prevent a company from adding new offerings or making acquisitions that don’t fit within these guideposts.
- 2. Be more efficient and effective – Having a clearly defined positioning helps you to focus your limited resources in the appropriate place and a defined goal. Think of it like a rowboat – everyone is pulling the oars together and moving the business into the same direction instead of having money spent in a directionless fashion. All investments are driving the business to the same place.
- 3. Gives you control over you business – And finally, there’s the old adage – if you don’t position yourself, others will. Your consumer and even other competitors will be happy to position you in the way they see most appropriate. When you have control over your own brand, it defines the space that you’ll own, rather than the converse.
So do you need an umbrella concept? Step out in the rain and find out.