Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Brand Building behind Food Network

Behind the kitchens at the Food Network, they’ve been cooking up some vey savvy branding – for the Network as as well as for its individual hosts.

Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee are the two biggest brands. The way they are mareketed provides a good branding lesson: you can occupy the same positioning within a niche, yet own a distinctive brand that sets you apart.

Distinct Brands with the Same Positioning:

The positioning these two stars occupy is one of dominance in home-making convenience: swift and easy, calibre meal preparation for busy women (mostly). Yet apiece has been healthy to carve out a separate and distinct brand within that same space.

Taglines that Build Brands:

Rachel Ray’s empire is build on the foundation of her very emphatic tagline – “30 minute meals.” The study states it all. Sandra Lee’s tagline is “semi-homemade meals” – preparing meals with the aid of pre-packaged ingredients.
It is essentially the same positioning, but without the exact time period that Ray uses. The implication is the same: you’ll be healthy to prepare calibre meals at home faster.
While both have been healthy to establish an dominance position within the convenience field, interestingly, their dominance does not come from industry credentials. The sense of dominance they have been healthy to build comes from their one-of-a-kind personalities and presentation, as well as their individual stories.

They learned how to cook on their own, either because they had to (in Lee’s case) or as in Ray’s case, her mom was in the food service business, and an avid cook

Leveraging a Brand Into Multiple Products:

Both have been been healthy to leverage their brands to create and promote multiple products. Some of Lee’s branded products include: Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Desserts, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking II, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling … she even ventures into Rachael Ray’s turf with Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade 20-Minute Meals.
Rachael Ray’s branded product line includes cookbooks, such as 30-Minute Meals, 30-Minute Meals 2, Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals: Cooking ‘Round the Clock,Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals for Kids: Cooking Rocks!, Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes, among others.

And because both of their brands have been established in a highly scalable niche – home convenience, they have been healthy to easily grow their product lines beyond food, into the further reaches of home-making, on TV, in print, etc. (Lee actually started her brand in the home-making field and then went into food).

Finding Different Marketing Angles Within the Same NicheIn their products as well as in their shows, their distinctive personalities, look, and style etc. further differentiates their brands from one another. But the difference is built on a foundation of strong taglines that embody one-of-a-kind marketing angles within the same niche: 30 minute meals vs semi-homemade.
The lesson here is just because someone else might have established an dominance positioning in a niche you want, doesn’t mean you can’t create a different, yet successful brand within the same space.
However attempts to copy or merely imitate a brand within a niche position will not only fail, it will mark you as inauthentic. You need to be healthy to take one-of-a-kind angle so you can carve out your own space within the niche you want.


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