Disclaimer: This question is not about how to get famous and not about how to be a well-known entrepreneur. It's only about making money.
It is common knowledge that a company should have a brand: to get more customers, to keep them loyal, etc.
Branding implies consistent marketing and advertising activities among others.
But recently I had an idea:
What if the value of branding is overrated? What if some companies do not need any branding at all?
Take for example McDonalds:
- a. If they were not expanding through franchises, i.e. doing the expansion with their own resources and without any partners...
- b. If they were not targeting mobile people, travellers ("I'm sure that I will get exactly the same BigMac both in New York and in Paris")...
- c. Finally, if they were just a big fast-food chain with small local restaurants targeting local neighborhoods only...
...would they actually need any brand?
Maybe they could just name each restaurant with its own name? (keeping their cooking and business rules system, of course)
I tend to think that there could be some benefits of this 'unbranding' approach:
- no need to build reputation, no fear to loose it;
- a company can stay 'under the radar' even it is highly successful: it's much harder for incumbents to mentally unite all that small local companies with different names into one business entity and conclude that it is highly successful.
So, here is the refined question:
Do you think it is possible to build a big successful company (consisting of local branches) without building a brand?
P.S. I have a friend of mine who has a highly profitable chain of hardware stores in about 10 small towns. Each store has its own name and does not relate in any way to its 'head' organization. This business is situated in a developing country.