Can a holding company have a brand strategy? I come from the ad agency world where holding companies such as IPG and Omnicom don’t really stand for anything specific. P&G is another large parent or holding company that has little brand meaning other than the physical nature of its size and scope. GE is a holding company, but also a manufacturer of branded products.
The answer to the questions about holding or parent companies and brand strategies is yes. They can and should have brand strategies. That doesn’t mean they have to advertise it, they just have to live it. Hain Celestial Group is holding company brand with consumer brands like Celestial Seasonings, Earth’s Best and BluePrint cold pressed juices, among others. All reside in the healthier-for-you category. I don’t quite know what the Hain Celestial brand strategy or organizing principle is but I can assure you the CEO does and he uses it to in decision-making, purchases and portfolio maneuvers.
The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is another parent brand that has benefited from a brand strategy, though it started out as a loose federation of hospitals. The whole, over time, with smart guidance, has become more powerful than the parts.
But the world’s most powerful packaged goods company, Proctor and Gamble, seems to break the mold. For the life of me I can’t figure out its brand strategy. Its objective was to own the number 1 or 2 grossing brand in its categories, but that’s not a strategy. Everybody has heard of P&G, yet no one can buy a P&G branded product. I’m befuddled, yet intrigued. I need to do more learning. Anyone have some ideas?