January 10th, 2018
Carte Blanche Ltd – Strengths and Weaknesses that affect CBG Branding Strategy
CBG has grown from a small entity whose portfolio was 12 cards in 1987 to a major competitor in the greeting cards and gifting industry (CBG 2011a). Mainly, the growth is a result of the strengths that the company has experienced in its brands that culminated into its Me to You brand winning the Henries award for the Henry cole classic award category (CBG 2009). The award is given to those cards whose brand has demonstrated a consistent performance over a number of years; its award guaranteeing the brand the hall of fame feat in the Henry Cole classic recognition (Max Publishing 2010a). Currently, CBG main brands are Me to You, Violent Veg, Whispering tree, Blue nose, and vivacious veg (CBG 2011b). Other brands of the entity include bubble, pogo bear, Sew Good and Tinkers (CBG 2010b). Such strength of CBG’s brands is an outcome of various branding activities the entity engages in.
The strength of the CBG’s brands is firstly recognized via their extensive communication to create a favourable brand image to its customers. The dynamic illustrations of its most popular brand – tatty teddy – have continued to endear the Me to You brand to both young and elderly customers (CBG 2011b). Despite the dynamic illustrations, the message the brand has portrayed to its customers has been consistent over time; every illustration bearing a portrayal of warmth and happiness imbued with a touch of kindness as demonstrated in the me to you website (CBG 2011d). Such a consistent and compelling message brought by the CBG brands and reinforced, especially, by the tatty teddy images revealing the expression of warm happy feelings helps create a brand personality with which the customers can identify (Point of Vision 2006). Apart from the website-based communications, CBG brand’s strength arises from its intensive advertising activities on other mass media channels. This is for instance evidenced by the recent launch of Me to You CD that strengthens the entity’s emotional attachment to its customer baser (CBG 2011c). By featuring great arts from musicians in the years gone by, the CD has helped rebrand the Me to You brand as a way to express love, thus helped the brand create an emotional attachment with its consumers (Aaker 1994). (CBG 2011b)
A different strength that CBG drives from its branding strategy is the use of multiple brands. The entities brands such as Me to You, Violent Veg, and Blue nose, could be a source for customer evaluation of its little known brands such as Sew Good and Tinkers. The entity can thus use the brand loyalty generated by its famous brands to inspire customers to evaluate any new brands that it intends to introduce to the market (Voss & Gammoh 2004). For this method to be effective, CBG, however, should adequately differentiate its brands to offer customers different qualities that meet the needs of the brand’s respective target market.
Thirdly, CBG strength lies in the existence of a team that is engaged in a continuous brand development exercise. Such is for instance evident with the history that has involved the transformation from ‘miranda’ plush and gifts in 1993, through Me to You card range in 1995 and Me to You gift range in 1997, to the Me to You CD produced in 2011 (CBG 2011f). Additionally, the partnership with AT New Media, provides a strength that the entity can use to shape online communications about its brands in the social media (AT New Media n.d.).
With respect to weaknesses, a core weakness of the entity is its private entity status. With expansion to new frontiers being a necessity, the private nature of the entity is disadvantageous in a number of ways. Firstly, financing its expansion activities would require the entity to either use private financing or debt that may be costly than equity financing offered where the entity’s stocks are available to the public. The private nature of the entity could also limit its expansion to foreign markets where government policies demand a proportion to be owned by domestic investors. In this respect, success of the entity’s brand in such markets could be affected by its perception as a foreign entity. Such could necessitate alliances with domestic players who in turn may dilute the brand attributes.
A second CBG brand weaknesses also arises with its whole focus towards “happy” seasons. Such means that the entity’s brand performance is determined by the peak seasons such as Christmas holidays and valentine day. In cases where the sales for such periods are limited, the entity’s performance may be highly affected. Other markets that CBG could extend its brand to include cards to send to console people who are bereaved, wish success to candidates undertaking various feats in their life, and congratulatory messages on an individual’s achievements. Go to part 4 here.