New Brand or Old Brand? Meredith's Decision (Part 9)

Posted by Chris Kieff on January 6th, 2009

Enterprise Social Media Lessons Learned

Meredith Interactive had a decision to make. They had just begun to create a new social networking site based upon Ripple6 technology, and they needed to decide if they were going to build upon an existing brand or create a new brand.  After all, Meredith owns Better Homes & Gardens, one of the best known and most trusted brands in America.   Why would a marketer decide to ignore that and instead create a new name and then need to build it from scratch?  Watch the video and see Dan tell you why Meredith decided to take the path they did… then you can discuss the decision they made below:

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Do you think Meredith made the right decision in creating a new brand to launch their new site, or should they have used an existing brand like “Better Homes & Gardens”?  Join the discussion in the comments below:

Next: Gannett’s Approach to Social Media (Part 10)


1. Enterprise Social Media Lessons Learned (Part 1)
2. Determining What Users Want (Part 2)
3. Advice for Publishers Starting In Social Media (Part 3)
4. New Revenue Models for Social Media (Part 4)
5. Generating Engagement with the Audience (Part 5)
6. Implementing Social Media in the Enterprise (Part 6)
7. Creating Value for Publishers (Part 7)
8. What is Mom’s Like Me (Part 8 )

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  • Lewis Green

    Dan’s reasoning can’t be faulted and it appears there was lots of internal discussion. However, it also seems that Meredith gave lip service to consumers but didn’t ask them what they thought. I seldom if ever recommend that a brand such as Better Homes & Gardens get away from its core branding message. And it is hard for me to believe that Mixing Bowl will ever attain the cache that BH&G has. Being new and fresh should not be the driving force behind creating a new brand; consumer wants and needs based on their voices being heard should be the primary reason for creating a new brand.

  • Marc Meyer

    To me, you could spend years upon years branding “mixing bowl” and it still would never reach the brand awareness stature of BH&G. Takes Big brass ones to suggest it and even bigger ones to sign off on the decision.

  • chris

    Lewis and Marc,

    Thank you for your comments. I would like to point out that Meredith has 13 magazines covering a broad range of topics; BH&G, More, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, Fitness, Parents, Heart Healthy Living, etc. One big advantage of Mixing Bowl’s lack of affiliation with BH&G is that it can also easily gather audience from these other properties as well without confusion in the consumer’s mind.

    A new brand also has the advantage of being able to be killed off in the event of a failure, which wouldn’t damage the well established brand’s reputation. This is a type of contingency planning the marketer should consider. However, that of course won’t happen in this case because MixingBowl are doing it right with Ripple6 technology to back them up!


  • Marc

    Hey Chris, you asked…But from an SEO standpoint creating mixing bowl makes perfect sense.

  • Shannon Whitley

    Social sites are struggling with the issue of trust. Not only are consumers worried about trusting their data with new sites, but they wonder whether to invest time in a site that may not exist in a few months. BH&G brand affiliation would certainly help bolster consumer trust in a new site. While I understand the desire to create something new, for me, the strength of the existing brand would outweigh the other arguments.

  • Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

    Chris, thanks for sharing this with me on twitter. After watching the video and really listening to the explanations given, I really think that the decision to create a new brand makes a lot of business sense. I, fyi, am a *huge* BHG fan. Huge. When I think of BHG, I think of flowers, gardens, home decor and recipes. So, as shared in the vid, if the intent is to create an environment that can house multiple brands or publications, then the “mixing bowl” concept should work perfectly. As stated, BHG is just one of many mags/brands to be housed and/or included in the “mixing bowl.” And I think that the “mixing bowl” concept is very appropriate if the brands/mags/pubs are all different rather than similar. The strength of the existing brand can be leveraged and highlighted from within the “mixing bowl.” I totally get what folks are saying about not messing with the BHG brand and/or using the BHG brand over the “mixing bowl” but given the goals as outlined in the video, I am a firm believer that the team made the decision very, very carefully and did their best to move forward in a way where the BHG brand would still get its due props but not hog all the spotlight from other mags/pubs.

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