Media fragmentation, communication clutter in the markets, too many brands competing in an increasingly tight space at the top of the consumer pyramid ( leaving the BoP vacant!!), inability of the brands to penetrate the BoP markets….all these are reasons enough for brands to contemplate convergence- it may even be crucial to their survival.
Think of it as “collaboration” between brands, who are able to identify complementary and supplementary values that are logical for them to work together- leading to the brand convergence that we are speaking of.
The dictionary meaning of the word “convergence” varies from “the act of synergistically coming together” to “contraction” to “similarity of form and structure.”
So what are the prime drivers for brands to converge today- according to me they are the following
- Primarily non-competing brands will clamor to get together in today’s tough times. For the competing ones, even though some synergies might be working at the back end, it will take further evolution till they converge in the consumer space unless of course the companies merge or brands are bought over.
- The brands should have a similar Target Audience in order to contemplate convergence. This might be obvious to some, however the similarity should not end at the demographic level but also extend to the psychographics and buying behavior.
- They should have similar brand appeal and perception. Each of brands coming together should only enhance and/or reinforce the basic image of the other one. In a sense they should complement each other in terms of the perception consumers carry about them.
- The converged entity/product has to meet a genuine consumer need. Convergence for the sake of it will not just add no marginal value to the brands but a venture gone wrong can in fact erode brand equity.
- The converged offering needs to have a unique value proposition, different or greater that the individual offerings. In a way the joint offering should be more potent than sum of all individual offerings.
The last point nails it! The essence of a successful collaboration (convergence ) is that the SUM is greater than the individual numbers that each brand brings to the table!!