Hey, marketing geeks! Double branding sucks.

February 14, 2010

Linksys by Cisco. Pelco by Schneider Electric. Even APC by Schneider Electric. And now as I look at a bottle of water, I see “Crystal Geyser by CG Roxane”. This all friggin’ sucks, and you marketing geeks probably want to know how it’s impacting your brand image.

Badly. When I see “by” in the name, I don’t think “ouh, so these guys made it”. I think “Oh, so their parent company didn’t think they were getting enough attention, so they slapped their name on it”. That, in turn, means that the brand itself isn’t important, just the mega-corporation after the “by”. Probably also the same reason HD-DVD failed – take an existing, recognizable logo, and tack something onto it (“HD” with a few “waves”). In this case, take an existing brand, and tack another name onto it. Cisco did it first with that “Linksys by Cisco” crap, but they took it WAY too far, even to the point of changing the linksys.com domain into a redirect to linksysbycisco.com – blatantly trying to shove that into peoples’ minds. Here’s a hint, NOBODY is ever going to tell someone to go buy a “Linksys by Cisco” router. Doing that just dilutes the brand name image and next thing you know, people will end up buying a Netgear instead of a Linksys by Cisco.

Schneider Electric? Talk about a fucking mess. Okay, so Pelco, possibly the most recognized name in video surveillance systems. APC, the most recognized name in power management systems. They get bought by some no-name company whose name doesn’t even reflect technology. Schneider Electric. And they know their name sucks. So what do they do? They want to attach their name to each of them, then slap the modified logo on EVERYTHING involving the two companies. Pelco by Schneider Electric, APC by Schneider Electric. What’s this tell me? It only serves to tell me that Schneider Electric has serious self-confidence issues… and perhaps that their shareholders need a little extra ego-stroking. It’s pure bullshit, and yes… I see all these things when I see the word “by” in a company name.

Now, it’s acceptable to put a company name in a product name. I see no problem with that. Microsoft Office, for example, works just fine. But you rarely see the word “by” in these names, probably because “by” implies that massive douchebaggery is afoot in the boardroom. But for god’s sake, it must take an ego the size of Texas to slap this kind of double-branding shit on a company’s name. What the hell.

Needless to say, I avoid these brands solely due to their name, due to the fact that I want to avoid supporting such douche boardroom decisions. Perhaps with enough people avoiding these brands, they’ll see that their brand is failing, and some marketing nut will suggest that they change their brand again – back to what it was. And maybe, by some act of God, that suggestion will be implemented, and we’ll once again see Linksys, Pelco, or APC standing on their own as respectable companies.

edit: And it seems I’m not the only one.



  1. APC is a very small company compared to Schneider and with far far less history…

    APC is a niche player whereas Schneider has a huge range of power and energy management solutions and products.

    In Europe and other parts of the world Schneider’s a big brand

    • Maybe… I can’t claim to be an expert in the area myself. But I do know who APC is, as the de-facto standard in battery backup systems and other power products… and Pelco, the “big boys” that do surveillance systems and video monitoring. They’re just practically “household” names from what I’ve seen. Schneider Electric? I’d never even heard of ’em before they slapped their name onto APC and Pelco.

      Perhaps Schneider is a bigger company in other markets. But that’s just like “Linksys by Cisco”. IT geeks know that Cisco is the “big boss” for heavy-lifting network gear. Maybe industrial electrical geeks know Schneider for electrical and power stuff. The problem arises when they try to attach their brand to other markets where their existing name already has plenty of name recognition… it would be a lot more sensible to me if they were to keep the name but use their brand to promote the APC or Pelco names, instead of directly attaching it. Or just leaving it alone. Hell, if Schneider doesn’t directly manufacture the same things APC does, what harm is there? People needing those products will buy APC already if they have loyalty to Schneider. As it is to me, it just looks like a no-name desperate company looking to get some attention. Because no matter how big they might *actually* be, if their huge size is hidden behind a shroud of non-consumer products, it just looks like they don’t exist at all…

  2. Schneider is a huge company, and as purchasers they get huge benefits in selling their other products into the APC IT segment, or Pelco security segment and they get immediate credibility by slapping the “by” logo under market leaders as APC & Pelco – it might not look attractive, but it works well for both.. Schneider acquisitions were success stories and what matters at the end of the day is the customer being happy.. and Schneider does it well. and the case is different when you are selling to consumers versus companies who usually do more research than just buy based on name recognition and it could be a phasing or transitioning a brand.. so I think there is not one generic rule or a measuring stick for all brands/double branding.

  3. Schneider Electric is huge and sooner rather than later you’re going to see just Schneider Electric stamped on those products. The by line is simply a way of bracing the public for change. I thought that was a bit obvious. By the way, Schneider is buying up companies all over the electric arena including APC, TAC, Pelco, Clipsal, Berger Lahr, Merlin Gerin and their first and most substantial US purchase, Square D.

  4. APC has been ruined by =$= lectric

  5. Yea their stock is really taking off!

  6. Schneider Electric makes nothing but junk. Cheap shit that takes a rocket scientist to figure out how to use it.

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