What happened: In an effort to try and explain a recent merger of Contex and VIDAR, the company is stumbling all over itself in its explanations. The important facts to know are Contex and VIDAR are both well known brands and Contex is the dominant brand. This posed a strategic problem for Contex because customers kept asking what were the main differences between the two products. Since both brands are well known and respected it wasn’t possible to eliminate or downplay either of them. So the company decided to call them both Contex and cross their fingers that the questions would go away. Ultimately, that will probably work but not before Contex has further confused an already confused market.

Listen to this corporate speak and decide for yourself how much sense it makes.   

    “Though very successful, two separate brands of wide format scanners from the same manufacturer can create confusion. So, to make our brand even stronger, we have decided to differentiate our wide format scanner brand and VIDAR System Corporation’s successful brand of medical film digitizer products. Beginning in 2010, all VIDAR wide format scanners will be branded with the Contex name.” 

Why it matters: When an organization says it wants to differentiate its brands and then takes an action that neutralizes its brands that is not smart marketing. Obviously the brands held value or the company would not have been asked what the difference between them was. Of course, brands are sometimes renamed but in order for the new name to make sense a logical reason needs to be offered to explain the change. In Contex’s case they say they have decided to keep them differentiated, however, they have taken the action to make them the same. And frankly, that isn’t logical or smart branding because all they are going to accomplish is raise more questions than answers. And that’s never a good thing.