Sunday, August 24, 2008

Smokin' Joe's Might Smoke It All!

Smokin Joe's is India's homegrown Pizza brand. And seems to be doing well. Says 'Fresh Pizzas'. Seemingly a me-too brand (following in the footsteps of Dominos), it differentiates because it offers good pizzas but at a lower price than the brand it's following.

Having tasted success, this Joe seems to have grand plans. Like? Smokin Lees! What? Yes, a brand positioned to offer Home-delivered Chinese food. There are quite a few question marks here.
  1. Has Smokin' Joe's exhausted all the possibilities of growing the Pizza brand? I don't think so. So if growth opportunities exist, why shift focus from a growing the brand to launching another brand?
  2. Has Smokin' Joe's studied the Pizza brands worldwide, especially the biggies like Pizza Hut and Dominos? Why didn't these two brands extend themselves into any other food category? Don't they have more understanding and wherewithal to undertake an initiative like that?
  3. What does Smokin' Joe's stand for? How does Smokin' Lee's does justice the established brand? When the brands are meant for two different categories of food (and also, when the promises 'seem' different), why is there such a similarity in names?
Smokin' Joe's might end up undo a lot of good work that's gone behind the first brand. Firstly, it shouldn't have taken a chance to shift its focus from the Pizza category. Secondly, even it were to expand in other territories like Chinese Food, the name and the positioning deserved more thought.

Look at the name Smokin' Joe's and the way it is rendered as part of the logo. It reminds you of the wild wild west where the cowboys come from. The word 'smokin' makes you envision the gun-totting cowboys. Now considering this, how does it compare with Smokin' Lee's? What's Lee gotta do with 'smokin'? 'Lee' sure does remind you of China but definitely not the cowboys. The brand manager at Smokin' Joe's must have thought that the common element 'Smokin' might help the new brand establish itself easily. I am not sure of that, but definitely if brand-naming follows any logic (even if not pure logic but perception-driven logic), then this is a clear case of 'anti-logic'. Even if brand-naming isn't about logic, it definitely must not be so obviously 'anti-logical'.

Smokin' Joe's is Fresh Pizzas. Smokin' Lee's is Home Delivered Chinese Food. Do the two sound/mean similar things. May be. May be not. Yes there could be an overlap but the two do seem different things. Then why use 'Smokin' as a common word (or theme). My word, the two brands should've been entirely different with different promises. A brand focussing entirely on Home Delivered Chinese Food is a new happening in the market but Smokin' Lee's might not help to exploit the potential.

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