Using one brand for multiple SaaS applications

As we gear up to launch a second product, I started thinking about the best way to organize and promote multiple SaaS applications.

thoughts
25 Jul 2019
Daniel Baylis
Founder

As we gear up to launch a second product and are already prototyping a third, I started thinking about the best way to organize and promote multiple SaaS applications.


In the past, I have approached this by seeking out a domain name and launching a completely new site for each product. With its own theme, logo, and branding, each product effectively appeared to be its own independent business. 


Creating separate brands like this has made sense in the past, but we've typically only been working on one product at a time. As we are preparing to launch multiple SaaS applications, and are planning out all the tasks involved, something started to feel not quite right.


Each site would require its own maintenance and setup. While that is our specialty, it still means time away from developing our applications themselves. Positioning each product as its own business also means maintaining unique inquiry and support email addresses and social media accounts. That means even more time away from the products.


After that setup, you still need to promote the brand, introducing it as an entirely new business each time. There are no existing links to the site, so that would mean creating a new content management strategy, with a unique blog and articles each time. 


And of course, you are starting from reputation zero every time. In our case, we've been running since 2013. We are proud of this and want people to know we are here to stay. However, that message would be less effective when standing up an entirely new business for each product.


I could see we were going to need to do the same thing over, and over again. Losing precious development time and making users wait longer for new features.


Multi-brand vs. multi-product strategy

I started researching to see if there were other companies in similar situations and how they handled it. There was not much content, although I did find others were asking the same question. The answers they were getting were, of course, it depends.


I had a breakthrough on finding this article from The Revery. 


Most importantly, the article frames the question I was asking: Should we go with a multi-brand or multi-product strategy?


A multi-brand strategy would mean setting up entirely new brands for each product, each on new websites with separate social media accounts, content strategies, and advertising campaigns. That's how we have done it in the past.


A multi-product strategy would mean showing each of our applications as a product under a single centralized brand - 4thPortal.


The article sets out simple tests for determining the best strategy. To summarize, they suggest a multi-product strategy makes more sense when:


  • You will target a similar market with each product;
  • Each product fits your brand promise and personality; and
  • Each product does not compete with your other products.


Suddenly it became clear. Because that is us:


  • We build applications to help businesses with performance improvement, typically for large scale teams;
  • We like to keep a similar look and feel across our products, and have them all fit in with our central branding; and
  • We build complementary products that each help with different aspects of a business. There is every chance a customer of one of our applications might also be able to benefit from another.


Conclusion

We are building multiple products that can help businesses with different challenges, yet maintain a central theme of performance improvement and similar branding. So for us, consolidating to a single brand that supports multiple products feels right.


Without multiple sites, social media accounts, and blogs to maintain, we'll have more time to create helpful articles on the 4thPortal blog. And most importantly, we'll have more time to focus on building new applications and features for our users.

4thPortal builds web applications to improve business performance.

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