Innovation and enterprise blog

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12 September 2019

Follow JRPass' Director through the Innovating for Growth programme: Branding

Each quarter, we pick 18 high-growth businesses to take part in our Innovating for Growth: Scale-ups programme, where businesses receive £10,000 worth of tailored and bespoke business support and advice. Not only do businesses gain three months of guidance, they also receive automatic membership to our Growth Club and their own Relationship Manager.

This quarter, we’re following Haroun, Director of JRPass, a train travel company for those exploring Japan by rail. Haroun will talk us through each session as he progresses through the programme to get the successes and challenges of what it’s like to run a growing businesses. You can see Haroun's previous posts about intellectual property, financial management, product innovationmarketing strategybranding and research and developing a growth strategy on our blog. In his latest diary entry, we join Haroun on his branding one-to-one...

Branding hasn’t previously been a large concern for us. We are named in relation to our main product, however we now have projects at JRPass that may lead us to launch new websites. We have been struggling with questions of whether to promote them as distinct entities in their own right or to leverage our base at and cross-promote. If we choose the latter then how do we present a group of offerings with a distinct overlying ethos and value set. This one-to-one came at the right time as what we are in essence talking about here is brand architecture.


With Alistair from ABA agency we discussed the various brand models. These include a distinct house of individual brands, a monolithic strategy (e.g. IBM, IBM Watson, IBM xxx) or an endorsed model. For us it was agreed that the endorsed model is best and we need an identity all the websites can sit comfortably under e.g. JRPass by New Brand Name,  xxx by New Brand Name. There’s a a lot of further work to do here in terms of naming strategy that we did not have time to get into, but the overall parent identity needs to be something that reflects the values we carry across each unit i.e. Japan origins, explorer identity. The individual website names also need some effective research and we talked about polling and customer surveys. A lot of further work to do!

Visit our website for more information about the programme and how to apply.