What are the pros and cons of the following strategies:
- highly centralized: one web site, one name, one brand
- decentralized: multiple names and brands
I'm trying to compare 3 branding strategies used by 3 analytic networks:
- Analyticbridge: decentralized, multiple brands and networks (e.g. analyticbridge, datashaping, etc.), internally funded but funding is limited (< $200K), leverages word of mouth
- KDnuggets: highly centralized, little funding, leverages word of mouth, has been in business for 10+ years, facing tough competition
- Smart Data Collective: centralized but part of a larger, more generic network, probably good funding via sponsorship (Teradata)
Having limited funding means that you compete aggressively using other unfair competitive advantages (or otherwise you would soon die). Being decentralized means that it is more difficult to get the thrust you need to really take off, but the day you consolidate all your properties, you then gain a significant advantage over competition (for instance, AnalyticBridge's newsletter now reaches an audience 2x larger than KDnugget's newsletter, and several times larger than Smart Data Collective). A decentralized approach allows you to discreetly grow in multiple directions without being noticed by your competition, until it is too late for them to catch up.
When funding is coming from just one source (e.g. AnalyticBridge, internal funding + reinvesting profits in the company), you have more control, and less issues if you want to sell. If funding is coming from multiple sources, your investors can help you grow your business (an advantage over self-funding), but conflicts can result. Success or death should arrive faster.
My question: is there any analytical studies supporting the fact that a decentralized branding strategy is viable in the long-term, and can result in exponential growth?