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Daikin goes beyond usual

Expanding the brand mission: a sub-brand vs corporate brand dilemma
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When you feel a cool breeze indoors on a hot day, the chances are high that it is thanks to Daikin. This legendary brand pioneered air conditioning solutions globally. No wonder that with such a legacy, the brand has become the reference for cooling devices. As their activities kept developing, Daikin group faced a strategic dilemma: should new, innovative products get included in the Daikin label or should it remain exclusive for air conditioning? We helped them crack this nut.

We conducted a large brand strategy audit to assess future scenarios for Daikin. As a result, we introduced a new strategic angle that expanded Daikin’s mission from the narrow focus on ‘air conditioning’ to the much broader ‘climate management’ focus, which significantly influenced their growth path.

Continue reading to discover the process behind this case.

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Approach and methodology

Daikin group operates internationally, marrying two business cultures on a corporate level, as their HQs are located in Japan and Belgium. This cross-cultural nature of the brand directly influences the strategic approach. The Japanese model tends to protect and prioritise the brand’s unity and hierarchy that stems from historical heritage, while the European approach is often more strategy- and development-driven.

The company decided it was high time for a strategic solution when their sub-brand / concept brand Altherma (specialised in heating devices) grew to become almost another corporate brand in Europe. Such an evolution brought Altherma to the same level as its mother brand, Daikin. At this point, we joined to help them answer the following question: should Daikin include heating and other innovative air-managing solutions under the label that is historically associated with air-conditioning? Or should they find a different way of bringing them to the market? Until now, all brands that belonged to Daikin were highly endorsed and preceded by Daikin as the ultimate commercial brand.

Daikin was one of the cases where a step back was needed to enable a step forward. We zoomed out to see the big picture and conducted a strategic audit, analysing internal documents, the brand’s growth path, and its international presence over the years. We gathered all key stakeholders around one table and facilitated brainstorms and negotiations.

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Daikin’s new mission expanded from air-conditioning solutions to what we called ‘climate management’

From air-conditioning to climate management

All things considered, our advice was clear: Daikin stands strong as a brand, and the momentum was perfect for broadening the category as a group. We made this happen by adjusting the group’s mission to more all-embracing air management solutions with clear brand architecture.

Consequently, Daikin’s new mission expanded from air-conditioning solutions to what we called ‘climate management’. At the same time, this notion perfectly encapsulated a new quest, enforced by the (market) environment: managing the more and more unpredictable climate that influences the indoor air quality.

This way, Daikin can start welcoming more sub-brands like Altherma under a joint mission and vision that embraces all air-related innovation.

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