Bridgestone commemorated the 25th anniversary of its acquisition of Firestone by declaring that it will draw up one consistent brand strategy for the entire group. Currently the company deploys multiple brands (Bridgestone, Firestone and Dayton) differently depending on the region. For example, Firestone is a brand for low-priced passenger-car tyres in Japan, but is mostly focused on tyres for farm machinery in North America.
Japanese companies tend to be very hesitant in merging acquired brands into their own, even when the need is the result of a domestic merger. Overseas this seems to be born out of nervousness about messing with something they suspect they don’t really understand – if it works in foreign markets, then just leave it be. However they usually come to regret this and eventually embark on trying for a “one” company brand, by which point positions have become very entrenched, and it becomes even harder to dig brands and their champions out of their home ground.
In domestic mergers the hesitancy is more around respecting the feelings of the employees of the acquired company, and ends up in companies with unwieldy hyphenated names – although there are some exceptions to this, such as Mizuho (the product of the merger of Daiichi Kangyo Bank, Industrial Bank of Japan and Fuji Bank) and Sojitz (the merger of Nissho Iwai and Nichimen)
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