Why Departmental Branding within Your Brand is Helpful to Customers



Have you ever thought about all of the elements that make up a brand? A brand is a name, a symbol, a term or any other feature that identifies what a business provides. A brand represents a promise, an expectation, a perception, a personality and so much more. A company as a whole possesses a brand, however, there are also many pieces to a company. This is where departmental branding can come into play.



A great example of departmental branding is JCPenney’s Flagged system. JCPenney wanted a way to make it easier for their customers to find USA Made products. What better way to identify USA Made items then with a flag; a USA flag. You may be thinking that it doesn’t look exactly like the American flag but it’s shape and colors suggest the American Flag making it identifiable. However, this is not just a cool looking rendition of the American Flag it’s a JCPenney American flag. What I mean by that is that the symbol they created for their Flagged system is a combination of the USA flag and the JCPenney logo. They successfully married the two symbols together to make their own new identity.

This example of departmental branding makes it easier for customers to identify and find USA products. It also gives them the opportunity to wrap a brand around other brands within that category. Meaning the products in this category are manufactured by many different companies, however, the Flagged system creates a common connection between them all. Not only that, the Flagged products themselves maybe in many different departments and the flag makes it easier to identify them within those departments.

This form of branding also shows expression. JCPenney is building pride around American made products through it’s Flagged branding campaign. The Flagged labels read “When something is Flagged you know it was made here. Americans designed it, built it, shipped it and are now selling it to you. Each of those steps created American jobs. Thats what it means when a product is Flagged.”



This kind of system is different than having isles and departments inside a store or categories on your e-commerce website because it is given a brand identity. On the Garrett Specialties website we have a similar system which we have had in place for a very long time. We have created several flags to help our customers find specific products. Our flagged departments include new items, top selling promotional products, USA made promos, 4-color process gifts and eco-friendly items each of which has many different product categories. This gives our customers more ways to shop and helps them find specific items within each category.

What do you think of this type of departmental branding strategy? Are their parts of your business that you can flag? How can you make it easier for your customers to identify certain qualities of your brand?

46 thoughts on “Why Departmental Branding within Your Brand is Helpful to Customers

  1. That is brilliant Arleen. Both the JC PenneyAND Garrett Specialties. They are both different systems to a kind of departmental branding that you talk about. What I’m wondering is, would be be for someone like me, to consider branding – author, business coach and speaker? There would be a commonality, but it would be different. Do I have it right?
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Get Rid of 5 Monsters NowMy Profile

  2. Departmental branding is definitely a good idea. J.C. Penney also managed to make the American flag look like a heart which will subconsciously make customers even more keen on buying a product branded with it.

    Am actually encouraging Swedish companies to use the Swedish flag on their products and websites for the simple reason that Sweden as a country is hugely popular on a global scale. Customers world wide much prefer to buy something that’s made in Sweden than something made in China. Swedish products made in China sometimes has a problem because their manufacturing is not in Sweden. Sometimes customers on the other side of the world even decline to buy when they find out that a Swedish product is made in China.
    Catarina recently posted…Covert branding works against youMy Profile

  3. JCP has always been brilliant in the branding department, although they lost their footing several years ago for a brief time. I use my logo on most of my pics I post and I consistently use my name because people usually search for me, rather than my company. I just added a new dimension to my business, video marketing services, and I am wrestling with that right now. Want to relate it to me, but it’s a whole different ballgame.
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…Death By FacebookMy Profile

  4. I suppose any symbol that brands or identifies what your business offers, is a positive thing. Since we live in a highly visual world where our attention is always diverted from one thing to the next, branding and using a logo, helps keep what you offer in the minds of consumers, and sets you apart from other companies.

  5. I never heard about departmental branding before but this truly is great idea by JCPenney’s Flagged to help customers identify their products (USA made) all over the world. This can help valued customers to save time.
    This can be a great idea for many other who are new in business.

    It is nice that everytime I get to know something new.

    Thank you.
    andleeb recently posted…A Way Out from Helplessness.My Profile

  6. The USA made brand seems like it would be pretty successful. It addresses something that is clearly of interest in the marketplace. You also see a lot of companies doing this with organic or environmentally friendly products. I think the strategy is a good one but only as long as the department brand is meaningful to consumers. If not you are just st diluting your company brand.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…When Big Data Comes Up SmallMy Profile

  7. It has been a very long time since I was in JC Penny’s but from what I understand from the recent resignation of the top “Penny” they could have used a little extra branding to make for some shortfalls. Retail is a tough gig though and anyone who can make it is skating on a thin edge.
    Tim recently posted…The Mogamma OdysseyMy Profile

  8. The departmental branding is an awesome idea. It can showcase a particular style across product lines, category of items or as you note, manufacturing origins. Here in Canada it’s not unusual for a red maple leaf to be used on products that have been manufactured in Canada.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Loathing FearMy Profile

  9. The “buy local” movement is strong here in Canada, and while food products are often identified as such, it doesn’t always extend to other goods. But it should! JC Penney’s move is ingenious – consumers want to contribute to a more local economy, and they’re not only recognizing that, but making it part of their brand. Would love to see more of that!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Subaru WRX rallied like a champMy Profile

  10. Hi Arleen,

    I never shop at JC Penny, but seeing how they are promoting American Products, I’m going to visit them. I’m sick and tired of bringing my magnifying glass with me to find out where things come from, what they are made of, etc.

    This kind of branding just pulled me into that store! Now that is one powerful way of branding.

    I know when I see the big red G it is Garrett Specialties. Your brand speaks for itself. I know if someone is looking for promotional products I give them your link. I can be at a local shop and chatting away with the owner about getting their business online. If they mention a promotional product…I say Garret! Why? Because I know, like and trust you and your business.

    Eventually I do have to come up with some kind of “branding” for my company. It is me inc. and as I grow with it it must be changed down the line. You have my wheels spinning in my head!


    donna merrill recently posted…The Perfect BlendMy Profile

    • Donna- I don’t shop at JC Penny’s but I do like the idea that a company is promoting products made in the USA. There are so many companies out there that have taken the time figure out how to brand their products, why not come with something that works for us using their ideas.
      I really appreciate how much you support me. I thank you for your kindness.
      I think for you not only branding, but it would help to departmentalize your brand so when someone comes to your site, it is easier to figure out what you are all about.
      Arleen recently posted…Why Departmental Branding within Your Brand is Helpful to CustomersMy Profile

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