Why are we splitting the Packt brand?

by Damian Carvill | Apr 2010 | Brand Launch | Enterprise | Open Source

The decision to split Packt into two different brands might not sound the most conventional marketing strategy. However it’s something that we have given a lot of thought to, and is coming at the right time for us as a publisher and for yourselves as readers.

You are probably already aware that our business strategy at Packt is to publish specialist knowledge for IT professionals. Central to Packt from day one has been its business model, which enables us to publish more specialist books than traditional publishers. By printing our books on-demand and selling largely online and direct, we have established a publishing company that can bypass the traditional retail route to market, avoiding the large discounts associated with selling books through bookstores. Essentially, this makes bringing a book to market for niche audiences profitable for authors as well as ourselves, whilst keeping the costs down for customers.

We have spent the last six years publishing over 350 focused and specialised books that have enabled us to establish a brand; building up values and an identity that’s credible for the areas into which we publish. So I’m sure the question on your lips right now is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t split it!’ Well, you’re asking a good question, one that we’ve asked ourselves on more than one occasion, and one that I believe we’ve been able to answer.

I believe that to continue to be credible as a specialist, the readers of our books want to believe that we, as a provider of specialist IT knowledge, really understand them and their tools, techniques, and problems intimately. Wouldn’t you agree that you can’t be a specialist in a lot of areas? Of course you can’t, it’s not believable. As the number and variety of titles that we publish increases, there is a risk that the Packt brand itself will restrict its ability to specialise. It therefore makes sense for us to deliver these specialist areas with focused brands and personnel who are engaged with and working exclusively for the people who read them.

I see Packt as a “Master Brand”, standing for “Specialist IT Knowledge”, and then our sub-brands define the areas in which it specialises. We have decided to start with two main sub-brands:

-       Packt Open Source

-       Packt Enterprise

There will be more on these brands and what they stand for in later blog posts.

The acid test for these sub-brands is whether our customers can readily understand what kind of books will be published into them, so we don’t have to explain.

Looking at the titles we have already, and those we might publish in the future, it’s clear that not every one will fit into either of these two brands; this will be answered in a later post.

Ultimately we have arrived at this decision to ensure that our books remain focussed for you as readers, and I’m sure you’ll agree that venturing down this unconventional and possibly unchartered route makes sense. Feel free to let us know your thoughts on the matter.

This comment was originally by Mark Nichols
This comment was originally posted by Mike Badger on April 13, 2010
James,

Makes sense. Thanks for sharing some details.
This comment was originally by Mark Nichols
This comment was originally posted by James Lumsden on April 13, 2010
Hi Mike,
I am James Lumsden, the Enterprise Publisher at Packt. Let me try to answer your question.
Where we have a technology (such as Zenoss Enterprise) which is clearly based upon an Open Source project, and which is synonymous with that project – the books we develop will go into the Open Source brand.
Of course, there may be occasions where more of a judgement call is required (and we certainly don’t plan to be dogmatic), but on the whole we shall follow this pattern.
This comment was originally by Mark Nichols

This comment was originally posted by Mike Badger on April 12, 2010
Hi Damian, I like the concept and I don’t mind unconventional. Here’s an observation. Many open source projects also have enterprise audiences. For example, Zenoss Core is the community version and Zenoss Enterprise is the enterprise version. So, if you publish a title about monitoring with Zenoss Enterprise, which Packt [sub]brand gets the title? The brands seem to say, open source is not enterprise, which is not true, as you know. Maybe you plan to address this perspective in the future. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Mike

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