Last week, Right Stuf revealed that they will be creating a new brand. The label, known as Lucky Penny, will specialize in “high-quality and budget-friendly” releases, while the Nozomi Entertainment brand will be elevated to include the company’s higher-end products. The company plans to launch Lucky Penny with three titles:

  • Aoi Hana: Sweet Blue Flowers
  • Hyakko
  • Ristorante Paradiso

I won’t delve too far into this, since I’m currently working on a larger article on this situation. However, I do want to use this as an opportunity to discuss branding. Formally, a brand is defined as any “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

“And what does this mean in English?”

Well, dear reader, in English, a brand is the combination of elements that define a product to a customer. These are the elements that customers will immediately recognize, remember, and attach themselves to as a good, if not the best solution to a problem. A good brand conveys that the product is the best tool for the job at hand in a manner that is both recognizable and memorable. Established brands have particular advantages, due to the fact that they’ve had time to garner market-share, as well as mind-share that will give them an advantage in the marketplace. Prominenet brands are able to command higher prices, as users invest in both the product and its reputation. Such prominent brands include the Band-Aid adhesive medical strips, Coca Cola, and Kleenex brand facial tissues.

In our industry, we have a number of recognizable brands, from Dragon Ball to Cowboy Bebop, which elicit similar emotional responses in audiences inside and out of the subculture. These are the titles that people recognize, what grabs their attention, and, most important, what they buy. However, what’s particularly fascinating is that we don’t have the same level of recognition among labels and companies. We don’t have some larger, arching brand like Sony or Nintendo that people identify with the overall product class. While FUNimation does have some mindshare due to their sheer size, we curiously lack that a brand that even the average customer can name in an average conversation.

This is why the announcement of Lucky Penny is such an interesting one. A new brand offers an opportunity to build mindshare and recognition in a market, be it a red ocean or a blue one. It offers a chance to build inroads for customers, and a chance to steal the spotlight from the current market landscape. It’s an opportunity to craft a new message that will get people talking and, more important, looking toward the company’s product offerings under the new brand.

While I don’t see Lucky Penny taking the top spot in the market it will be interesting to see how Right Stuf introduces an maintains the brand in the market. The company has the leverage of being a large-scale retailer, while also holding a number of attractive properties that could be introduced under the brand. With these factors in mind, it will be interesting to see how the label grows and evolves in the months ahead.