Marketing Strategy: Do You Need a Sub-Brand?

Whether in the early stages of brand building, or a well-known household brand – it’s possible that the use of a sub-brand could increase sales and market awareness for a product or series of products that may be under the radar, or waiting to be launched. While there are numerous strategies to implement successful corporate branding, the use of sub-brands is the chosen path for many – from manufacturing to higher education.

Sub-branding, sometimes referred to as a subsidiary or extension brand – is tied to a parent company or brand, but carries it’s own name, visual communication and market strategy. Characteristics of the brand usually tie back to the parent brand, however remain distinct and with their own set of brand standards.

Benefits of Sub-Branding

The core benefit of launching a sub-brand is that allows for expansion into specific markets. Often, in a varied line-up under one brand, a product or service that may be a standout to one market, can get lost in the shadow of the parent brand’s message. A brand is able to take advantage of the trust built from their larger brand or company, while tapping into new markets that are more easily attained due to a greater sense of brand loyalty.

Sub-Branding isn’t only beneficial for the brand extension. A sub-brand can create exposure for the parent brand, making it more appealing to a specific customer segment that was not engaged. And while sub-branding does require necessary financing, it also allows for the diversification of finances and the possibility to sell a specific brand without affecting the parent company or family of brands – for some companies, this is the sub-brand strategy in itself.

Marketing efforts are more powerful when sub-brands are used. When messaging can be more targeted, the most important product features can be highlighted and focused on. Product choices become clearer, according to the needs of the customer, making their choice, and journey to conversion as simple as possible.

Determining If Brand Segmentation Is Right for a Brand

  • Is there enough of a customer segment to warrant a new brand structure? One the main things to consider is whether the market has demand. Conducting competitive analysis will help to answer this preliminary question.
  • Does your company have the resources needed to conduct a brand extension? From creative assets (logo, content, web design, packaging, etc.) to market entry strategy – there should be both financial and stakeholder (both creative and strategic) resources to conduct the process from concept to launch.
  • Are your products and services varied enough to support a sub-brand? While a market strategy to gain exposure into new markets is one thing, creating an entirely new brand to do so is the wrong way to go. Presenting multiple brands of products that are too similar with the goal of appeal to separate markets can confuse customers and turn them off.

Favored by the corporate landscape, sub-branding is often overlooked by smaller companies due to the misconception that it may be too costly or their brand isn’t ready. No matter the size of company – chances are, if a product or service is a standout among a sea of offerings – it may be a candidate for a sub-brand roll out.