Devising a Branding Strategy

Today, hardly anything goes unbranded. Assuming a firm decides to brand its products or services, it must choose which brand names to use.

Three general strategies are popular:

Companies often use different brand names for different quality lines within the same product class. A major advantage is that if a product fails or appears low quality, the company has not tied its reputation to it.

Many firms, such as GE, use their corporate brand as an umbrella brand across their entire range of products. Development costs are lower, and sales of the new product are likely to be strong if the manufacturer’s name is good.
Corporate-image associations of innovativeness, expertise, and trustworthiness have been shown to directly influence consumer evaluations.

Sub-brands combine two or more of the corporate brand, family brand, or individual product brand names. Kellogg does this by combining the corporate brand with individual product brands as with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. The company name legitimizes, and the individual name individualizes, the new product.

The use of individual or separate family brand names has been referred to as a “house of brands” strategy, whereas the use of an umbrella corporate or company brand name has been referred to as a “branded house” strategy. These represent two ends of a brand relationship continuum, with the sub-brand strategy falling somewhere between. (hybrid-approach)

Example of Branded House, House of Brands and Sub-brand/Hybrid

With a branded house strategy, it is often useful to have a well-defined flagship product, one that best represents or embodies the brand as a whole to consumers. It often is the first product by which the brand gained fame, a widely accepted best-seller, or a highly admired or award-winning product