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How to manage expanding your brand: Do you really need a new brand for that?

Congratulations, you’re expanding!

You’ve got a whole new offering, a whole new target market, and whole new world. It’s tempting to create a whole new brand to make sure your messaging and positioning is crystal clear- and while that might be the best option for you, it’s not a decision you should make lightly. A whole new sub-brand takes a lot of resources to create and maintain so you need to make sure the payoff is there. So how do you know when you actually need a sub-brand?

When do you need a sub-brand?

Addressing a new market

Addressing a new market can mean either a new geographical market or a new segment of a pre-existing market. If, in your current market, you want to target a new segment who don’t relate to the current branding at all, a sub-brand could allow you to access them.

In a new geographical area, a sub-brand might be needed to differentiate the product from a highly competitive or saturated market.

Taking a risk in a well-established market

The title really says it all. If you’re trying something risky- that is, something that might damage the reputation of the mother brand, keeping things separate will provide an element of safety.

Just in case.

Creating something wildly different to what you’re known for

Imagine if your bank decided to start selling skateboards too. Now imagine the same branding being used to (try to) present the safety and reliability of a bank as well as the edgy coolness of a skateboarding brand.

Confusing, right?

If you’re creating something not remotely in the same ball-park as what your organisation is known for, using the same branding can create confusion. And consumers. Hate. Confusion.

Branding is all about creating trust and building a reputation. Trying to include too many things ruins all the hard work you’ve done so far.

Managing sub-brands is about managing reputation and avoiding confusion.

Questions to ask yourself before launching a sub-brand:

  1. How is your organisation perceived? To answer this question you’ll have to clearly identify your target audience, then find out what kinds of products, services, and personality they associate with your brand already.
  2. Is there sufficient demand in the market for a new brand? A thorough competitive analysis will help you answer this.
  3. Do you have the resources available to build the sub-brand and the ongoing resources to maintain it? Don’t forget you’ll need creative, strategic, and financial resources as well as stakeholder buy-in.
  4. Is your new venture different enough from your current offerings? Creating a sub-brand with a similar product or service to try and capture a different market segment will dilute your previous efforts. After all, why kill two birds with two stones when you could do it with one?
  5. Which structure suits your resources, needs, and offering the best? (See Part 1  for a Brand Architecture overview.)
  6. Could this sub-brand pose any risk to the parent brand?

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way, and a strong team can often make less-than-ideal brand architecture work. What will work best for you depends on your organisation, the marketplace in which you operate, the competitive landscape, and your business objectives.

Whether you are in B2B or NFP, the management of brands can be a challenge. If you’d like an impartial and non-obligation chat, speak to the team at Make It Happen on 02 8249 1817 or

If you missed part 1 of our "How to manage expanding your brand" blog series, you can catch up here.

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