The role of a sub-brand and how it can help

Monday, 1st February 2021

Guest blog by Noramble

Branding – it’s everywhere. It’s in places you wouldn’t even imagine. Branding is there even when you don’t think it is and it has more influence on your customers than you realise.

So with more and more brand being built and developing, how do business manage them all under one roof?

The answer is sub-brands.

So what is a sub-brand? A sub-brand is an extension on an existing brand.

There are three main sub-brands within a brand architecture:


One master company manages a selection of seemingly unrelated and independent brands with no apparent connection to the brand house. Think of Unilever that have sub-brands such as Dove, Persil and PG Tips.


A branded house is the most common of sub-brands. The branded house is where a primary parent brand shares its name with its sub-brands. Think of Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke. Or Amazon, with its vast amount of sub-brand such as Amazon Alexa and Amazon Prime.


Hybrid sub-brands work in a way where each new sub-brand is endorsed by the leading brand and carries a portion of its value. However, the leading brand still maintains a distinct brand identity. Think of Sony with the Sony Playstation and the Sony Walkman. Sony is endorsing the quality of these product lines.

So what does all this mean and how is it beneficial?

Well, it all depends on your business, it’s goals, and it’s visions for the future. A sub-brand can be a great way to enter new markets and reach new people. It can also help with niching down your business while still being in other markets with other sub-brands.

For example, let’s say your brand is perceived as low quality but quick and accessible. If you want to move into a more premium market, you will struggle with your current brand that’s perceived as low quality. It would be costly and time-consuming to try and move that main brand up the quality scale.

So entering a new sub-brand into the market could be the answer, it’s a fresh slate while still being linked to the main brand and the credibility.

An example of this is the Holiday Inn brand (a cheap, low-cost hotel). When Holiday Inn decided to enter the premium hotel market, no one would take Holiday Inn seriously (and rightly so). So it created a completely new sub-brand called The Crowne Plaza and opened the sub-brand in flagship cities like London and New York. This helped with the credibility of the new sub-brand.