Building a sub brand

Sub-branding is a useful tool for organizations looking to reach new audiences in new markets or categories. While all brands employ some sort of brand architecture, many brands specifically benefit from developing a strategic plan that utilizes the power of sub-branding, or a secondary brand that leverages the associations of its parent brand.

But how does a brand determine whether or not it makes sense to create sub-brands?

Sub-brand factors to consider

It boils down to two things: the category (or market) your brand is in and your brand’s intended audience. For example, if your company operates in the construction industry but is looking to get into the tech industry to take advantage of current trends – that’s a definite reason to develop a sub-brand as the existing construction audience would be confused by such a pivot. To further drive home the point, if your brand’s target audience serves small and mid-sized businesses but you want to also reach fortune 100 brands, it would be best to enter that market with a different brand (sub-brand, in this case) altogether.

In essence, sub-branding allows companies to avoid watering down their position when chasing new market opportunities. If a proper architecture and corresponding sub-brands are not in place, new offerings (or brand extensions) stretch the brand in question, triggering its decent into the depths of brand obscurity and shrinking revenues…

building a sub brand

Examples of categories:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Marketing
  • Tech
  • Automotive

Examples of target audiences:

  • Start-ups
  • SMB’s
  • Fortune 100 companies

Depending on your brand’s current position and desired growth, sub-branding could be the next logical step to further your mission and reach new audiences. Remember, in order to consider developing sub-brands there needs to be something new or different in either your category or in your intended audience.

If you are one the fence about sub-branding, make a quick pass through this sub-brand map to determine if find out it’s a worthwhile venture at this point in time:

how to build a sub brand

The Results are in!

If you landed on ‘Sub-brand!’ – your next step is to determine which type of sub-branding structure is right for you and yes, there are options! Check out this article on the types of sub-brands to guide you on your sub-brand journey.

If you landed on ‘No need to sub-brand!’ – it’s likely your brand does not need to create a sub-brand at this time. But, just because sub-branding isn’t right for your organization right now doesn’t mean you can’t plan for the future or try to think ahead if new product lines are in order. Check out this article on brand architecture for an overview on structuring your brand and outlining its growth moving forwards.


In all, whether you are building a sub-brand or implementing a different growth strategy, developing strong brand architecture early on in your brand’s life is essential for its long term success.

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