family branding

Family branding or umbrella branding is used by companies for advertising their services and products by using a single brand name usually called family brand or umbrella brand. It is different from the promotion of a single item as products are promoted in family branding under an umbrella name. It can also be considered as categorisation of several items under a common brand name. The main purpose of family branding is to enhance the marketability of certain products by putting them under the same brand name which makes them easily identifiable by the people. Just because some items come under a single brand name it puts trust among people regarding the credibility of those items that are introduced under that brand name.

Another aspect which is closely related to family branding is brand architecture. Brand architecture refers to the composition of brands inside an organisational commodity. Through brand architecture, we can easily distinguish different brands from each other that are present in the same organisation. Owing to its quality of pictorially depicting the brand architecture, family branding plays an important part in defining brand architecture. Apart from this, there is a term called mixed branding which must not be confused with family branding. Mixed branding is a strategy which involves selling of similar manufactured goods to different sections, In this strategy, all the products are not accommodated under a similar brand name as happens in case of umbrella branding.

Theories to study consumer psychology:

Further, there are various theories that explain or study the psychology of consumers while buying products and establish umbrella branding as an effective strategy for the sellers or marketing companies

  • Categorisation theory– According to this theory, consumers relate new products under a particular brand with their past experiences with the items under that brand. Additionally, people are more likely to buy new items if they are introduced under a brand name which shares good brand equity among people rather than the one which does not have.
  • Schema congruity theory– It states that our past expectations influence retrieval of memory and storing of new information. According to this theory, existing schemas are the basis for the evaluation of new information. On relating this concept to how consumer evaluate the products in the market, it has been found that from his past experiences, a consumer already carries pre-existing schemas which he uses to evaluate new products launched under a brand and hence determines his choice regarding purchasing of items. This theory is very much similar to the categorisation theory.

Examples of family branding

  • Starbucks corporation– It is an American multinational company and it has a coffee business and its all products are sold under the same brand name viz. Starbucks. Some of its products include- Starbucks Drink ware, Starbucks syrups and toppings, Starbucks tea etc.
  • Procter and Gamble– Procter and Gamble also called P&G is also an American multinational company which sells a variety of products to consumers. Individual products including Pantene and Pampers are created by P&G. But family branding is carried out within a single brand also for e.g. Pantene, an individual brand under Procter and Gamble is used for selling wide variety of hair care products viz. shampoos, moisturisers, conditioners, hair styling products etc.

Benefits of family/Umbrella branding:

Family branding is employed by various companies all around the world due to its various potential benefits viz.

  1. The reduction in cost of advertising different items under different brands has made it efficient and effective practice for marketing companies. The minimised cost of brand development is the major reason behind why different companies are always inclined towards family branding.
  2. The umbrella branding makes new things easily identifiable for the consumers and hence also decreases the cost behind consumer brand association. As reputed brands can take advantage of their already established image, this enables the market entry of these companies quite economical and affordable.
  3. When a company uses umbrella branding this does not imply that the company cannot use other methods of marketing or brand extension. There is still flexibility and elasticity with strategies for marketing.
  4. The biggest benefit of using umbrella branding is that the success achieved by a single product in the market gets automatically extended to other items under the same brand name.

Risks of family branding:

  • The family branding might seem ineffective for a new product if the brand does not have a good consumer perception
  • This strategy may prove harmful to the marketing companies if some of the products under that brand are not preferred much by the people, This may make people think the same about the other items (which might be good) as well. Thus, the company might lose value for other items under the brand if some items under that brand are not approved by the people. This may add to negative brand value for the company.
  • Umbrella branding seems effective only in cases where relatable products are sold under that specific brand. For e.g.- Cadbury is  a popular brand for chocolates but if in future it comes up with another category of product, it may not be that effective in the eyes of people.
  • Cannibalisation is one of the major problems seen in the marketing strategy involving family branding as some products belonging to the same category may lose value in future due to consumer preference of other product within the same brand or we can simply say family branding may give rise to competition among similar items of the same corporate brand which might not prove great for the company in the future.

End note:

Although there are some risks associated with umbrella branding but it has been observed that items which are introduced in the market under the already established brand names are always accepted and welcomed by people when compared with the situation if the same items would have been introduced under a new brand name. This also prevents the companies from spending huge amount of money on establishing new brands for newly introduced items.

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