Sub-branding – why and how?

Imagine you’re at a networking event with your well-established customers—these are the individuals who know and trust your main brand. Across the room, however, there are potential clients who are unfamiliar with your offerings. How do you engage these new prospects without overshadowing the core values that your current clientele appreciates? This is where a sub-brand can play a critical role.


A sub-brand acts as an extension of your main brand, carrying its core values but with a distinct identity tailored to new markets. It’s like having a specialised ambassador for your business, equipped to explore new territories and attract different customer segments without compromising the integrity of your original brand.


Consider your main brand as the cornerstone offering of your business – the reason customers engage with you. The sub-brand, in contrast, is like a targeted initiative or a new line of products designed to address the needs of a different demographic or market segment.


Here’s why creating a sub-brand might be a good strategic move for your business.


  • Entering new markets: for example, if you own a coffee shop renowned for its organic selection, launching a sub-brand that operates a mobile coffee truck can capture the urban market and commuters, thereby increasing your brand’s reach.


  • Expanding your product line: If your business sells soaps, for example, introducing a sub-brand that focuses on environmentally-friendly cleaning materials can attract a broader audience without confusing your existing customers.


  • Refreshing your brand: when your business requires a new direction to stimulate growth, a sub-brand can provide that innovation while maintaining the equity of your established brand.


  • Targeting niche markets: a sub-brand allows you to specialise and become the preferred choice within specific niches without diluting your main brand’s appeal.


If you decide to pursue a sub-brand, here’s a structured approach to ensure its successful launch:


Step 1: naming strategy


The name of your sub-brand should resonate with the target audience while maintaining a connection to your main brand. It’s your first impression, so make it meaningful and memorable.


Step 2: establishing a visual identity


Develop a visual identity that is distinct yet relatable to your main brand. This includes selecting appropriate logos, colour schemes, and typography that reflect the sub-brand’s unique character.


Step 3: marketing your sub-brand


Design a comprehensive marketing strategy to introduce your sub-brand to the market. This involves creating a dedicated website, developing social media presence, and producing other marketing materials that highlight the sub-brand’s unique selling points.


Launching a sub-brand involves careful planning and strategic execution, but when done correctly, it can open new avenues for growth and rejuvenation within your business. Are you ready to expand your business horizons?

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David Elliott

Chartered Accountant, BSC, FCA

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