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To Brand or Sub Brand, That is the Question
HubPages Uses Sub-Brands
When Launching a New Product, Should you create a new brand or sub-brand
For small companies, brand identity is expensive to build, it's so costly, that I'd advise all small companies to concentrate their brand marketing on a single brand. It's so expensive because each brand requires sales and marketing collateral, email addresses for corporate communications, logos, and personality. Spreading the brand concentration out, makes it more difficult for any one brand to succeed, so if you're launching a new brand at a small company, I'd advise to use the parent company brand. For us, we have HubPages Q&A, HubPages Video etc.
For large companies that want to tailor a brand to a specific market with deep resources, it may make sense to launch a new brand. For example, Proctor and Gamble calls their laundry detergent Tide. They built a brand and continue to promote it with many large advertising campaigns. They could have created the sub-brand, Proctor and Gamble Detergent. It's not as flashy as Tide as a brand name and given their resources, creating the new brand was likely a good idea.
One other thing to consider when branding vs sub-branding is the market size. Large markets make more sense for separate brands, while smaller markets may work better for sub-brands because of the expected returns.
What's the Better Branding Strategy
HubPages has built a new feature that can be its own product. The question is what do we call it. Should it be a HubPages sub brand, like how Yahoo names its products Yahoo Movies, Yahoo Photos etc. or should it have a name of its own.
The downside about separate brands is they are expensive to maintain, and new small companies usually can't afford to build one let alone two.
Why take the risk? The truth is I don't know of many sub brands that resonate with me as a consumer. When I was at Microsoft, I saw them struggle with this very issue. They had products like Money Central and Car Point. Then they were changed to MSN Autos and MSN Money. Two of the most successful products in the MSN web family are Hotmail and Expedia. Hotmail was acquired and Expedia was sold. When I look at the outcomes, I think each product should have its own brand.
So our strategy will be to keep the company name HubPages, the main service HubPages and the new product we will release as part of HubPages will have it's own name.