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To Brand or Sub Brand, That is the Question

Updated on May 22, 2012

HubPages Uses Sub-Brands

HubPages, HubPages QnA, HubPages Video are our three main sub-brands
HubPages, HubPages QnA, HubPages Video are our three main 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.

Should we use Sub-Brands

I have a really strong company brand, should the new product piggy back at our current brand equity?

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    • JazLive profile image

      JazLive 10 years ago from Decatur

      Diggs recently added new features and it instantly sucks!

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 10 years ago from Australia

      I believe it depends on the function of the product. If it were sub branded what would it be called? If it is branded with it's own unique identity, what would it be called?

      And then compare it.

      Which one works better.

      Sometimes products (services, or whatever it is that is being made) almost dictate which way it should go. Of course there are those that it's a split decision. They're the hardest.

      In this instance, not knowing what it's about, but having read that 'it can also be used as a standalone on any website' I'd be inclined to brand it.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      This product will be part of HubPages, but it can also be used standalone on any website.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Having worked at naming products and services, I can't say which I prefer since I don't know what the new product is. If the product can only be used as a part of HubPages, to brand it totally separately seems non-productive to me.

    • gredmondson profile image

      gredmondson 10 years ago from San Francisco, California

      Haaving a subbrand reinforces the main brand, but if you get too big, people don't like the idea of a big business being everywhere. For examplly, NBC is owned by GE which is frequently mentioned in disclosure, but I'll bet less than half the people who watdh NBC know it.

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 10 years ago from Singapore / India

      In my opinion having a separate brand identity will be more helpful in marketing it strongly.

      Thank you Paul, for sorting out the traffic statistics issue.