15 Modern Sub-Brand Examples The Took Off

Looking for the best sub-brand examples to inspire your research or brand architecture project? This article has you covered.

A sub-brand is a brand operating under the umbrella of another brand also known as a parent brand.

Sub-brands are created as part of a broader brand architecture strategy and as a means to target different markets and market segments with more relevance.

For example, while BMW appeals to the luxury car market, the BMW i Series appeals more specifically to the environmentally conscious luxury car market.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most successful sub-brand examples and explain the strategy behind them.

What Are Sub-Brands?

coca-cola products

Sub-brands are specialized entities within a parent brand’s portfolio, designed to address particular market segments while upholding the parent brand’s core principles and maintaining a strategic connection with their parent company. 

Unlike simple brand extensions, sub-brands have their own identities and contribute to the parent brand’s equity, offering tailored value propositions to their target audiences.

The concept of an umbrella brand is crucial in understanding how a parent brand can encompass one or more sub-brands, operating all under one umbrella to leverage brand equity across the portfolio.

The Strategic Role of Sub-Brands in Business Growth

Sub-brands are pivotal for business growth, allowing for precise market targeting and enhancing competitive edge. 

Upholding a strong parent brand’s core values, they carve out distinct identities under the umbrella of a strong parent brand, which enhances their market positioning and identity, aiding in entering new markets with reduced risk.

The strategic autonomy of sub-brands facilitates controlled innovation and niche market capture, broadening a company’s market presence.

However, they require careful management to prevent brand dilution and to navigate resource allocation and internal competition challenges. When executed well, sub-brands can significantly contribute to a company’s success.

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15 Top Examples of Successful Sub-Brands

brand logos illustration

Understanding the concept of a ‘main brand’ is crucial in the context of sub-branding. 

It refers to the overarching brand under which subsidiary or extension brands operate, maintaining a distinct identity, name, and positioning in relation to the main brand.

#1. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop emerged as a pioneering solution tailored for digital artists and photographers, quickly setting the industry benchmark for digital image editing. 

The software’s influence has transcended its functional use, becoming an integral part of the creative world’s lexicon and even entering everyday language as a verb to denote image manipulation. 

Its suite of advanced tools and consistent innovation ensures it remains indispensable in professional workflows.

#2. Tesla Model 3

promotion image of Tesla Model 3

The introduction of the Model 3 marked Tesla’s ambitious foray into the mainstream electric vehicle market, aiming to make eco-friendly transportation accessible to a wider audience. 

The vehicle’s launch not only sped up the global shift towards electric vehicles but also incited a ripple effect among traditional automakers, catalyzing a renewed focus on electric mobility. With its blend of affordability, high-tech features, and Tesla’s renowned performance,

The Model 3 has resonated with consumers and broadened the appeal of electric cars.

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#3. Patagonia Provisions

Patagonia Provisions

With the launch of Patagonia Provisions, the brand extended its ethos of environmental stewardship into the realm of food

This strategic move has not only carved a niche within the food industry but has also spurred a broader emphasis on sustainability, prompting competitors to reevaluate the environmental impact of their offerings.

The line of sustainable food products leverages the brand’s reputation for ethical practices, drawing in consumers who prioritize environmental impact in their purchasing decisions.

#4. Nike Air Jordan

air jordan logo illustration

The creation of this line was a strategic masterstroke to leverage the soaring popularity of Michael Jordan, aiming to conquer the basketball shoe market. 

It has since become a trendsetter in athletic wear, influencing sneaker culture worldwide and transcending its role as mere sports equipment to become a coveted status symbol.

This brand expertly fuses performance with style and exclusivity.

Its offerings are not just footwear but a cultural icon, highly sought after by athletes and sneaker aficionados alike. Each release is anticipated with fervor, and the ownership of a pair is often seen as a rite of passage in the community of enthusiasts.

#5. Adidas Yeezy

Adidas Yeezy boost 350 illustration

This collaboration with Kanye West was a bold move to tap into the fusion of streetwear fashion and sneaker culture. 

It has since risen to the status of a cultural phenomenon, creating its own niche in high-end streetwear and shaping fashion trends across the globe.

The line is celebrated for its avant-garde design and a marketing strategy that emphasizes scarcity, which has successfully driven demand and fostered a sense of exclusivity. 

Its unique approach has not only captivated a loyal following but has also set a new bar for what is considered high fashion in streetwear.

#6. Apple iPhone

iphone illustration

The development of this product was an ambitious endeavor to redefine the smartphone experience, integrating advanced technology with a user-friendly interface. 

It has revolutionized the mobile industry, setting unprecedented standards for smartphones and propelling a wave of innovation.

The seamless integration with the brand’s ecosystem, unparalleled security features, and a premium user experience have made it a benchmark in the industry. 

It has become more than a device; it’s an integral part of the lifestyle of its users, continually pushing the boundaries of what a smartphone can be.

#7. Uber Black

uber black car

Launched to cater to a more discerning clientele, this service offers a luxury ride experience, targeting users who prioritize elegance and professionalism. 

It has set a high bar for ride-sharing services, offering a superior level of comfort and privacy.

With its fleet of high-end vehicles and professional drivers, it provides an elevated service that distinguishes itself from standard offerings, redefining the expectations of a premium ride service and diversifying the market with its upscale approach.

#8. Microsoft Xbox

Introduced to seize a share of the gaming market, this product leverages cutting-edge technology to deliver an immersive gaming experience.

It has become a formidable force in the gaming industry, challenging established brands and driving innovation.

With exclusive titles and state-of-the-art technology, it offers gamers an engaging and dynamic experience. 

This has not only captivated a loyal fan base but has also expanded the realm of gaming, pushing the industry towards new heights of technological achievement.

#9. Sony Alpha

This line of cameras and lenses has become a trailblazer for professionals in photography and videography, offering cutting-edge imaging technology that pushes the envelope of what’s possible in visual storytelling. 

The introduction of this series has fortified the brand's position as a leader in the camera industry, challenging competitors and inspiring a wave of innovation.

With its superior sensor resolution and performance capabilities, the series meets the exacting demands of professionals who require the best tools for their craft. 

The resulting images and videos are of such high quality that they often set new standards in the industry, influencing both the creation and consumption of visual content.

#10. Amazon Alexa

amazon alexa introduce illustration

This voice-controlled assistant spearheaded the smart home revolution, changing the way users interact with their living spaces. It has become synonymous with voice-activated technology, setting the stage for a future where homes are increasingly autonomous and responsive to their inhabitants’ needs.

By offering seamless integration across a multitude of devices, the assistant simplifies home automation, providing users with a centralized system that enhances everyday convenience.

This has not only won over consumers but also encouraged other companies to develop compatible products, fostering an ecosystem of smart home devices.

#11. DoubleTree by Hilton

This hotel brand is synonymous with a warm, welcoming atmosphere and is renowned for its thoughtful touches, such as the signature warm cookie offered to guests upon arrival. 

This unique approach to hospitality has helped carve out a distinctive position in the industry, appealing to travelers who value comfort and personable service.

The brand’s focus on creating a welcoming and friendly environment has resonated with guests, leading to a strong reputation for excellent customer service and a homely experience. 

This has allowed the brand to stand out in a crowded market and maintain a loyal customer base.

#12. Amazon Kindle

Launched to revolutionize the reading experience, this e-reader brand has dominated its market, significantly impacting the way readers engage with books. It has been a pivotal force in the transition from physical books to digital formats, influencing not just consumer behavior but also the publishing industry at large. 

Its portability, user-friendly interface, and access to a vast digital library have made it a favorite among readers, offering an unparalleled level of convenience.

The brand’s success has also spurred on the development of digital publishing tools and platforms, further transforming the literary landscape.

#13. PepsiCo's Gatorade

Gatorade illustration

Originally formulated to meet the hydration and nutritional needs of athletes, this sports drink brand has become emblematic of athletic endeavor and performance. 

It stands out from its parent company's traditional soda offerings and has established itself as a market leader in the sports beverage sector.

With its scientifically developed formula designed to replenish and hydrate, the brand has become an essential part of the workout routine for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. 

Its association with professional sports and its presence on the sidelines of countless sporting events have reinforced its image as an indispensable aid to athletic performance.

#14. BMW i Series

bmw series illustration

This series represents a visionary leap into sustainable mobility, targeting drivers who prioritize environmental responsibility alongside luxury. 

It has played a significant role in propelling the automotive industry towards a more sustainable future, emphasizing the importance of eco-friendly practices.

By marrying luxury with innovative eco-friendly technology, the series offers a premium driving experience that doesn’t compromise on environmental values. Its success has encouraged the industry to accelerate the development of electric vehicles and sustainable technologies.

#15. Unilever's Dove Men+Care

Unilever's Dove Men+Care illustration

This personal care line was created to address the specific skin and hair care needs of men, expanding the reach of its parent brand into the male grooming market.

Its launch has played a pivotal role in broadening the men's personal care market and reshaping societal views on male grooming.

With products specifically formulated for men, the line emphasizes a comprehensive approach to grooming, promoting the idea that care is not just a female concern. 

Its impact has been such that it has not only captured a significant share of the market but also encouraged other brands to follow suit, leading to a more inclusive and diverse personal care industry.

Key Considerations for Creating Sub-Brands

Several factors need to be considered before creating a sub-brand. Here are some key considerations:

The sub-brand should align with the parent brand’s overall strategy and values.

It should serve a distinct market segment that the parent brand isn’t effectively serving.

Companies must ensure they have the resources to develop and sustain the sub-brand.

The market dynamics, which include customer needs, competition, and trends, should also be taken into account. The sub-brand should offer a unique value proposition that differentiates it from competitors.

Lastly, companies should have a clear plan for how the sub-brand will fit into their overall brand architecture and contribute to their brand portfolio’s strength.

Conclusion

Sub-brands have become a powerful strategic tool for companies with multiple brands to expand their market reach, diversify their offerings, and enhance their brand portfolio’s strength. They allow companies to cater to diverse customer preferences and enter new markets without diluting their main brand’s identity.

Careful planning and execution are needed in the creation and management of sub-brands. It involves:

Understanding the market dynamics

Aligning the sub-brand with the parent brand’s values

Developing a unique value proposition that resonates with the target market

When done right, sub-brands can significantly enhance a company’s competitiveness and growth as an endorsed brand.

For both seasoned brand strategists and business leaders aiming to diversify their company’s offerings, understanding and leveraging the power of sub-brands can greatly contribute to business success. So, are you ready to explore the world of sub-brands?

Key Takeaways

Sub-brands serve specific market segments, maintaining the parent company’s core values while offering a unique identity, like Virgin Care providing healthcare under the Virgin brand.

Sub-branding enables companies to diversify business, enter new markets, and experiment without risking the main brand’s reputation, as seen with Coca-Cola Zero targeting health-conscious consumers.

While a sub-brand provides a targeted value proposition under the parent brand’s umbrella, it requires strategic planning, alignment with the parent brand, and careful market consideration to avoid brand dilution and cannibalization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of a subbrand?

An example of a subbrand is Diet Coke, a successful sub-brand of Coca Cola which has become popular among health-conscious consumers and has turned into a billion dollar business.

Is Apple a branded house or sub-brands?

Apple is a branded house, as the master brand sits at the top, and all sub-brands benefit from its visibility and identity. This creates a strong brand architecture for Apple.

Is iPhone a sub brand?

Yes, the iPhone is considered a sub-brand of Apple, along with other products like iPad, Mac, AirPods, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. These are individual brand extensions associated with the parent brand.

How does a sub-brand differ from a brand extension?

A sub-brand is a separate brand with its unique identity and marketing strategy, while a brand extension involves expanding the parent brand’s product or service offerings within the same category.

What are the benefits of having sub-brands?

Having sub-brands can help companies effectively target specific customer segments, expand their market reach, and enter new markets more easily. Additionally, a successful sub-brand can enhance the parent brand’s image and increase overall brand loyalty.

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