Relations among brands and corporate

In our society we are
constantly notified about new brands or we get familiar with new ones thanks to their massive involvement in our daily life.


However, we are not often able to trace the possible relations among brands and between brand and corporate.


How can we classify through patterns the structure of those relations?

Corporate and brand can interact with each other in order to develop systems related by linearity, similar to a family tree, or in order to autonomously establish a complex relation from a commercial, financial and managerial point of view.


Since a decade ago in some US companies a binding
idea of brand, product, packaging and price was apparently enduring. Many firms have then assumed this concept as their golden standard.


We can now rank a series of case studies:








Corporate and brand don’t


A typical case is given by Unilever: this company has made the one-brand/one-product policy its branding philosophy, because it appears with different brands in varying product classes, each one with a specific and clear positioning without showing the corporate name. The company
is visible only in one market and it’s trying to be leader in its product class without binding its name to any market segment.


The policy benefits


One benefit is the chance to join new segments without necessary involving the corporate name.

This will entail an almost absolute freedom to enter new markets, avoiding that possible failures undermine corporate and its brands reliability.


We can quote Procter & Gamble as well; at the end of ‘800 indeed it introduced on the market the Ivory soap, then it joined other segments, keeping its different identities autonomous: from the soap powder (Dreft, Tide, Dash) to the toothpaste (Crest) up to the French fries












Advantageous relations with distributors.

The space that distributors assign to each company depends on the number of company strong brands; if a brand reaches a market with several products, the retailer will satisfy company demand dealing just with some products; on the opposite, in the case of one brand for each product,the company will get more space in terms of portfolio.


The main negative features are above all economic.


Each corporate during a new brand/product start-up must necessarily cope with the high costs of advertising and promotion investments.


Furthermore, if
the separation between brands and products avoids the risks of secondary
negative associations, it also voids all potential benefits for brands that could reach the success thanks to one of them.
If a brand becomes successful, the other ones won’t be able to enjoy it because both show no reference to their common origin.


The corporate must also deal with the distributors that will make a stand because not so inclined to keep on their shelves brands still not accustomed by consumers.


Distributors, being directly involved in the process, well know the corporate hiding behind the marketed brands that will be susceptible to the brand success or failure.


The market saturation makes harder and harder the new brands launch.



Corporate and brand correspond


In this case one brand
supports several products on different markets
and each item distinguishes itself from the others by its own communication and features.


The Illy coffee is an example of
corporate/brand/product, Yamaha is a strong and reliable brand in motorcycling as well as in musical instruments
frame of reference; Philips markets its brand hi-fi, computers, consumer electronics and electrical components.


The slogan “the company brand is the future” becomes a value capital for consumers, just think to brands such as Harley Davidson, able to devise a relational world providing a social and ideological universe.


Main advantages


All products can appeal to
the same brand popularity
and join international economies of scale. 


If entering new markets the brand awareness high level could be extremely valuable to spread through distributors and consumers with no effort to build it up.


Brand celebrity can even be enough to become successful in small areas or where advertising and marketing efforts are not necessary.




It’s difficult to release the consumer polarization in new market segments.

Possible negative effects of a product failure in a specific market/area on its corporate.



Corporate acts as source of brands identifiable under
different shapes


It’s a strategy similar to the umbrella one, except
that products show the corporate name and not a generic one.


What prevails between the two names is the source brand one: the product name
shows its uniqueness but the main brand stands out.


A sample is given by sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.




Virgin Records

Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Play

Virgin Cola

Virgin Resort and Hotel


This brand is a remarkable example of how a brand can be widespread, from registration products, to flights up to wedding dresses always keeping its benefits in every segment.

Following such a policy,
corporate is successful when it represents a life style shared by products put forward on the markets.


The corporate that opts for this strategy must be able to manage both roles and, moreover, it should bring the consumer on two different levels: the low-positioned brand in the hierarchy will enrich the corporate meaning through its own one, already able to attract the segment to which it’s addressed.

One of the most critical
aspects is respecting the identity of the source corporate, that fixes the brand limits:
the product names, for example, will belong to the source brand semantic area and they will include the brand peculiarities.

It could trigger problems related to bid too much the brand to the real world, with no chance to convey it in an imaginary one. The name “Virgin Atlantic Airways” is for sure less intriguing than “Volare” one.


In case you want your low-positioned brand released in the hierarchy, you should adopt an endorsing brand strategy, linking the corporate name to the brand through a simple

Typical examples of this relation could be fashion company perfumes, (Eternity by Calvin Klein) or fashion company stylists such as Guess by Marciano.


Corporate and brand partially correspond


This is the case of Coca-cola. The Coca-cola Company corporate counts among its brands not just the Atlanta famous one, but many other drinks such as Fanta, Sprite, Minute Maid, Oasis…




Coca Cola




Minute Maid


There’s then the chance for the corporate to be its
own brand and corporate of many other brands.

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