The three brand strategies for nearly all businesses

 
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You may have just hopped over here from reading all about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur. You might be at the stage of wondering whether all of you offerings are sitting well together under one brand or whether you need to sub brand.

Although this can be one of those ‘more involved ‘ topics, sub-branding in the small business world can be kept pretty simple & split into three core strategies. 

Just a reminder, before jumping into your strategy, if you have multiple offerings you need an understanding of how different your audiences are, how different your pricing is across the range & also what your big vision is.

Three brand strategies for nearly all businesses


  • Option 1: Sub branding. Aka having a parent brand with little branded babies

  • Option 2: Single brand. Aka keeping it simple

  • Option 3: Separate brands. Aka running separate businesses

Here are the three brand strategies with a few examples for you:


OPTION 1

the parent brand with little branded babies

Where your brands are different but connected, with a family look & feel:

🌟A leading look for the parent brand

🌟Branded babies (sub brands) inherit traits from the parent

🌟Option use sepArate websites & social media for all brands

🌟Option to combine platforms so there’s a single destination

This is the strategy that I am using. Like many small businesses, it’s one you tend to evolve into so knowing your big vision really helps.

brand strategy in action

The Brandologist is my parent brand

Branded Me is my online school, which has its own website but not its own social media handles.

Visually, Branded Me shares some traits with The Brandologist but has an identity of its own to appeal more to the target audience.

The future vision includes other ‘branded babies’ named similarly to Branded Me.

Who this suits

Business ventures where the audiences are different people, sharing commonalities (e.g business owners who want help building their brand).

An alternative take

If my big vision was different, say if I only wanted a handful of branding courses & do some workshops, I could easily use the single brand strategy.

However, because I know I have a long term vision for more online schools focussing on visibility as well as building personal brand authority, I decided a family of brands would suit better. This way I can later evolve into separating the brands further if I want to (such as the likes of Virgin do).


OPTION 2

The single brand

Where you have one brand which is the home for all of your offerings.

🌟A single look & feel for your brand

🌟Single website & social media handles

🌟Option to use design to differentiate your packages & offerings, without being a full sub brand

🌟Option to change this in the future

brand strategy in action

There are many examples here, but a recent client of mine is Roses and Roots. This is a single brand with two main packages, using a different icon to differentiate them.

Who this suits

Businesses whose audiences across their product lines are all very similar & their price points are similar too - likely just staggered from entry level to full service. You couldn’t have one budget option & one premium option in the same brand.

An alternative take

In the Roses & Roots example, Louise might decide to venture into healthy eating & lifestyle. While this could fit into the R&R brand, she’d need to consciously keep similarities in terms of talking about self care, spirituality & essential oils.

This might stifle the growth of this new area, because she might find she wants to talk about meal planning for the family, sourcing produce & create some affiliate partnerships. So it’s important to know your big vision when deciding on your strategy.


OPTION 3

separate your brands

Here’s where your brands could look like different businesses.

🌟Distinct look & feel for each brand

🌟Separate websites & social media

🌟Option to weave a few subtle visual similarities or naming consistencies

🌟Option to use your personal brand to bind them all together

brand strategy in action

A brilliant example for this strategy is local photographer, Hannah McClune, who uses three brand identities for her core offerings;

Wedding photography - hannah mcclune photography

Brand photography - visible by hannah

Courses for teaching new photographers - the flourish workshop

My interpretation

I’d guess that Hannah started with the wedding photography business (because that’s the one using her personal brand). For me, choosing this brand strategy tells us that Hannah’s audiences are different & rarely cross over services.

It also tells me that her ideal clients most likely want to have an ‘expert experience’, meaning for them it’s important to see Hannah as an expert in that field rather than a jack of all trades.

This also tells me that Hannah’s price point is potentially in the upper tiers, with the exception of the Flourish brand; The visual branding here tells me it’s most likely designed to feel accessible & needed a separate brand to differentiate from the more premium brands, as well as a way to put together the team who teach the workshops.

(I should say this is my interpretation only & not validated by Hannah, although she has kindly consented to be a case study for me!)

Who this suits

Business ventures where the audiences are different people, sharing only a few commonalities: things like mindset & personality are the commonalities that will draw them to you so they will most likely share these, but have a different need, problem or niche.

For example, brides v business owners, or travel blog readers v parenting product buyers.

An alternative take

Hannah could have gone into a sub brand strategy & kept her brand photography on the same website & social media as weddings. This may have suited if say she didn’t have a big vision to expand her team.

She would have separated the services out, named her brand packages & had different marketing & content strategies for each, but all using the same handles & driving traffic into the same platform.

However, like most things that share space - one would always have to take a lead.


brand strategy

what’s right for your business?

Knowing what’s right for you is mostly a grey area with no right & wrong. Sometimes it depends on whether you have a personal brand or business brand. Sometimes it’s more about the time & budget you have available, what your big vision is or where your greatest passion lies.

The key is to get to know yourself & your own instincts.

And remember, nothing is fixed & it can all evolve, like all of business & life!

 
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