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Umbrella brands like Unliever, P&G, Associated British Foods, Diageo and Mars are increasingly coming out of the limelight and seeking a profile of their own. The rise in digital media and the emergence of a more socially active consumer have driven this change.

Here are a few thoughts on managing your umbrella and sub-brands.


  • Remember that creating a new sub-brand can have more impact than simply adding an additional service to your website. Sub-brands are taken more seriously by consumers and they can convey emotion, imagination or specific functionality.
  • Remember that some brands may not be highly profitable but still do a job – keeping out local competitors, acting as a price fighter or providing a vehicle for new ideas.
  • Bear in mind that joining up the dots between the individual brand and the umbrella brand can help with crisis management.
  • Accept that there are times when the parent company should not take the limelight.
  • Remember that promoting the umbrella brand can ease the transition of acquiring new brands in markets where the parent company is already operating.


  • Assume that just because another parent brand achieves success with their particular approach to umbrella branding, it will work for you. There is no one-size-fits-all model.
  • Ever think that the umbrella or corporate brand alone is enough to successfully communicate the product’s value to consumers. Sub-brands must always have their own unique identity, which channels some of the umbrella’s characteristics.