Family Branding: Strategy and Examples

Article Summary:

Family branding, also known as umbrella branding, is a marketing strategy where a group of products or a whole product line is promoted under a single parent brand name. The idea behind it is, if consumers trust the parent brand, then they’ll also trust other goods that fall under its “umbrella.” Additionally, family branding is a convenient way for companies to encourage consumers to purchase certain groups of products using a single marketing campaign rather than promoting each product individually.

As many of us are aware of on some level, consumers tend to purchase products and services they are familiar with and feel good about. This is true even when some similar goods and brands would serve the same purpose, and possibly even cost less.

In many cases, it’s (mostly) all about consumers’ perceptions of a brand, rather than one being markedly better than another. Read on to learn more about family branding, how and why companies leverage this type of strategy, and how it can impact consumer loyalty and spending.

What is the family branding strategy?

As previously mentioned, family branding is a marketing concept where a single brand promotes an entire product line or group of disparate products under one marketing strategy. The point of this type of campaign is the ability to market multiple products by leveraging the consumer trust and recognition of one corporate brand name.

It all starts with an established brand. Once a consumer feels good about a product or company, it naturally follows that they are more likely to continue to be loyal to that same brand.


You may try a certain type of bread (say Pepperidge Farm) and enjoy it. Going forward, you’re likely going to continue buying other types of bread from that brand because your experience with it has been positive.

Taking it a step further, you’re also more likely to purchase other products that fall under the same brand of Pepperidge Farm. This may extend to similar products, such as cookies and other baked goods, or expand to different kinds of groceries like frozen food items and other products.

Beauty and skincare companies often employ this strategy as well. XYZ Cosmetics doesn’t want you to just buy its moisturizing lotion, for example. They also want you to purchase eye cream, facial cleanser, and anti-aging serums along with it. Therefore, they will market it as a whole — such as suggesting a skincare routine that involves several of their products — rather than marketing each individual product.

Why is umbrella branding important?

What family branding does is count on consumer loyalty as part of their brand-building efforts by using a marketing style that promotes many different products or product lines under one strategy.

Ultimately this is important because it saves the company money by not having so many individual advertising campaigns. It also carries the added benefit of introducing customers to new products, or ones they might not have tried yet, with considerably less effort and expense.

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The psychology behind umbrella branding

There are a few intricacies of human nature that marketing strategists are counting on when they employ family branding strategies.

Confirmation bias

The theory behind confirmation bias is that people tend to seek out or favor evidence that confirm their existing beliefs and reject ideas that contradict them. The way family branding works is to essentially capitalize on that bias.

Companies that use this strategy work under the assumption that a consumer who has a positive experience with one brand or individual product will seek to confirm those beliefs by buying more goods under the same umbrella brand. Taking it a step further, the consumer will (ideally) also imbue the new products with the positive feelings they’ve had in past experiences with related individual brands or the overall parent brand.

Categorization theory

Categorization theory is the premise that people naturally divide the world around them into different categories as a way to more efficiently understand and process their environment. This theory is particularly relevant to consumer behavior because there are so many choices to make (or categories to sift through) on any given shopping trip.

Proponents of family branding bank on the fact that humans’ natural tendency to categorize the world around them extends to the products they buy and the brands associated with those products. The theory is, their past experiences with a product or brand will inform their current and future choices, making customers more likely to stay within a familiar brand. This is particularly effective when consumers experience the initial confusion that can happen when confronted with brand new products.

Commonalities in family branding strategy

Companies that successfully employ umbrella branding strategies have a few key things in common that make family branding work for their business. Essentially, a business owner needs to establish core values for their firm, come up with a strong mission statement, and then creatively market their products.

Specifically, a business needs to outline its core values and then expand upon those values in its mission statement, which explains the overall purpose for the existence of the brand. The company can next implement a marketing strategy that upholds those core values and explains how the individual brand products fit into the overlying philosophy of the parent brand name.

Examples of family branding strategy


One of the prime examples of umbrella branding can be seen when you look at the Apple brand. People generally associate Apple products with high-end, quality electronics with innovative designs and features. Thus it follows that consumers who buy one Apple device, such as an iPhone, are now more likely to purchase other Apple products, like a laptop or iPad.


The first thing that most people associate with the Nike corporate brand is shoes, specifically athletic shoes. But there are many other product lines under the brand of Nike. Clothing, hats, and athletic equipment, for example, all fall under the same family brand. The idea is that if you like the sneakers, you’ll also love the apparel and other gear.


Heinz is another type of umbrella brand that most consumers are familiar with — it’s pretty much a household name like Kleenex or Tide. Ketchup may be the first product that comes to mind, but Heinz also has its name on many other items, such as mustard, vinegar, relish, barbeque sauce, gravy, and mayonnaise, for instance.

Because the brand image of a company like Heinz is so strong, it enhances market acceptance when the company decides to put forth a new concept or product.

Family branding strategy for services

Umbrella branding is not just for use in promoting consumer products, of course. An example of family branding that doesn’t involve physical goods are insurance agencies. Local insurance agencies, for instance, may try to lure customers in with the promise of cheap car insurance and then try to sell them on other policies as well.

But a more successful agency brand will use family branding to market all of their policies under one umbrella marketing strategy. This cost-effective promotion for the agency is meant to also be beneficial to the customer who can save money by bundling auto, home, life, or business insurance.

Certain financial services, such as financial institutions and investment firms, can also benefit from family branding strategies. By marketing themselves as a business that can not only offer you a checking account for your daily needs, but also loans, CDs, business accounts, and other bank products, a company can get a lot more of your business.

Pros and cons of a family brand strategy

The advantages of using a family branding strategy are threefold. However, there is one possible (but significant) drawback to using an umbrella brand marketing strategy.


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • One overarching strategy. It allows companies to use a single, integrated marketing strategy that can cover an entire product line rather than using a different approach for each product.
  • Helps sell similar products. New products belonging to the family brand (or redesigned existing items) can more easily capitalize on the trust and recognition of the parent brand.
  • Fast and cheap. Umbrella branding strategy is an easier and cheaper method for companies with positive brand equity looking to market many products under one marketing campaign rather than paying for individual branding for each product.
  • Guilt by association. If one product under the family brand doesn’t do well or fails in some way, that could affect all of the other brands or product lines associated with it. Furthermore, any bad publicity about the family brands themselves can hurt the individual products under the umbrella. This includes, by extension, other individual brands under the parent brand name, which can be negatively impacted as well.

The bottom line with grouping products together under a family branding strategy is that, while it can result in significant savings for the parent brand, existing trust can be eroded by one unsuccessful product or other unfortunate publicity.

How does this differ from a mixed branding strategy?

Many businesses use family branding strategies, but sometimes they’ll incorporate a mixed branding strategy too. A mixed branding strategy is similar to family branding, but it involves the marketing of similar products to different segments of the population.

For example, a car manufacturer may promote certain vehicles as more appropriate for different groups of people or even family members. Maybe the manufacturer markets certain cars toward parents of young children and others for single but well-established individuals. The manufacturer might also promote the less expensive models as perfect for the student who just got their driver’s license, is about to start college, or someone newly embarking on their career.

Overall, individual branding has its place, but a family branding strategy is an excellent way for a business to maximize its marketing dollars. At the time time, the business helps to foster brand loyalty and more seamlessly introduces new products into the marketplace.

Key Takeaways

  • Family branding, or umbrella branding, is a marketing strategy where a group of products is collectively promoted under a single brand.
  • A corporate brand will often utilize family branding strategies when they have positive brand equity and solid consumer trust to promote new products under its parent brand name.
  • Marketing costs and brand-building efforts are cheaper and more streamlined than they are when companies use individual marketing strategies for each product.
  • This marketing strategy can backfire if there is a problem with one of the products under the umbrella brand. Many products, plus the corporate brand itself, may suffer because of the failure of a single product.
View Article Sources
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  2. How Confirmation Bias Works — SimplyPsychology
  3. Two-Stage Categorization in Brand Extension Evaluation: Electrophysiological Time Course Evidence — PLOS One
  4. 9 Financial Brands That Are Totally Killing It on Social Media — SuperMoney
  5. Gender Marketing: How Brands Use the Power of Colors To Persuade You — SuperMoney
  6. Do Luxury Watches Appreciate In Value? — SuperMoney
  7. These Are The 10 Most Expensive Yachts In The World. But Their Owners? You’ll Never Guess. — SuperMoney
  8. The 25 Most Expensive Pens in the World — SuperMoney