Family Branding - Definition, Overview and Examples

In this article, we provide a detailed explanation about the family branding marketing strategy along with the best known examples.

What is Family Branding?

Family branding is a marketing strategy that collectively promotes a family of products and services by focusing on promoting the parent brand name. It is also commonly referred to as Umbrella branding - implying that the parent brand name is the umbrella under which all branding initiatives are carried. 

This marketing strategy is primarily different from traditional marketing and branding exercises that promote one product at a time. This method is mostly used by brands that have positive brand equity that they can leverage to uplift the other brands as well. 

family branding

In a family branding strategy, similar products are banded together and a singular marketing strategy is implemented to promote these products. But as marketers implement the family branding strategy they are still free to pursue different branding strategies for individual products or product lines that promote them further.

Family branding is a very common strategy used by most companies with an established brand name. The essential element to this strategy is a successful parent brand name that sits at the base of all other branding initiatives. The familiarity and the customer's positive experience with the parent brand are used to uplift new, up-and-coming products to provide that initial booster. Here, marketers make use of both the sub-brand name of the new product and the parent name to effectively market the product. 

How does Family Branding work?

The basic principle of family or umbrella branding strategy is the concept of promoting an entire product line or multiple products under a single parent brand name. The purpose of using family branding is not only to leverage the parent brand name but also to create a uniform line of products that collectively add to the brand. This makes the overall brand and product easily identifiable and enhances their overall marketability.

Customers once familiarized themselves with a new product, immediately associate certain attributes not only to the product but by extension to the whole brand. There are a few customer decision-based theoretical concepts that explain why family branding works well as a branding strategy. 

1. Categorization theory 

The categorization theory states that consumers tend to categorize products and associate them with brands. Hence, extending their past experiences to all products associated with a particular brand. This is done primarily to surpass the initial confusion and doubt caused in deciding to purchase a new product. 

So customers use their history with the brand to make this choice. Both past experiences and brand equity goes into making this decision. 

2. Confirmation bias

The concept of confirmation bias states that statistically speaking, customers tend to see pieces of evidence that reinforce or confirm their current beliefs. After a customer builds a certain notion about a brand, the consumer will seek evidence to associate the same notions with all the branched-out products the brand releases. Hence reinforcing their initially formed beliefs.

So, once a positive parent brand name is established it tends to create net positive results owing to confirmation bias.

3. Schema congruit theory

This cognitive theory explains how humans process information by categorizing and evaluating based on past experiences. So consumers cognitively process information in present, the majority of their decision making is enabled by their past experiences. With new information, the perception might change but it is still heavily influenced by history. 

How to create a successful Family Brand?

There are a few key steps that can help new brands to create a strong family brand that they can leverage to promote new products. There are mainly 3 core steps to this process.

1. Establishing Core Values 

Any popular parent brand has a strong set of core values that customers associate it with. The core values essentially act as a foundation on which all the contemporary products are built. These values are non-compromisable and non-negotiable so customers can count on them. 

A company's core values help build its reputation in the marketplace. A strong set of core values ensures sustainability and creates a strong brand image.

2. Mission Statement

The mission statement of your company or organization helps consumers understand the overarching purpose for the existence of your brand. All organizational activities are consistent with the mission statement. It points to how your brand conducts itself in the marketplace. An impactful mission statement works as a core component in establishing a solid brand identity.

3. Creative Marketing 

Finally, a creative marketing strategy that leverages the base concepts of family branding can help paint the picture of a brand image that is consistent and insync with the companies core values and mission statement. 

Popular examples of Family Branding

As mentioned earlier, family branding is not a new concept or the latest buzzword in marketing. Many legacy brands have used this concept to create successful lines of products that customers swear by. Let’s explore some common examples of family branding in practice. 

1. Apple

Apple is known for creating the reliable, premium design, high-end electronic products. Consumers choose to buy Apple products for their quality. Over the years, Apple has created a range of different electronic products and services. All these products have enjoyed the reliable brand recognition of Apple, with consumers deeming them as the best in their lane. Some of the popular Apple products are listed down below:

  1. Macintosh - This is the first successful mass-marketed personal computer developed by Apple
  2. iPhone - The line of iOS smartphones
  3. iPod - Portable music-player
  4. Apple Watch - Electronic smartwatches


2. Starbucks Corporation

The Starbucks Corporation is one of the most famous multinational coffeehouses and roastery. Although primarily known for serving good quality coffee, Starbucks also provides a host of different products and seasonal menu items that customers absolutely love. Some of the famous Starbucks offerings include Starbucks tea, instant coffee blends, Starbucks drink-ware like coffee mugs and tumblers, among others.  

3. Proctor and Gamble

Proctor and Gamble, more commonly known as P&G is a multinational corporation providing a host of consumer-oriented products. P&G serves as a great example of Umbrella branding, as most of their products are not as closely related as our previous examples. 

P&G products range from hair care brands like Pantene, dental-care products like Oral-B, men's-care products like Gillette, among other popular products. 

Difference between Family branding and Mixed Branding Strategy

Another branding strategy that is very commonly used is Mixed branding strategy, which is closely related to the family branding strategy. Mixed branding strategy refers to a strategy where companies manufacture similar products targeting different segments of consumers. 

Mixed branding strategy is different from family branding, in the sense that in family branding companies don't deliberately manufacture similar products but instead leverage their parent company's identity to market its varied products effectively. 


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