UMBRELLA BRANDING

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This again is of the type ‘One brand all products’. An umbrella brand is a parent brand that appears on a number of products that may each have separate brand images. Firms have a short-run incentive to reduce quality and save costs, as consumers can only observe quality ex post.

 

E.g. Phillips has a whole range of home appliances under the brand name Phillips. Like the mixers, irons, televisions, etc.

 

Umbrella branding scored well on the dimension of economics. Investing in a single brand is less costly than trying to build a number of brands. By leveraging a common name across a variety of products, the brand distributes its investment. Hence umbrella branding works out to be an economical strategy. Using an umbrella brand to enter into new markets (e.g., Tata making a foray into the automobile car market) allows considerable savings. The brand bestows the new product advantages of brand awareness, associations and instant goodwill.

 

One first explanation for brand extensions is that umbrella branding is a form of economies of scope, as it economizes on the costs of creating a new brand. Brands have an intrinsic value (status or otherwise) and are therefore like a “public good” in the sense that the more products are sold under the same brand the greater the total value created. A different perspective on brand extensions is that, in a world where consumers are uncertain about product characteristics (due to horizontal or vertical differentiation), brands may play an informational role.  Umbrella branding may reduce uncertainty about a new product’s attributes, a fact that increases value if consumers are risk averse. Considering these factors it can be said that umbrella branding is a superior strategy when there is a significant overlap between the set of buyers of each of the firm’s products. This result extends the well-known notion that brand extensions and umbrella branding are only successful if there is a good fit between the different products under the same umbrella.

 

The main danger associated with umbrella branding is that since many products share the common name, a debacle in one product category may influence the products because of shared identity.

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