Sub-brands are a powerful tool in the brand strategist’s utility belt.
I recently wrote an article for BMB, Brand Marketing Blog, which talks about 17 exceptional examples of sub-brands.
My favourite sub-brand example:
The interesting thing about sub-brands is their effect. They change the perceptions and expectations of the parent brand. Used effectively, this can be advantageous to enter a new market where you have to talk to a different type of buyer than your parent brand usually talks too.
Lenovo is a large, multinational computer hardware manufacturer that services the business market. They are used to talking to the head of IT for large corporations and medium-sized businesses. Since IBM sold them the ThinkPad brand and business, they have become the defacto in supplying IT guys with the hardware they need to keep companies running.
But what if they sold gaming computers too? Well, they do.
Gamers are a totally different type of buyer than IT guys. Ironically, IT guys are probably gamers, but even the same person will be in a totally different mindset at work than at home playing games.
The Lenovo Legion sub-brand talks in a totally different way than the rest of Lenovo. Their colours are vibrant on a black background when the rest of Lenovo is corporate black, white, blue and grey. The language they use in their copy is way more aggressive for the Lenovo Legion sub-brand relative to the bland and corporate language elsewhere.
The Lenovo Legion sub-brand is interesting because it exercises all of the interesting things a sub-brand can do for a parent brand. Bottom line, it speaks to a totally different audience than the parent brand: Lenovo.