Having more than one brand can be incredibly useful for businesses when the circumstances are right. Many large global brands have a full portfolio of brands that are usually part of the same 'family' – ie. there is a distinct common thread that ties them together.

Microsoft's product brands link back to the parent brand through use of colour

Microsoft's product brands link back to the parent brand through use of colour

Oracle has a range of distinct brands that tie together nicely

Oracle has a range of distinct brands that tie together nicely

Best Western uses sub brands to define their price points

Best Western uses sub brands to define their price points

Google's portfolio of brands are effective marques yet still feel like part of the same (Alphabet) family

Google's portfolio of brands are effective marques yet still feel like part of the same (Alphabet) family

How B2B SMEs can benefit from this brand strategy:

Assess the risks first

What could possibly go wrong? Think carefully about your existing brand and what it means to your audiences and stakeholders. It is vital that a sub or associated brand does not cause confusion with the original brand. A simple mistake I have come across in the past is when companies simply replicate their existing logo and change the text. This is damaging to your brand as it dilutes its value and bewilders the market which could affect your bottom line.

Have a clear strategy

Take the time to properly review why you need this extra brand and what you hope to achieve from creating it. Be clear that it needs to sit alongside or beneath your original brand so it might be useful to sketch out a brand hierarchy/relationship diagram. Will you need more brands in the future? If so, it is worth spending some time to think about the brand components sooner rather than later to avoid any dead-ends in the future.

Think laterally

Even if you don't need a sub-brand to take to market, it can be very useful to have one for internal use, eg. staff training or rewards scheme. This way, you are delivering your brand to the important people inside your business – but in a more interesting way that is more friendly. You could create a brand that supports, inspires and informs your potential customers on an important issue – that ultimately leads them back to the commercial side.

Two examples from our portfolio:

Two companion brands for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. 
You can read more about this work here

Parent and brand name for Aguais And Associates
You can read more about this project here