Family Brand or Line Extension?

Family brand and line extension are two debated and controversial topics in marketing.

These issues are crucial for the companies for their strategic brand choice and for the development and positioning of their products on the market.

Deepen the concepts of family brand and line extension and clarify which marketing strategy is better to adopt to position and grow your brand is fundamental on the market today.


Is the line extension always wrong?

The answer is no.

Let’s see what is the extension line. For line extension we mean the commercial action that allows a company to extend, starting from its most successful product, the references on the market through the inclusion of some variants, such as new flavours and/or new ingredients.

The product range is increased, trying to satisfy new needs of the customers in the same product segment.

For family brand, instead, we mean the creation and the development of some sub-brands which all refer to the same umbrella brand.

This solution is especially used by big companies which market several products, even of different nature.

A real family of product is created. They can belong to different segment markets.

Every sub-brand has got its clear and distinctive positioning and it lives of its own on the market.

In a nutshell:

  • Line Extension: a range of products from the same segment market
  • Family Brand: creation of some sub-brands which live of their own, and they are enclosed under the same umbrella brand, in different segments market


Line Extension vs Brand Extension

In most cases line extension and brand extension are mixed together. Actually, the difference is well defined.

As we saw above the line extension happens when the range is extended in the same segment market, allowing the same brand (maintaining the same positioning) to extend its product portfolio.


If you are Colgate you can do this:


The brand extension happens when a company offers, with the same brand, a new product which belongs to a segment market completely different from the marketed one.

The brand extension, if is not correctly developed, could be a double-edged weapon for the brand.The brand positioning, indeed, explains how a brand is linked to a certain product category in the mind of the customer.Colgate in the past launched its line of frozen ready meals. The company has marketed the new products with Colgate brand, thinking to use the power of its brand in the sales not creating a specific brand in that segment market. The product was a catastrophic flop. This is the powerful of brand positioning and you can’t stop it.


If you are Colgate you cannot and you must not do this:


For everybody Colgate is synonymous of toothpaste and its positioning is: Colgate= Dental Protection and Prevention


Ferrero: how to conquer the market through the family brand

On the Italian market an example of virtuous company that has built its strength and its competitive advantage on the market through the creation of the family brand is Ferrero. Kinder line products is an example of how to develop and exploit the family brand to position your products and become a market leader.

Under the umbrella brand Kinder, indeed, Ferrero has created and developed a series of various sub-brands which belong to different segments market, branding every single item: from Kinder Sorpresa to Kinder Bueno, Kinder Cereali, Kinder Maxi, Kinder Brioss, Kinder Pinguì, Kinder Paradiso, etc, etc.


Ferrero has created a brand naming for every single product, has created a very strong, impactful and recognizable Kinder Corporate graphic livery, declining it on every single Sub-Brand.

This is a successful marketing strategy that allows to create and launch new products in different segment markets. In this way, therefore, the different Sub-Brands live of their own life referring to the Brand Corporate Kinder.


Do you need a Brand or a Sub-Brand for your company? Contact us! >>


To win the battle on the shelves focus in the winning weapon

Line extension, if it is correctly developed, could be a good thing or compromise to increase the sales trying to satisfy new customers’ needs.

It is necessary to pay attention because by extending too much the range there is the risk of losing control of the positioning acquired on the market.

Brand extension most of the the times, when it is wrong, it is because it confuses the consumer and it risks to question the identity and the perception that the brand has created until that moment in the mind of the customer.

Focus, therefore, becomes the winning weapon to position your brand and become a market leader. The development and the positioning of a Family Brand on the market is the best solution to create a brand.


If you want to understand how your company could develop a Family Brand on the market contact us for a free consulting.



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