In this post our creative director will answer a client’s question about their company brands.  Often there is a need for differentiation between product lines or divisions which ends up causing confusion.

How can I best market multiple brands under one company name?

Having multiple brands that fall under one company name can be confusing to customers but if presented in a cohesive manner it can benefit all the brands. Using a masterbrand is a great way to unify your portfolio of brands and utilize the good reputation you have built for any of those sub-brands to benefit the masterbrand as a whole.

When it comes to design for the logos or website, it is important to think of how to let the user know that your multiple brands under one company name are actually a family of brands, united in its goals, ethics and vision.

FedEx does this very clearly with their brands, they have the one main company logo and then the different services are clearly highlighted below. This is a clear and easy way to let your customers know that they can expect the same high standards across the board, within this brand family.

Another good example is the way that Caterpillar Inc. deals with their multiple brands under one company name.  The Cat® is a masterbrand that is the on all the flagship products and services, tying them all together.

Keeping it all connected

Let’s look at a hypothetical example  – you own three companies, one that specializes in painting supplies, one that that sells decking materials and another company that sells landscaping materials. Your vision is to create web presence for all of these brands but you are not sure how to approach it so that you can make users aware of all your services

Two options include:

  1. Create one website that has sections that cover each of the different company, ie: www.mysite.com/paint  www.mysite.com/decking
    • This works great for masterbrands that have multiple companies but don’t need to go into great detail or have separate functionality for each of them. Having one URL makes it easy to cover all the services you offer, even if they are separate companies and also allows you to maximize on your SEO for one main site. or;
  2. Create three different websites that have their own URL, ie: www.mysite-paint.com   www.mysite-decking.com
    • This is a great option if you have a lot of content to cover for each company and if they have complex functionality requirements like eCommerce, scheduling or member services.

Which ever path you choose, you should consider a way to make the design of each of the sections or sites similar in some way so as to establishing brand cohesiveness. If you set up your sites with different layouts, fonts and logos it can be hard for your users to tell why you have sent them to a completely different site when clicking on one of your other brands. They may wonder why or how the brands are related therefore losing any of the brand recognition and loyalty you could be cashing in on by nurturing a similar aesthetic and masterbrand concept.

About the Author:

I’m, Jannah Lyon, the creative director and graphic designer for Placemaking Group with a focus on Website and Interactive Design.  I keep my pulse on all things design that relates to small business marketing.

For more design ideas and a sample of projects I’ve completed visit our portfolio page, or connect with me on LinkedIn.