There are several methods a software / technology business can use to build a clear visual image around a product or packaged service. One is to consider initially positioning the product around a “shelter” or an “umbrella.”
A “shelter” is a product or concept that is already clearly established in the mind of the buyer. This positioning tactic works best when the product is clearly related to the shelter. For example, as Web technology is integrated into existing applications, products are increasingly described as “Web-enabled” word processors, spreadsheets, databases, etc.
It is not necessary to spend much time conceptualizing these products —time and the market have already done it.
Umbrella branding is a marketing practice wherein the parent brand name is used across a range of software or technology products. Such a use assumes that consumers’ familiarity and positive associations with the parent brand and its credibility will produce a “halo effect” that can benefit or help kick-start variants. There is also, often an expectation that advertising for one variant may benefit the range.
Note: Using umbrella branding merely to save cost can result in confused marketing and wasted dollars. In order for umbrella branding to produce a valuable effect, it needs to be deliberately planned and executed.
In simple words – umbrella branding strategy provides an initial mental reference point to allow selling many related software products under a single brand name rather than individual product branding (product branding uses different brand names for different products). Example: Google uses “Google Analytics”” and “Google Apps” for its cloud software offerings. It can be said Apple uses the ‘I’ umbrella for ipod, ipad and iphone products.
It may not always be feasible, or desirable, to use a shelter or an umbrella to help position a product. It may not always be as black and white because a product may not fit an existing category, or there may be marketing baggage associated with that category you won’t wish to carry.
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