By Fran Johnson
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Branding to span sectors

Some companies know that they will diversify before day one of trading - that the company will expand into different sectors, with the dream that the brand will someday become a household name.

Virgin is one of those companies, Easy group another.

Branding to span sectors, the Easy Jet approach.

Growth into different market sectors

Creating an identity that can grow into different market sectors is an interesting problem. Questions around market position (cheap and cheerful or high end) become even more important.

Easy group and Virgin have both taken the challenge in different directions (successfully or not!). Easy group have kept their brands consistent, along the ‘what you see is what you get’ lines. Whereas Virgin have developed their logo and morphed it into a number of different brands – some seem far removed from the main brand, others do not. We use the term ‘encompassing’ to describe this branding trend.

Branding to span sectors, the Virgin approach.

Establishing brand values that aren’t too product or service led becomes crucial at the start of the brand process for an encompassing brand. Branson would find the brand value ‘adventure’ to be a lot more flexible for his many ventures than the value ‘fast’.

Brands that are heavily steered by their founders personalities would do well to identify this fact at the earliest possible point!

This brand strategy doesn’t only affect companies who are heavily branded around their founder, but covers brands across the entire spectrum including those organisations that are exclusively audience focussed.

Branding to span sectors - Tesco
Branding to span sectors - foiled Tesco Finest logo
Branding to span sectors - Tesco value tins

Supermarkets – who need to communicate clearly to their chosen demographic – also need to be careful with brand positioning when numerous sub brands are involved. M&S can attach their name to a bank, whereas Iceland would have less success.

Tesco’s main sub brands include Tesco Value and Tesco Finest have ensured success by following two simple rules:

Brand recognition

Plastering the Tesco brand on everything available to them so that the logo becomes instantly recognisable.


Taking a flexible approach with the design elements – including the logo – so that the sub brands can establish their own individual personalities.

This encompassing approach to branding can be successful if the company values diversity or is founder-led. If the brand occupies the luxury end of the market, or the product or service has an obvious unique selling point it may not be the best strategy.



Photographs from Design Week, the Telegraph and Shutterstock

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