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Companies that produce a variety of different products or product lines often market those products together by including all of them in a brand family. A brand family generally includes products and services that are somehow connected, such as different models of cars or various types of gardening equipment. In some instances, brand products only work when used in conjunction with other products from within the same brand family, which means that businesses can easily cross-sell products to existing customers.
Many companies have just one brand family, and all of the firm's products form part of the brand. Major multinational companies usually have multiple brands, and some use different brands in different nations. Companies conduct consumer research prior to launching brands and use that data to create brand images that will appeal to the demographic groups that the firm's products are aimed at. Consequently, firms often use different brands in different geographic regions because language and cultural differences mean that people of different cultures are not always equally receptive to certain types of brand marketing.
Brand families are usually easily identifiable because firms market brands through the use of logos and slogans. The logo may appear somewhere on all of the firm's products, and is also used in marketing materials and advertisements. Consumers quickly recognize a heavily advertised firm's products simply by seeing the brand's family logo. Clients who have had positive experiences with the company's other products are more likely to buy more products from the brand family than people who have yet to buy the brand.
Some companies that produce only one type of product, such as automobiles, may create several different families of brands so as to appeal to consumers with different levels of socioeconomic status. A company may target one brand at affluent consumers and promote the brand using terms such as luxury or refined, while brands aimed at less affluent people may use marketing that emphasizes value and convenience. Over time, a firm may change the way that it markets a particular brand in order to attract more clients if its original client base begins to decrease.
When a company's reputation suffers as a result of negative publicity surrounding one of its products, consumers may associate other products within the same family with the product that received the bad press. This can result in a decline in sales, in which case the company may opt to re-brand its other products so as to isolate the product that caused the issue. Therefore, family branding can both help and harm a firm.