What are the benefits/disadvantages/difficulties of umbrella branding, i.e.,
"overarching brand used across multiple related products" (wiki )vs individual branding.
We are looking for a strategy for branding our web services that, at the moment, are targeted to at most 2 countries. However, we have not yet established any of our web services, and it wouldn't be a problem to place them under a single name:
My main concern is: Since we have only recently started, would a single "top-name" benefit us or do we risk a branding failure.
ABC Name - Maps
ABC Name - Yellow Pages
ABC Name - Eshops
Umbrella branding can be a great way to build on success. Starting out I'd go for independent branding.
That's a tricky one since umbrella branding you are thinking big (but can also flop big) and individual branding you are focusing narrow at the expense of possible expansion.
I tend to think it's a good idea to have an umbrella brand with sub-branding just because it allows some more flexibility in your product offerings. The classic examples are Google, Yahoo, Apple, etc.
An umbrella brand does take a little longer to develop/think about but it has the advantage of consistency on point products (e.g. Google Maps, Google Analytics, Yahoo Groups, Apple iPad, etc.).
The main disadvantage for umbrella branding is that they really need to be well thought out in order to work well.
If you go with umbrella then keep the names short. Did some marketing work for a company that wanted to use Company name - Product Name on everything to "build the brand". So we ended up with "Company name - product name - addon module name", "Company name - product name V2 - Network edition", "Company name - product name V2 - for Mac"
Brochures, trade show signs, web pages were a nightmare because you could never use just the product name.