A brand cannot be all things to all people. By definition, no one brand is going to appeal to all customers. On the contrary, branding is based on the concept of singularity — targeting individuals in a personal manner— and therefore precludes the concept of universal appeal. This is why many brands broaden and widen their appeal by creating tertiary brands or line extenders.
Although most industries and products or services can benefit from a brand, not every product needs its own stand-alone brand. Brands can be separated into three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary.
• Primary Brands – This is a company’s core brand or umbrella brand. Primary brands typically garner a large percentage of a company’s revenue potential and therefore need to be given priority and have a sufficient amount of advertising in order to root them firmly.
• Secondary Brands – These are often line extenders, or “flankers,” for a core brand. Secondary brands don’t need to have their own name; usually a modifier to the brand name will suffice and strengthen the core brand. Take, for instance, a toothbrush called the Crest Deep Sweep. Crest is the core brand, and Deep Sweep is the secondary brand. Line extenders are characterized by having a descriptive term that allows the base brand to be the true selling proposition and the flanker to really designate to the audience what that particular product’s key feature or benefits are.
• Tertiary brands – These brands typically have insignificant revenue potentials or expectations, but they contribute to the company’s overall image in some way. Therefore, they sometimes don’t sport registered brand names, but just descriptors. For example, a garbage bag manufacturer may make a generic-brand bag in addition to its flagship brand. The generic line may bring in minimal revenue for the company, but it fills a need within a niche market so the company continues to manufacture it under the unregistered name Household Trash Bags. Therefore, the generic line is considered a tertiary brand for this company.