When all services and product offers of a company are gathered and centrally managed under one brand, as is the case with Siemens, General Electric, IKEA, Allianz, Phoenix Contact, Hoval, or Harley Davidson, we refer to that brand as an umbrella brand.
An umbrella brand is a brand architecture concept. A brand architecture defines the relationships among several brands within one organization and prevents the brands from hampering one another. It ensures that performances which fit together due to their credibility are managed jointly under one brand.
The second business relevant dimension is the company's performance: From a sales perspective, it may make sense to sell this performance under different brands if it increases the chance of having more "shelf space" at the PoS or of achieving higher market penetration. The BrandTrust portfolio system shows the various strategic possibilities between the two poles umbrella brand strategy and single brand strategy in a 3 x 3 matrix.
Often, and particularly in corporations with many different single brands, the umbrella brand is put on a level with the corporate brand to represent the basic values and principles of the corporation. This is necessary to provide all brands with a formal framework and also to give employees some orientation. Frequently, an umbrella brand in this function also takes on the role of employer brand. Some examples are Unilever, Nestlé, Ferrero, or BASF.