Is the company the only meaningful brand for services

Kaleel A. M. Rahman, Charles S. Areni, Peter McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Some researchers argue that the company is the brand for services, emphasising the pre-eminence of corporate brand image, whereas others advocate developing strong sub-brands for specific service offerings. This research explores the debate using the open-ended associations elicited by brands in two service categories. The results indicate that within a given industry, the parent company is sometimes the most prominent source of associations, but in other instances the sub-brand dominates. Moreover, in the latter case, the pre-eminence of the sub-brands often reflects specific marketing strategies to differentiate the service from competitive offerings. These results suggest that the failure to develop meaningful sub-brands for services often reflects missed opportunities at product differentiation, rather than any inherent characteristic of the service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Brand architecture
  • Brand associations
  • Brand attitudes
  • Corporate brands
  • Service brands
  • Sub-brands


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