Apple’s newest device will be offered in three models: Watch Sport, Watch, and Watch Edition. The significance of those names—and the strategies behind other sub-branding programs—is the subject of my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “The Cues and Clues of Sub-Brands, from Cabin Class to Apple Watch.”
Access is restricted to subscribers. Here’s an excerpt:
Marking class distinction was the goal of one of the earliest sub-branding efforts. In the 19th century, writes John Maxtone-Graham in Liners to the Sun, trans-Atlantic steamships "separated and identified" passengers according to type of accommodation. Those who could afford individual cabins were booked in Cabin class; those who couldn't were berthed below, in dormitories often situated near the steering equipment — hence "Steerage."
When larger liners came along toward the end of the century, their owners saw a business opportunity in additional levels of choice. "Henceforth," writes Maxtone-Graham, "Cabin passengers were economically subdivided. First Cabin, or First Class, encompassed the most lavish and expensive staterooms on board. Second Cabin — hence Second Class — occupied small quarters at the after end of the main bunkhouse and below."
Read the rest of the column to learn how software manufacturers, automakers, and fashion and beauty brands handle sub-branding.