Secondary Brand Associations – Types and Examples

Brands, in order to reach a greater mass of people, maybe associated with other ‘brands’ or ‘entities’ that have their own knowledge structures in the minds of consumers.

This ancillary approach to strengthening brand equity is called “leveraging secondary brand associations for the brand”.

The brand here borrows some brand knowledge depending on the type of associations and responses, also possibly some brand equity from other brands.

One can leverage secondary brand associations by linking the brand to the following aspects;

  1. Countries or other geographic regions (by identifying the product’s origin)
  2. Channels of Distribution (by using the channel strategy)
  3. Co-branding (through Other Brands)
  4. Ingredient Branding
  5. Spokespersons (Celebrity Endorsement)
  6. Sporting, Cultural, or Other Events (through sponsorship)
  7. Other Third-Party Sources (through awards or reviews)

1. Country of Origin and Other Geographic Areas

Not only the firm that makes the product but also the country or geographic area from which it originates may also be linked to the brand and generate secondary associations.

Numerous countries are known for proficiency in certain product categories or for communicating a particular type of image.

Therefore, a consumer from anywhere across the globe may prefer to wear Italian suits, exercise in U.S. athletic shoes, listen to a Korean Kpop music player, drive a German car, or drink Irish Single Malts.

Country of Origin and Other Geographic Areas


  1. Cigars from Cuba called Montecristo.
  2. Single Malt Whiskey from Scotland called Glenlivet.
  3. Watches from Switzerland like Tag Heuer, Rolex, Rado, Omega.
  4. Automobile Engineering from Germany such as Volkswagen. (BMW, Audi, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati).

2. Channels of Distribution

Members involved in the channels of distribution straight affect the value of the brands they market.

Due to consumers being associated with the retail stores, the brand’s equity gets indirectly affected by an “image transfer”.

Consumers may perceive that very brand differently depending on whether it is sold in a prestigious and exclusive shop, or in setups that are designed for bargain shoppers that have more mass appeal.

The store image associations can be either positive or negative for a brand.

Channels of Distribution For example

Saks Fifth Avenue, an American chain of luxury department stores, also is ideal for luxury brands to sell their products.

3. Co-branding

When two or more existing brands come together to form a joint product or are marketed jointly in any fashion is called Co-branding.

Co-branding relies on leveraging secondary brand associations to build their equity in the market.

It may also be called ‘brand bundling’, ‘brand alliances’, ‘dual branding’, or ‘brand partnership’. It includes different types of collaborations, typically that involve two or more brands.

From a consumer’s point of view, co-branding means getting the benefits of two or more brands at the price of one.

Co-branding Example

  1. The objective of the alliance was to promote loyal members of Starbuck’s reward program to have access to barista-created Spotify playlists by using Starbuck’s mobile app.
  2. Spotify, an online streaming service users, get Starbucks rewards points which are used to buy free drinks through the music app.
  3. Starbucks ‘ partnership with Spotify looks at the untapped potential of merging food and beverage loyalty programs with music.

4. Ingredient Branding

Ingredient branding is similar to co-branding, where it creates brand value for materials and parts that are included in the making of other products.

For the original products whose brand value is not that powerful, ingredient brands can provide a point of differentiation and necessary flags of quality.

Ingredient Branding Examples

1. Meridian audio systems in Land Rover

Meridian audio systems in Land Rover – Meridian’s alliance with Land Rover marks the finest British luxury, refined capabilities and custom car audio.

The three Meridian audio systems highlight high-level technology to create an exquisite stereo or surround sound to enhance musical clarity and authenticity throughout the Land Rover cabin.

Some companies engage in creating their in-house ingredient brands.

2. AMG from Mercedes

AMG from Mercedes – AMG (Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach) is developed and offered by Mercedes-Benz. It is the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. It proves to have more power, better performance, and more features than a vehicle that is not AMG.

Nearly every modern Mercedes-Benz vehicle has an AMG® engine which makes the vehicles much more exclusive among the automobile enthusiasts around the world.

5. Celebrity Endorsement

The rationale of this strategy is that – a famous person can draw attention to a brand and shape its impression, based on the information the audience has about the celebrity.

The expectation is that the followers of that celebrity will eventually follow and accept the brand’s products or services which he/she endorses.

A celebrity endorser must have a high level of visibility and a rich set of potentially useful associations, judgments, and feelings.

Celebrity Endorsement Examples

1. Cristiano Ronaldo & Nike

Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of football, has a unique European and global influence that other athletes fail to compete against.

Signing a lifetime endorsement contract with Nike of about $1 billion makes him plausibly the richest of all Nike-sponsored athletes in the world.

2. Lebron James & Nike

Lebron James, one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the NBA and professional sport with his presence. Lebron signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike in 2015.

The contract promises to pay him over $1 billion by the time he’s 64. The unrivaled deal shows Lebron has matured to be much more than just a basketball player.

6. Sporting, Cultural, or Other Events

Events own their set of associations that possibly get linked to a sponsoring brand under some conditions.

Sponsored events add to the brand’s equity by becoming associated with the brand and elevating its brand awareness, uniting new associations, or gaining strength, likability, and uniqueness of present associations.

An event can transfer associations particularly in terms of credibility. A brand may appear more amiable or trustworthy by becoming linked to any event.

Sporting, Cultural, or Other Events Examples

1. Vivo and FIFA

Vivo, a Chinese smartphone brand was the official smartphone sponsor of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup. Super Bowl 2020 New sponsors

2. Footprint

Footprint, an Arizona-based company that designs and manufactures sustainable materials and believes it can be workable alternatives to plastics. Footprint has gotten the ideal platform to promote its message as the Super Bowl’s sustainability partner.

3. SaferWatch

SaferWatch, an app that ensures the safety of its users. The Super Bowl is an opportunity to celebrate but if there are any unpleasant incidents in the stands, fans will be able to log them via the SaferWatch app.

The free service facilitates citizens to report crimes, suspicious movement, and possible threats using smartphones.

7. Third-Party Sources

After looking at the number of ways, a brand can have secondary brand associations one another way by linking the brand to various third-party sources.

These third-party sources
can prove to be extremely credible ones.

As a result, marketers often feature them in advertising campaigns and selling efforts.

Third-Party Sources Examples

1. The Oscars

The Oscars are academy awards for artistic and technological merit in the film industry.

Given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) annually, the awards recognize international works of excellence in cinematic achievements, as assessed by the Academy’s voting membership.

2. Skytrax

Skytrax, known as Inflight Research Services is a UK-based agency which runs airline and airport review and ranking site.

Skytrax grants awards to airports and airlines annually that it deems noteworthy in its performance.

For instance, Qatar Airways won the title of the World’s Best Airline at the 2019 World Airline Awards, with Singapore Airlines ranking 2nd and ANA in 3rd place.