What are the types of brand architecture?
Why do you need brand architecture?How to create a brand architecture?Brand Architecture Benefits
Companies develop brand architectures to sell different products or offer different services that need to be in some way structured.
Brand architecture simply brings order to chaos.
Brand architecture refers to the hierarchy of brands within a single company.
At some point can come to the conclusion that what you do is not just one company.\
And that you offer different products or services and they need special attention.
So how do you organize your offerings, divisions or products?
That’s what we call brand architecture - the interrelationship of the parent company, subsidiary companies, products, and services within one organization.
We can distinguish three different ways to organize brands within a company.
Types of brand architectures:
These are the three basic types and they each have different strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes companies use a combination of the above — Alphabet is an example of a hybrid architecture.
So in this article I will describe each type of brand architecture and give you some examples so that you can get a sense of how to use them to structure your organization.
Remember to start with developing your brand strategy first, which will allow you to make more meaningful decisions when it comes to your brand architecture.
Monolithic architecture (or branded house) is characterized by a strong, single master brand.
Brand extensions use the parent’s identity with descriptors.
Fedex is an example of a monolithic brand architecture.
In this type of brand architecture the master brand takes under control of the whole operation.
All brands bear the parent brand's name - it's always visible.
Benefits of using monolithic brand architecture:
This type of branding is also known as an umbrella or a corporate brand.
In this model the parent brand and all sub-brands are clearly from one organization.
Famous brands that use monolithic brand architecture:
The risk of alienating customers that have already made up their mind about a specific brand
Endorsed architecture is characterized by marketing synergy between the product or division, and the parent.
The product or division is endorsed by the parent company.
Apple is an example of an endorsed brand architecture.
This type of brand architecture simply contains independent brands which are endorsed by an organizational brand.
Benefits of using endorsed brand architecture:
The difference to monolithic branding is that endorsed branding will use a parent brand that can sometimes be hidden.
However, in general, we all know the master brand but it
Famous brands that use endorsed brand architecture:
The benefits are that the new brand is linked to the positive equity from the existing brand.
Pluralistic brand architecture (or house of brands) is characterized by a series of unrelated brands.
The name of the parent is invisible, new brands are developed.
This program doesn’t rely on the master brand at all, but instead each sub-brand gets its own image.
Procter & Gamble is an example of pluralistic brand architecture.
This type of brand architecture simply contains independent, unconnected brands.
Benefits of using pluralistic brand architecture:
A company that launches different brands in different segments usually needs to create separate brands in order to position well in different markets and to different customers.
Famous brands that use pluralistic brand architecture:
Did you know that the Volkswagen Group owns Audi, Bentley, Skoda, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Porsche and Ducati?
The hybrid brand architecture is a combination of two or more brand architectures.
Some sub-brands link to the master brand, but others remain separate.
Hybrid branding is typically used when a firm is often changing brand architectures, or acquiring existing brands through mergers or acquisitions.
Alphabet is an example of hybrid brand architecture.
Firms who need to preserve older product names and designs to keep customers happy often use a mixture of strategies.
Benefits of using hybrid brand architecture:
Famous brands that use hybrid brand architecture:
This approach is the most flexible and allows to avoid confusion, while paving the way for future offers.
Companies merge with others and acquire new companies and products — and as a result:
The branding, nomenclature, and marketing decisions become complex.
Decision makers examine marketing, cost, time, and legal implications.
The need for brand architecture is not limited to global best brands or for-profit companies.
Any company or institution that is growing needs to evaluate which brand architecture strategy will support future growth.
Deciding the right structure for your brand takes an extensive amount of research.
You must have an in-depth understanding of your positioning, offerings and brand strategy.
Here are the questions to ask before deciding on brand architecture:
The way to find out what would work best for your business is to conduct meticulous research.
Only then you'll be able to decide on how to leverage each of your brand divisions to benefit the whole company.
You might be thinking that your brand is too small to benefit from brand architecture.
Building a brand architecture isn't just for multinational corporations.
Even small brands can see measurable improvements in performance by better organizing their offerings.
7 Benefits of having a brand architecture:
There’s a lot of different ways to architect a brand and most large companies that sell multiple products and services use a mixture of strategies.
Expansions, acquisitions and mergers although good for the company in the long run, create a lot of clutter and confusion.
The only way to resolve that confusion is to:
Get a clear view and organize different subsections of your brand.
Remember that the idea isn’t just to come up with some clever brand names (like Apple) or use color for differentiation (like FedEx), but it’s to create clarity from chaos.
Finally, pay close attention to the details of your brand identity system: naming structure, colors, typography, and symbol placement should all align with your brand strategy.
This article was written based on the book "Designing Brand Identity" by Alina Wheeler.
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