Thanks to an expanding line of products and services, either through natural development or through mergers and acquisitions, your company may have several different brands, each with its own identity. This can in turn confuse your customers and even lead to a lack of trust if the association between your different brands isn’t immediately clear.
Enter brand architecture.
Brand architecture is the way you structure individual brands in relation to the parent brand in your organization. It is an important brand-building exercise that determines how your audience relates to your product portfolio. It also makes the marketing department’s life easier by giving them a roadmap on how different brands need to be marketed under the same umbrella.
In this article, we’re going to look at brand architecture and how it’s used successfully by top brands.
Why you need a proper brand architecture
Amongst other things, a solid brand architecture can:
- Give your customers clarity: They will no longer be confused by the credibility of your brand because they know exactly which parent it's associated with.
- Ensure brand consistency: If your expanding product portfolio is thanks to acquisitions, a brand architecture can help ensure consistency and cohesion across the entire umbrella of brands.
- Increase cross-selling: By clearly establishing how different brand entities are related to one another in your company, cross-selling different products becomes much easier.
Types of brand architecture
There are 4 main types of brand architecture followed by global brands with large product portfolios.
House of brands
In this type of architecture, the parent brand is separate from its brand extensions.
This way, multiple — and sometimes, competing — brands can be housed under the same parent brand. Each brand including the parent is responsible for its own brand equity and each extension is separate from the other.
An example of a house of brands would be Unilever.
Other examples include Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, General Motors, and Volkswagen.
In an endorsed brand architecture, each brand extension has its own identity. However, unlike the house of brands architecture, an endorsed brand involves extensions that are also associated with the parent brand. This way, the sub-brands receive the same credibility and trust as the parent brand.
Kellogg’s is a great example of an endorsed brand. Products like Eggo and Corn Flakes are packaged under and endorsed by the parent brand, but have their own identity.
In the sub brand architecture, the brand extensions are associated with the parent brand when it comes to values and messaging, but they still have their own unique qualities and strong presence.
Bud Light is a splendid example of a sub brand. A sub brand of parent Budweiser, Bud Light has its own brand equity, branding, and colors.
In this type of architecture, the brand extensions are always tied back to the parent brand through a version of the same name. This way, the extensions enjoy the same level of credibility as the parent brand.
FedEx, for instance, employs the branded house architecture. Each brand under FedEx offers a complementary service to the parent brand and helps build equity for FedEx.
Creating a logical brand architecture is a crucial part of brand management that will subsequently simplify marketing and help you deliver a great customer experience. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to settling on a brand architecture. Research your audience, observe the market, and craft a strategy and direction that makes the most sense for your brand, its packaging, and customers.
Good luck with building your brand architecture strategy!