What is Brand Architecture?
Brand architecture is the organizational structure of a company’s portfolio of brands, sub-brands, products, and/or services. A successful Brand Architecture enables consumers to form opinions and preferences for an entire family of brands by interacting or learning about only one brand in that family.
Brand architecture defines both the breadth and depth of your brand. Not only does it provide clarity around the organization of your offerings and how they are understood by consumers, but it also influences customer behavior by maximizing the transfer of brand equity between your brands and sub-brands.
If a customer has an existing relationship or positive association with a master brand, for example, they are much more likely to try one of its sub-brands.
Types of Brand Architecture
A Branded House is the most common form of brand architecture. Major brands like Google and Apple are exemplary models of this style, wherein both have smaller sub-brands, but all are marketed and operated under the umbrella of the parent brand. FedEx is another company that has done an excellent job with its branding and has certainly reaped the benefits of taking the Branded House approach. Each of these products is a sub-brand of the parent company, but they do not operate independently of one another, and they never overshadow the primary brand. Their brand lineup includes not only FedEx Express but FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Kinkos. Examples of branded houses include FedEx, Apple, Harley Davidson.
House of Brands
A House of Brands is the exact opposite of a Branded House. Whereas a Branded House maintains the focus on a single, well-known and consistent brand, a House of Brands is home to numerous brands, each independent of one another, and each with its own audience, marketing, look and feel. P&G and Unilever are great examples of a House of Brands. A House of Brands works well for many large consumer companies, but it’s not for every brand.
Examples of a house of brands include: Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, General Motors
Hybrid or Endorsing Brand
This is a more flexible way to package brands under a master brand. In an endorsed architecture, there is a parent brand and associated sibling brands, all of which have unique market presences. The sibling brands benefit from their association with, or endorsement from, the parent brand. The relationships between the sibling brands within an endorsed architecture are often mutually beneficial, as well, each benefitting from the strength of the other. Finally, a hybrid brand architecture comprises some combination of the above iterations. A hybrid model offers the flexibility of having multiple tiers of distinct hierarchies, including varying levels of market-facing brands subservient sub-brands.
Examples of an endorsed brand architecture include: Kellogg, Honda
Examples of a hybrid brand architecture include: Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Amazon