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What Is Brand Architecture? [With Examples]

What Is Brand Architecture_ [With Examples]

What makes some businesses stand out from the rest? They have created a brand easily identifiable, and known by everyone. There is a reason why users associate sneakers with Nike, smartphones with Apple, hamburgers with McDonald’s, and so on.

Of course, creating a brand is a long process with many important aspects. When a company grows, expands its products/services, and makes sub-brands, it can be easy to get lost in the information and forget what your brand is all about.

This is where brand architecture comes into play. Let’s get more familiar with the term, how it can help your business, and when you should use it.

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What Is Brand Architecture?

Simply put, brand architecture is the organizational hierarchy of a company’s brands, sub-brands, products, and services. It is a structured system of names, symbols, colors, and visual vocabulary that bring clarity to the portfolio of a brand.

Effective brand architecture helps customers better understand the relationship between a company’s many products and/or services. It also influences marketing strategy, communication activities, and overall positioning within the marketplace.

Furthermore, establishing a clear brand architecture allows businesses to better use their brand value, differentiate themselves from competitors, and engage with their target audience.

Let us take a look at the Coca-Cola company as a brand architecture example. They have many products, including Sprite, Fanta, Coca-Cola, and Schweppes. There is one common thing between all of them though – they are all beverages, however, they must all have their voices as well.

From a marketing perspective, each of them must receive equal brand exposure so that one does not outperform or underperform, compared to the others. More about the different types of brand architecture in a little bit.

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Why Is Brand Architecture Important?

Without brand architecture, businesses would struggle to establish a strong and identifiable brand across all touchpoints.

It also contributes to the creation of a clear hierarchy and structure within the brand portfolio, as well as consistency in messaging and visual aspects.

By outlining the relationship between multiple sub-brands, products, and services under the overall brand umbrella, brand architecture assists consumers in understanding the company’s offerings and values. This clarity improves brand awareness, trust, and loyalty among customers.

Essentially, a well-thought-out brand architectural approach allows businesses to better manage their resources by streamlining marketing activities, enhancing product positioning, and facilitating expansion into new markets or categories.

Think of brand architecture as the blueprint that matches company aims with customer perceptions, resulting in long-term success and sustained growth for companies.

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Types of Brand Architecture

Types of Brand Architecture

  1. Endorsed Brands
  2. Branded House
  3. A House of Brands

1. Endorsed Brands

This brand architecture model involves the parent or umbrella brand endorsing other brands that are lower in the hierarchy.

Their brand identity gives the recommended brands legitimacy and authority, implying that the other companies are of comparable quality. All of the brands will most likely be in the same niche, but with distinct audiences, services, and identities.

Coca-Cola, for example, is the parent brand of both Fanta, and Sprite, which allows them to simultaneously have their unique identity, and benefit from the reputation of the main brand.

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2. Branded House

In this brand architecture type, all brands in the portfolio share the main brand’s values as well as their names. It is also possible that the sub-brands do not operate separately.

This style ensures that all brands inside the house have a unified appearance and feel, as well as consistent marketing messaging.

FedEx is an excellent example of a branded house, as each sector of the organization is inextricably linked to the others as well as the main brand. FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, and FedEx Office all use the same brand name but do quite different things.

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3. A House of Brands

In a house of brands, multiple brands are independent of each other, working in different industries, with audiences, products, and identities that vary.

For instance, Procter & Gamble operates a diverse portfolio of distinct brands, including Gillette, Duracell, and Tide. Each of them has its own unique identity and appeals to specific target audiences.

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How to Develop Brand Architecture

There are three key components of brand architecture: research, strategy, and application.

1. Research

It is essential to conduct research, acquire the necessary information, and structure your brands in a way that makes sense for your company, customers, and industry.

Naturally, the more data you can obtain, the better, but figuring out two pieces of information is extra important.

First is a brand audit, meaning brand loyalty, brand awareness, brand perception, brand equity, brand assets, and brand portfolio.

The second is market research, or buyer personas, market segmentation, pricing, customer satisfaction, and competitive analysis.

2. Strategy

After you have gathered the necessary information, it is time to build your brand. If you’re redesigning an existing configuration, this step may require difficult decisions on whether to get rid of or sell companies that don’t fit into your ideal architecture.

If you’re starting from scratch, you must select how closely you want your current (or future) sub-brands to be linked to the main brand.

It is a good idea to test out different types of branding architecture by making a list with potential pros and cons. This way, you could find out that a branded house would not be ideal for you, as you have brands that are quite unique, and cannot be unified under the main brand.

Don’t forget to consider your available resources (employees, budget, time). Some approaches take more time and work than others, so you want to choose a brand architecture that works for you now, and for the future.

3. Application

Brand architecture is an ongoing process. As your company expands, your brand architecture must evolve to accommodate any new offers or brands, whether they are the result of a new product launch or an acquisition.

Make sure your entire team understands their role and that of the relationships between the master brand, sub-brands, and offerings, as well as any connections between sub-brands.

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Final Words

Congratulations, you have reached the end of this article! Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what brand architecture is, the main types, and how to develop one yourself.

To summarize, brand architecture is a way of organizing the brands, sub-brands, products, and services of a company. The goal is to establish a strong and consistent brand identity across all channels.

Keep in mind that DevriX is always here to help, in case you need any assistance with your digital marketing.