What is Brand Architecture?
“Brand architecture” is the framework that details how all brands and business divisions under a corporate umbrella interact with each other. A well-defined brand architecture sets a strategic direction that helps your teams run efficiently and effectively, while a disorganized architecture creates unclear brand perceptions among your internal teams and customer base. Check out the four common brand architecture frameworks below to see which is the best fit for your organization:
Brand Architecture Types:
House of Brands
- All brands stand alone from the corporate parent brand. They have their own audiences, websites, social media accounts, paid search campaigns, and informational assets.
- Example: Dove (personal care products, appeals to women), Lipton (beverages), and Axe (personal care products, appeals to men) are standalone brands that fall under the Unilever parent company.
- This approach is recommended if each brand appeals to a different niche market. The House of Brands approach is not recommended if the company (1) wants to strengthen the brand equity of the parent brand, or (2) has limited resources to devote to the website, social media, PPC maintenance, and informational asset development for several stand-alone brands.
- The corporate parent brand acts as the main “brand,” and the brands that fall under the parent’s umbrella act as the product and service offering. Each “product” appeals to the same or similar audiences, and are generally related to each other.
- Example: Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, and YouTube are “products” that fall under the Google brand umbrella.
- Similar to the sub-brand approach, the Branded House is recommended if the parent brand can strengthen the brand equity of each sub-brand, and if the company has limited
- resources and needs to streamline the website, social media, PPC, and asset content creation. This approach is not recommended if too many brands fall under the corporate parent brand, as this could muddle customer perception of all brands.
- All brands are backed by the parent company but don’t rely as heavily on the parent’s name as a sub-brand would. The endorsed brand typically features a unique brand name and logo but includes a tagline such as “By [Company]” or “A [Company] Brand” or the parent’s name in the logo.
- Example: TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Courtyard brands fall under Marriott. The logos for each company feature unique color schemes and icons, but are all the same general shape and feature the word “Marriott” directly underneath the endorsed brand’s name in the logo.
- This approach is recommended if the endorsed brands are new to the industry or trying to quickly capture market share, and need the parent’s name in order to gain credibility in the space. The endorsed brand approach is not recommended if each brand’s products fit in differing industries, as this can lead to brand dilution.
- All brands are connected to the corporate parent brand. The sub-brand’s name, logo, and/or physical assets contain those of the parent brand.
- Example: Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, and Armani Jeans are sub-brands of the parent company Armani.
- This approach is recommended if the parent brand can strengthen the brand equity of each sub-brand, and if the company has limited resources and needs to streamline the website, social media, PPC, and asset content creation. The sub-brand approach is not recommended if (1) the parent brand has weaker brand equity than any of the sub-brands, (2) the product offering of the sub-brands appeals to the same audiences or fills the same customer need.
Why Is Brand Architecture Important?
By clearly delineating how brands should (or should not) relate to each other, your company can create products, messaging, and brand identities that appeal to the different target audiences of each individual brand. This ultimately leads to efficiently spent marketing budgets, strategic brand direction, and strong brand equity for your organization.