The role of brand architecture has evolved over the years. In the past, brand architecture was primarily used to describe the different ways brands were organized within a company, but as the role of brands has changed, so too has the role of brand architecture. The main purpose now is to unify a brand and make it a more meaningful part of the consumer’s life.
This blog will look at the evolution of brand architecture, how it can be used to unite brands, and the importance of using brand architecture even at the early stages of developing a business.
What is brand architecture?
Brand architecture refers to the way a company builds its brand identity. The term was coined by marketing expert John Caples in his book Brand Architecture: How to Build Brands Through Identity (2001).
Brand Architecture is a system that organizes brands, products and services to help an audience access and relate to a brand
Branding is a powerful tool that companies use to create awareness and build their brands. In order to effectively communicate a message, businesses often rely on visual elements such as logos, fonts, colors, and other graphic design elements.
A brand architecture is a collection of these elements that form a cohesive whole. It helps companies develop a consistent look and feel across various platforms.
The goal of brand architecture is to establish a strong identity for a business. This includes everything from the logo to the color palette used throughout an organization.
How does it work?
Companies begin with a vision or mission statement. They then identify key stakeholders who will be involved in developing the brand’s identity. These people include designers, marketers, salespeople, and others.
Once they have identified all relevant parties, the team can begin brainstorming ideas. They may ask themselves questions like: “What do we want our brand to stand for?” and “Who are our target customers?”
Types of brand architecture
The branded house, the house of brands, sub brands and the endorsed brand are the four basic types of brand architecture models. Each choice has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
1. House of Brands
The house of brands is separated from brand extensions by a house of brands, which also detaches each extension. As a result, the master brand can have competing brands below it.
Proctor and Gamble is an example of a house of brands. P&G is the parent company for a slew of items. Each brand extension is distinct from the others; for example, you wouldn’t identify Vicks with P&G or Pantene. (Or perhaps you do?) P&G, like all other brands, is accountable for its own brand equity. No other brands would be affected if Bounce had a brand issue.
A house of brands could also be a hybrid, with one of the “sub-brands” also serving as the parent. Consider Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company’s name is clearly shared by Coke and Diet Coke (and Coke Zero, and so on). Sprite, Tab, and Fanta, as well as Dasani bottled water, do not. A closer examination of the package, similar to that of a P&G product, exposes the relationship. However, the next “Coca-Cola Lemon-Lime” can I see will be the first.
However, P&G is noted in the fine print on the back of your Crest Toothpaste or Pampers Diapers. However, how many people read the fine print?
Here are some other popular examples of a house of brands architecture according to Vital Design:
- Unilever. This company includes more than 400 brands such as Dove, Breyers, Hellman’s, Knorr, Lipton, Suave – and many more.
- Coca-Cola. In addition to soft drink options, this popular beverage company’s brands include Minute Maid, Dasani, Powerade, and Fuze Tea.
- The Kraft Heinz Company. Global brands include Velveeta, Jell-O, Grey Poupon, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer, and Maxwell House.
- General Motors. In addition to popular vehicle brands such as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac, GM brands include Cruise, a self-driving car service, and Onstar, a vehicle safety and security system.
- PepsiCo. This company makes more than just your favorite Pepsi products. Other brands include Tropicana, Aquafina, Lay’s, Doritos, Tostitos, Sabra, Quaker Oats, and Sun Chips.
- Newell Brands. You may not have heard of Newell Brands, but you’ve likely heard of at least a handful of the company’s 150 individual brands: Sharpie, Yankee Candle, Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee, and Rubbermaid.
2. Endorsed Brand or Hybrid Brand
An endorsed brand sits somewhere between the two previous brand architecture concepts. A parent brand, like a house of brands, forms an umbrella over a slew of other related brands, but the linked brands aren’t necessarily going to share a name with that parent. The parent brand, on the other hand, plays a considerably larger role in the lives of children in the endorsed brand model than it does in the house of brands.
An example of an endorsed brand is Marriott:
Marriott is an example of a hybrid brand structure, with certain brand extensions including the parent’s name and others not. This format allows for greater name and branding freedom.
While the majority of its brands are explicitly endorsed by Marriott, brands like Sheraton live under the parent in a ‘House of Brands’ category.
However, some customers may be unaware of the master brand’s relationship with businesses. he masters brand equity can be used, or each brand extension can develop its own independent strategy.
3. Branded House
A parent brand—usually one with some clout—runs the show in the branded house. All of the sub-brand’s report to the parent brand, and they usually have the same name as the parent brand, with a qualifier to indicate what each sub-brand performs.
FedEx is an example of the branded house brand architectural concept, with the master brand encompassing all of the company’s running firms and range of solutions.
This framework ensures a uniform experience, reduces misunderstanding, and increases company brand equity.
Other examples of branded house architecture include:
- Google. Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, Sheets, Hangouts — even though Google might not be in the name of all its subsets, it’s pretty well known that they’re associated with the parent company.
- Apple. Subset brands include Mac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, etc. but are all closely associated with the Apple brand.
Sub brands are associated with a parent brand and receive support and benefits from it. Sub brands share the same attributes, values, and message as the parent brand, but they also have their own distinct characteristics.
Apple, for example, has a wide range of technology offerings. Despite the fact that these products do not bear the Apple name, they are marketed as Apple and promote the parent company.
Apple is not a product in and of itself, but each sub brand capitalizes on Apple’s brand value by releasing a variety of items to appeal to a wide range of consumers.
Do Large or Small Businesses benefit from Brand Architecture?
It is a common misconception that brand architecture can only assist larger corporations. Brand architecture should be a component of your vision for where your company is headed, no matter how big or small it is.
Is it important for your two or three product lines to be tied to one another? Would acquiring a competitor or expanding into a new marketing field detract from the perceptions you already have? Is it possible for each brand to stand on its own, or would an endorsement from your ‘parent’ aid by carrying the weight of your committed customers?
Is it possible to have multiple brand architectures?
Though the above mentioned brand architectures are the most popular forms of structuring a brand, there are other concepts like the master brand and brand extension:
- A master brand is a high-level corporate brand that encompasses all branded products and services.
- A brand extension is a product or service introduced by a well-known brand name that falls into a different category than the brand’s other products or service
Now, the more architectures you add to your story, the more complicated it becomes. The real compass for deciding on brand architecture is threefold:
- What makes a firm or a product line authentic and aspirational?
- What does your audience find genuine and meaningful?
- What makes each competitive space unique?
While it’s typical to have two types of brand architecture — for example, Marriott – it’s uncommon to see a successful company use more than that. If you’re having trouble limiting yourself to two types of brand architecture, it’s time to take a look at your entire system. Dropping one could have the same effect as adding a third, while also simplifying your structure and storytelling.
Importance of Brand Architecture
1. A bold story will attract attention.
Every business has a story to tell, yet the most captivating components of that tale are commonly overlooked. Consolidating your brand allows you to explain why you formed your firm in the first place—what connects you, what unique talents you’ve developed, and why you got together in the first place. It will take research, synthesis, a communications plan, and creative execution to tell that narrative well.
2. Gain clarity in the marketplace
Instead of having a portfolio of companies that all appear and sound different, you may use a consistent visual and vocal identity to underline their link. Better yet, that clarity can boost your board of directors’, VCs’, and other stakeholders’ confidence.
3. Cross-selling to increase revenue
You can show the entire value of your bundled solutions—how they complement one other—when you effectively describe your story. This makes cross-selling between business units much easier.
4. Create a culture that is more open and accepting
A captivating unifying story can act as a rallying cry for your whole workforce, making everyone in different business divisions and locations feel like they’re fighting for the same cause. That’s why, while developing a new brand, it’s critical to arrange an internal launch to generate genuine buzz prior to the exterior launch.
Here are a few crucial points to remember
- Brand architecture, unlike legal or organizational architecture, is always focused on the outside world. What would be the most logical option for your customers? #Research can assist you in answering this question objectively.
- The bottom line is that clarity and messaging are critical. People will have a tougher difficulty understanding what your unique value proposition is if your architecture is unclear.
- Maintain a straightforward approach. Stick to one brand architecture per firm, but employ two MAX structures. When choosing an architecture, do a lot of study to completely understand the company’s offerings and strategy.
- The most important brand to develop over time is the dominant one. The creation of a core brand should be your top goal.
- New brands should not be created if an existing brand can be used.
- Marketing is about reaching out to as many people as possible through as many channels as possible, and removing friction between a customer and a purchase.
- The act of branding is to ensure that each company’s brand makes sense in relation to the others. While it may appear that marketing and branding are competing for the same aims, they actually complement each other:
Brand is the engine and marketing is the fuel that ignites it. Are you wondering which brand architecture is best for your company? How can we help you?
How to Consolidate Your Brand and Why?
Consolidating brands is not something that can be accomplished in a single day. It involves a long-term commitment that includes research, synthesis, strategy, and implementation. This may entail:
- Interviews with customers and prospects to learn what they value and how they see the market and your organization.
- A discovery session and internal interviews are used to determine what CEOs, subject matter experts, and other key stakeholders believe you should be saying.
- A communications audit to see how you’re communicating with the market right now.
- Conduct competitive research to learn about your competitors’ brand structures and communication methods.
- Creation of communications strategy, as well as internal and external brand launches
- The justification for enlisting the services of a third-party arbitrator
- A marketing firm can often provide significant value to a brand consolidation project. They can act as an unbiased observer who asks key questions and makes strategic recommendations without being swayed by office politics. Furthermore, your company doesn’t go through significant branding projects very often, whereas a branding firm works on multiple such projects each year, so they can bring a wealth of relevant knowledge.
Over the years, Ronel Agency has worked on a variety of branding projects in a wide range of industries. If you’re looking for expert brand architects, take a look at our branding services.
An expert partner can supply you with many brand architecture samples that have shown to be successful in your industry and niche. They may do the research to figure out which form of brand architecture is best for you and lead you in the correct direction. This way, regardless of how it’s structured, you can be rest assured that your brand—or brands—will be consistent.
Read Also: How To Build A Strong Brand Step By Step
Whether you’re a brand-new business looking to get started, or a well-established company wanting to take your brand to the next level, it’s important to understand why your brand architecture is so important. A great brand architecture can help you to build a strong, recognizable brand, attract new customers, and develop your company’s identity.
We hope that you were able to learn something new from this post! If you want to learn more about brand architecture, feel free to reach out to us.