Brand Architecture is how a single company structures its hierarchy of individual brands, subsidiary companies, products, or services under the main corporate umbrella or parent brand.
This strategy of organizing the relationships between sub-brands and products enables an organization to target many different customers by developing a variety of brands using different names, colors, imagery, logos, messaging, positioning and personalities.
Even though each sub brand or product may be very different, they will retain elements of the parent brand strategy.
Maintaining consistency in these elements is important to retain the focus and strength of the parent brand, which will help the entire business grow.
Effective brand architecture includes an integrated system of similar visual elements like logos, symbols, colors, and imagery as well as a common voice and messaging to build upon the brand equity already established with the consumer.
These similarities are important because they are the key to solidifying your brand in the customer’s mental organization and how they conceptualize your business and products to satisfy their needs.
The positive experiences and brand equity that a parent brand has established with the consumer will automatically transfer to all products and sub brands.
For example, If a customer has an existing relationship with a parent brand, they are much more likely to try one of its sub-brands.
There are a few different types of brand architecture to choose from.
The one that is best for you will be based on your specific business and the products or services you offer.
Take the time to evaluate which of the following brand architecture strategies is best to support future growth in your business.
The first brand architecture type is a Monolithic Brand Architecture
This is characterized by a strong, single master brand.
Customers make choices based on brand loyalty.
Examples of monolithic brands are:
- Google + Google Maps
- FedEx + FedEx Office
- Virgin + Virgin Mobile
- Apple + iMac
- Harley Davidson + Soft-Tail
The second brand architecture type is Endorsed Brand Architecture
This is characterized by marketing synergy between the product or sub brand and the parent.
The product or sub brand has a clearly defined market presence, and benefits from the association, endorsement, and visibility of the parent.
Examples of endorsed brands are:
- Residence Inn + Marriott
- iPad + Apple
- Polo + Ralph Lauren
- Oreo + Nabisco
- Honda + Accord
The third type of brand architecture type is a Pluralistic Brand Architecture
This structure is characterized by a series of well-known consumer brands.
The name of the parent may be either invisible or irrelevant to the consumer.
Examples of pluralistic brands are:
- Cadillac (General Motors)
- Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (Unilever)
- Kleenex (Kimberly Clark)
- Elmers (Newell Brands)
- Gerber (Nestle)
Now that we know what brand architecture is and the type that may be best for your business, here are 5 benefits to why you should implement a hierarchy of sub-brands or products within your organization.
Benefit Number 1: Brand Architecture Better Segments of Your Audience:
Structuring a proper architecture within your business and across all your brands or products will allow you to target their individual needs.
All of the products or brands within your organization may not be intended for the exact same demographic.
Therefore, creating a sub brand within your main parent brand strategy provides you the benefit of marketing each or your individual offerings differently to various audiences.
Benefit Number 2: Brand Architecture Reduces Your Marketing Costs:
Building a brand architecture will allow you to run campaigns more efficiently.
Plus, it creates opportunities to cross-promote between brands, making your marketing more effective.
Benefit Number 3: Brand Architecture Articulates Your Position and Your Message:
Developing structure to your organization is similar to performing a brand refresh because through the process you will gain more clarity into your brand.
As your business matures, a modular and intuitive brand architecture makes it easier to add brands, products, or services in the future.
Benefit Number 4: Brand Architecture Increases Customer Experience and Awareness:
Each of the sub brands or products will pull equity from the main parent brand, while providing the parent brand the power of diversification by highlighting the unique strengths of its distinct sub-brands.
Benefit Number 5: Brand Architecture Increases Brand Equity:
What all these benefits create is more brand equity for your business and a strategic competitive advantage over the competition.
Increasing your brand’s equity compounds your returns and solidifies your brand as the trusted authority.
So there you have it. You should now have a clear understanding of which type of brand architecture is best for the future grow and success of your business, and can begin to structure your hierarchy of sub brands and products within your organization.