When most companies think about branding, they think of design and perhaps content – but they don’t necessarily think about structure. However, for customers to easily understand and relate to your business and its products and services – which is vital to generate brand loyalty – there needs to be strong brand architecture.
There are five commonly used types of brand architecture among companies and having the right one can help to define your business more clearly, making it easier for consumers to engage with your business.
What are the five types of brand architecture?
Branded house architecture involves having a strong main brand and then all sub-brands also have the same name and branding – but their service descriptions vary, for example, Fed Ex Express, Fed Ex Freight. All Fed Ex sub brands use the main Fed Ex brand and logo but have a different description for the actual service offered. This creates a very strong master brand and makes all sub brands instantly recognisable.
A sub brand is connected with the parent brand but has a unique brand name, for example, the Apple brand has i-phone, i-mac and i-pad as sub brands to the main Apple brand. The Apple logo is used to connect the sub-brands but they have their own unique and recognised names.
This architecture involves connecting stand-alone individual product brands, with an endorser parent brand. For example, Marriott is an endorser brand for many independent hotels and pubs which are run as individual entities, retaining their original name with an added Marriott endorsement.
House of Brands
This is when a business has a number of sub-brands and they are all completely independent from each other, including in their sales and profits. An example of this would be the brand Procter & Gamble, which owns a broad range of sub-brands such as Pampers.
A hybrid brand architecture involves a combination of both House of Brands and Branded House within the same company and can become quite complicated – an example of a company which manages this well is Coca Cola.
As you can see from the above examples, there are large corporations using all of these different types of brand architecture successfully so it’s a case of choosing the right option for your particular business.
Having strong brand architecture means you can communicate more effectively with your customers – knowing which customers buy into which brands and sub-brands means you can create targeted marketing campaigns to meet their needs.
With the right brand architecture in place your business will also have room to grow and add in new products and services as it develops, through sub-brands which can show potential investors you are taking business growth seriously.
Good brand architecture works for your business in a number of ways including making it easier to run the company. It enables the business to keep up-to-date with the whole of the market and to maintain balance across the parent brand and the sub-brands. It’s also easier to work out positioning for new products with a solid existing architecture in place.
Good brand architecture makes it easy for existing customers to understand all of the offerings you have available. Cross-selling also becomes easier as people who have used one of your products or services as a sub-brand become far easier to convert than a brand new customer.
The right brand architecture also helps your business to stand out in the marketplace, with the strength of the parent brand helping to create maximum visibility for the sub-brands.
What if I get my brand architecture wrong?
On the other hand, poor brand architecture can actually damage a business as it will cause chaos and confusion both within the company and among consumers. If there are no clear guidelines for the parent brand and sub-brands, and how they connect, it will make marketing incredibly difficult and both sets of brands will be devalued.
Poor brand architecture will lead to confusion among consumers who are then likely to go elsewhere so leading to serious impact on sales and income, as well as a negative impact on the brand’s perception and reputation.
How do I create the right brand architecture?
The simplest way to ensure your brand architecture is effective is to work with a specialist brand agency like Frost Creative, and make use of the branding experts within it.
A brand agency will help to develop a brand strategy linked to business objectives and from that, develop appropriate brand architecture and all of the assets to take your brand forward successfully.
If you would like to talk to our experts about brand architecture then please do give us a call at Frost Creative today.