Brand architecture is an integral part of a brand portfolio strategy. Whether it is a branded house, a house of brands, or a hybrid approach, the structure must fit the business model and be clearly understood by the target market. Brands that don’t leverage time-tested brand architecture models need help to hold a distinct position in the minds of their audiences.
Many businesses have a brand umbrella that presents a suite of products or services to consumers. As a company grows, the suite expands and reaches increasingly more specified segments of its target audience. However, continuing the same structure may result in untailored messaging and overlooked audiences. A robust brand architecture framework allows sub-brands to emerge that meet these emerging market segments and speak more directly to them while fostering growth and generating brand equity independent of the parent company’s core brand.
Branded house models also work for acquired brands with a legacy best served by their distinct identity and market presence. The exemplary architecture model can also help reduce brand damage incurred by individual brands and increase revenue by leveraging cross-selling opportunities. It, in turn, increases overall company value. The branded house architecture model also helps employees feel more included in the company’s mission, thus improving internal brand loyalty.
Brand architecture is the skeletal system that determines how your brand’s identities are organized, related, and projected. It enables brands to achieve the strategic market presence, relevance, and potency that customers desire. But as businesses grow, acquire other companies, or launch new products and services, the cohesive brand that started it all may become a jumble of brands, sub-brands, and product line extensions. Time-tested brand architecture models promote clarity both in the marketplace and internally. The choice of which brand approach to implement, whether a branded house, a house of brands, or an endorsed model, will play a critical role in your organization’s success. For example, if your business adopts an approved brand architecture, the resulting portfolio of brands will have distinct identities and target different market segments. However, they will all benefit from the endorsement and credibility that a master brand provides. It is a great model for businesses that want to maintain the flexibility of individual brand identities while establishing a clear hierarchy and connection between the brands in their portfolio.
Developing and documenting brand architecture is essential to every company’s branding process. It provides a framework for establishing and organizing a portfolio’s products, services, and offerings to make them clear to the market. It allows brands to serve a specific market niche, creating more intimate customer relationships and building brand equity. It also helps companies increase revenue through cross-selling opportunities.
There are several different brand architecture models, with each offering other benefits. The Branded House model, for example, is ideal for companies with a strong master brand that wants to build additional equity through descriptive sub-brands. The endorsed brands model is similar, but in this case, the master brand lends its credibility and trustworthiness to its offspring as if it were a powerful endorsement from a trusted source. A hybrid model is also available, accommodating elements of both the Branded House and House of Brands.
An organizational strategy known as “brand architecture” aids in managing and visualizing brand connections. It ensures that each brand has its distinct space, market standing, and equity contribution without dilution. Effective brand architectures also promote clarity for both the marketplace and internally. They provide clear naming structures and visual identity systems that help define the hierarchy of a company’s brands easily for consumers and internal stakeholders. They also offer a solid foundation for guiding marketing strategies and providing validation to brand extensions.
A brand architecture audit is necessary before embarking on any form of brand architecture development work, especially for organizations that have recently completed acquisitions, seen many product or line extensions, or have a complex structure. Their branded house strategy has allowed them to achieve global success across multiple product lines and categories while ensuring each product carries the same core values.