Brand architecture is an important brand strategy tool in place at large corporations where the relationship between the parent and child brands need to be established properly. A branding agency not only decides the brand essence and positions the master brand but also brings in order to the house. It encompasses setting up the brand in relation to their various products, teams of brands, endorsed brands and sub-brands.
David Aaker, a branding legend, who has written more about brand architecture than anyone, differentiates between two types of brand structures- the branded house and the house of brands.
It is all about strategy. An entire line of products can be boosted by using the strength of the master brand. The individual brands here are more like the outlets for distributing the strength of the company at the head. Tata does just that. Coca-Cola also follows a branded house architecture as their master brand gets more prominence than the individual products in their family.
But there are architectures of companies like P&G which have a wide range of completely unrelated products, whereby the target audience and the marketing of an Old Spice would be completely different from that of Pampers, and infact conflicting. Each needs to maintain its individual essence and separate marketing strategies where the influence of one on another might even be damaging. Here the master brand's identity isn't revealed in the communication strategies of products belonging to the same family. There are innumerable brands also which belong to the same 'house of brands' but we do not know. This type of architecture is called 'house of brands' where products do not depend on the master brand for their individual identities. Individual brands speak for themselves without any aid from the master brand. The master brand though has a presence in the background that is prominent, with shareholders and investors thus knowing that these individual brands have a strong backing.
Endorsed and sub-brands are also another type of architecture where the corporate brand is included in creating the new brand and the master brand is also mentioned in the identity but the brand otherwise stands on its own as a separate entity. Nescafe by Nestle is an example of an endorsed brand. This provides a middle ground where a new brand derives the benefit of credibility from the parent, without being so tied up such that it can't speak for itself. It's like an ideal metaphor for a new age home, with a comfortable generation gap, which is respected by both parent and child without having to stay in a different home. In a branded house, vigilance might be heightened as children derive their entire identity solely from the parent and speak in their language, something that is consistently maintained throughout in the household. The house of brand, on the other hand, is one where all the children might not live in their parent's home, some children being completely different in character from their parent. Within the close relatives and near associates, it might be known that these different houses comprise one family in reality and hence the same values run through their veins, but to the larger world, this fact might not be communicated.
A structured and planned brand architecture paves the path for the success of the business. As an agency crafting your brand strategy ABND understands the importance of re-ordering the house in a way such that the brand and the business acquires a certain name and credibility in the market. The performance of your brand in the market is detrimental to the architecture that it has chosen to build upon. It is the way ahead to strengthen your brand portfolio. Planning the hierarchy within one's own organization is a decision worth reckoning. For instance, when deciding to be endorsed or freestanding in terms of structure, it is still important to align one's interests with the master brand.
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