Brand Architecture Strategy and Why Your Business Needs It
If your brand has a plethora of products and services in the market, you might end up confusing your consumer in terms of decision-making. There are several companies today that have acquired other brands under its parent name, with each brand having its own positioning and appeal to the consumers. A confused consumer will hinder your sales drastically. In order to keep things simple and integrate a strategy that clearly defines the relational and strategic structure for all the brands under one name and relate to the customer’s preference, awareness and the brand’s influence, marketers have started optimizing Brand Architecture Strategy.
What is Brand Architecture Strategy?
Brand Architecture is the strategic method of organizing all the sub-brands under a larger brand, or also called as the main brand. It shows the relation between them both and shows how a business organizes and manages its brands in the market. According to Wikipedia, “The brand architecture should define the different leagues of branding within the organization; how the corporate brand and sub-brands relate to and support each other; and how the sub-brands reflect or reinforce the core purpose of the corporate brand to which they belong.” It helps you as a corporate brand to understand whether you want to create separate identities for every sub-brand, or define a structured relationship between all of them, by specifying the roles of the brands and their respective nature.
Brand Architecture has become one of the most essential components for any brand while making their brand strategy. It displays a clear relation between the main brand (Parent Company) and the sub-brands within it and also the differentiation between them. It defines every brand’s logo and colors distinctly, defining how they work together, enhancing the consumer’s understanding of it and increasing their interactivity with a brand. Having a brand’s building plan is important as it helps you map the consumer’s decisions, and the reasoning behind it, which is done through extensive research using the brand architecture strategy. Regardless of the size of the brand, there can be a significant improvement in the brand’s performance and market positioning by clearly defining the building structure of the corporate brand and its sub-brands.
Types of Brand Architecture:
As you can see, making a brand architecture strategy and utilizing it while integrating the brand’s building plan has certain advantages. However, it is also important to understand the various types of brand architecture, as every type has its own approach and benefits. Following are the types of Brand Architecture Strategy:
- House of Brands: House of Brands is an architecture strategy that has one corporate brand, under which lie several other sub-brands that have their own distinct identity and personality. These sub-brands do not necessarily have to relate themselves to the parent company. The most prime example of this is Proctor and Gamble, which acts as a silent parent brand, under which dozens of other brands function individually. Example: Ariel, Pampers, Bounty, Oral B, Olay, Gillette, etc. This means that every brand under P&G has its own name, its own consumer base, and at times it is also possible that it may compete against another P&G brand!
- Branded House: Also known as a Monolithic Brand Architecture Strategy, in which the parent brand is very closely associated with its sub-brands. A branded house is the most common type of brand architecture used today. The most familiar example today of a brand executing this strategy successfully is Google. Google as a parent brand has several sub-brands under it that do not cross paths with each other, and also do not eclipse over the parent brand. Example: Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, YouTube, Gmail, etc. Every sub-brand has their own distinct use and appeal to its users and do not compete against each other, and at times operate independently. Brands use this strategy to have the best impact and influence over its consumers. Other examples are FedEx and Apple.
- Hybrid Architecture: Sometimes, marketers combine the benefits of both – the House of Brands Strategy along with the Branded House Strategy, to create a Hybrid Brand Strategy. Due to this combination, it enables the brand architecture to be the most flexible, and allows old products and new products (in case of merger or acquisitions) to co-exist. If a brand changes the names, logos and brand architecture of the old products after introducing new ones, it confuses the consumers and hinders the same consumer’s loyalty towards the parent brand. But at the same time, they also need to strategize the architecture for the new products that have been acquired, which the Hybrid Architecture allows. A prime example of this is Microsoft, which has sub-brands such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Health, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc. which clearly carry the parent brand’s name for better recognition. But also, Microsoft has other endorsed and free standing (House of Brands) brands like Xbox, Skype, Nokia, etc.
Benefits of Brand Architecture Strategy:
It is very evident that Brand Architecture helps your brand to clearly define your building plan and distinctly show the relation with the sub-brands. This helps the consumers to understand your brand’s impact and impression in the market, and increase its recall. Following are the other benefits of Brand Architecture Strategy:
- Clearly define brand positioning and approach: Brand architecture strategy’s greatest benefit is the clarity it provides to the consumers about the relation between the parent company and its sub-brands. Clearly defining every brand’s message to the consumers helps in brand consistency and positioning, and increases consumer recall and retention.
- Easy to add new products: Consumers today are usually hesitant when it comes to trying a new product. Once your building plan, or brand architecture has been defined, it becomes easier for you as a brand to introduce a new product in the segment that it operates in and easier for the consumer to relate to this new product.
- Market Segmentation: Having detailed brand architecture automatically helps you in segmenting your target audience in terms of consumer behavior, changing cultures and changing user preferences. It enables you to cater to the needs of every segment individually without any confusion.
- Marketing Costs: If the brand architecture is logical in nature, it becomes easy for the consumers to relate the sub-brand to the parent brand. Due to this, your brand’s marketing costs reduce significantly as your brand has already been well established in the minds of the consumers.
- Uplifting Brand Equity: Brand equity is the premium value that is added to your brand’s name and brand recognition, which is primary in the positioning and recall value. A brand architecture strategy uplifts your equity by showing your established and concrete presence and the wide reach of products over a large segment.
Brands today are introducing new products or acquiring other sub-brands, some that already have a strong brand positioning, influence and impact over the consumer. The basic motive behind optimizing brand architecture is to create clarity through a clearly defined configuration of services, products or sub-brands. Brand architecture is the best way to clearly define the logical, strategic and relational connection between the parent brand, the sub-brands and named products.
Brand architecture is the foundation or blueprint that helps in building brand equity, creating cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and enables piggybacking wherein newer or weaker products leverage the stronger brands in the group. No progressive conglomerate can succeed without it.