Many organizations have evolved to brand/sub-brand structure with some provision for flexibility and variation. And, more and more organizations are trying to build and leverage their corporate, parent or organization brands as a way to save money when marketing products and services. Some companies unknowingly confuse their consumer audiences due to the branding of new products, which can lead to ineffective engagement with their audiences. This is typically due to a series of mergers and acquisitions or the continuous growth of new products and services over time. Organizations find that their portfolios of brands and other named entities become too difficult or expensive to manage. Therefore, there are no naming standards. Each new product or service is named as it is created, with no view to the overall picture. And sometimes, employees are creating variations or new versions of existing brands for entities and programs such as internal training programs, company picnics or employee reward programs.
So, how do you effectively add a new product without confusing your audience?
You determine your company’s brand architecture. Here, the goal is to develop a brand strategy and product architecture that is easy for the consumer to understand, navigate and connect with in order to purchase.
Most businesses think of brand architecture only during times of change, like mergers, acquisitions, rebrands, and new product launches. And, at those times, understanding the relationships between the brand names in your company’s portfolio is essential to creating your go-to market strategy.
Understanding Brand Architecture
All brand architecture strategies fall into one of three approaches:
- A branded house
- A house of brands
- A house blend (also known as a hybrid)
Depending on your products and goals you can determine which strategy works best for the long-term future of the business and the consumer.
Branded House This strategy emphasizes a single master brand that sits over the other brands within an organization. Google uses a branded house architecture strategy.
House of Brands This strategy is designed to stand entirely on their own in the market place. This allows an organization to develop a portfolio of brands, each with a unique brand positioning tailored to a particular product or market segment. Think Proctor & Gamble.
House Blend/Hybrid Here, brands are combined in such a way that one is designated to work in concert with the other and is a combination of a branded house and house of brand strategies. Coca-Cola is a great example of this brand architecture type.
Below is a visual representation of each approach.