The Kingdom of God: Brand Architecture.

by | Jan 19, 2023

House, Neighborhood, Empire: Brand Architecture: What models are there? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

What is brand architecture and what is it for?

Brand architecture refers to the strategic structure of offerings, products, and labels within an organization. It illustrates the points of connection and differentiation between them.

Imagine you’re throwing a stone into a lake. When the stone drops into the water, concentric circles form. But what happens when you throw multiple stones at the same time? You’re not exactly sure. Many circles will form, but you don’t know how they relate to each other.

Similarly, it is difficult to determine how offerings, products, and labels interact when they exist alongside each other without a strategy. Where do their messages and target audiences overlap? What business models exist and how are they structured? This is precisely where brand architecture comes into play. It defines in advance what happens when multiple “stones” are thrown.

What types of brand architecture are there?

1. Corporate Brands or Umbrella Brands

Corporate Brands are market-oriented brands that utilize a consistent branding for all activities, products, and services. Customers, employees, sponsors, and suppliers are familiar with the brand name and logo. A Corporate Brand resembles a centralized system with all its advantages and disadvantages.

– Cost reduction through centralization
– Consistent communication
– Uniform organizational culture
– Leverage

– Decreased agility
– Complex to create and maintain
– Strong hierarchical culture
– Slow pace of innovation

2. Endorsed brands and sub-brands

Endorsed or Subbrands are corporate brands, umbrella brands, or family brands that transfer the established image of a brand to a range of sub-brands or product groups. This is done to enhance the credibility and attractiveness of the sub-brands. An example of this is the European Union, where an overarching label is applied to various member states.

– Agile structures
– Semi-autonomous pace of innovation
– Offers for specific target groups
– Cultural individuality

– Higher costs through diversification
– Complex resource management
– Possible conflicts between sub brands
– Not full independence

3. Individual product brands

Individual product brands have distinct brand structures, even though they belong to a common owner. Stakeholder perception primarily focuses on the individual product brand, which possesses its own brand image. An example of this is the various nations across the African continent, which largely operate independently from one another.

– Fokussierung direkt auf die Verbraucher
– Independent communication
– Lean corporate structures
– Flexible growth opportunities

– Hohe individuelle Kosten
– Geringere Hebelwirkung
– Less security
– Less knowledge sharing

Welche Form der Markenarchitektur ist besser oder schlechter?

All three types of brand architecture have their advantages and disadvantages. A practical brand architecture is always developed from various perspectives, as it impacts different levels of an organization. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Choosing the right brand architecture requires insights into a company’s structures. It must consider personnel and financial resources and take into account the relationships between supply and demand. In short, it’s a complex task.

Changing the structure of brands and sub-brands is delicate. If approached incorrectly, fractures can emerge. Nevertheless, new offerings and business ideas arise, demanding their place. In our world, those who keep up with the pace and are willing to redefine themselves survive. At least until today.