Brand architecture

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In the field of brand management, brand architecture is the structure of brands within an organizational entity. It is the way brands within a company's portfolio are related to, and differentiated from, one another. According to J.-N. Kapferer, the brand architecture should define the different leagues of branding within the organization;[1] 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 they belong to. Often, decisions about brand architecture are concerned with how to manage a parent brand and a family of sub-brands – managing brand architecture to maximize shareholder value can include using brand-valuation model techniques.

One may regard the designing of a brand architecture as an integrated process of brand building through establishing brand relationships among branding options in the competitive environment.[2] The brand architecture of an organization at any time is, in large measure, a legacy of past management decisions as well as of the competitive realities brands face in the marketplace.[3]


There are three key levels of branding:

Procter & Gamble is quoted by many authors as the antithesis of a corporate brand (Asberg and Uggla, Muzellec and Lambkin, Olins).[4][5] "However, this situation changed in 2012. After more than 150 years of invisibility of the organization for consumer, the brand developed corporate brand promise during the 2012 Olympic games. Commercials are aired on television around a message thanking all the "moms". In addition, each of their products is associated with the brand "PG" in advertisements for products.

A recent example of brand architecture in action [6] is the reorganization of the General Motors brand portfolio to reflect its new strategy. Prior to bankruptcy, the company pursued a corporate-endorsed hybrid brand architecture structure, where GM underpinned every brand. The practice of putting the "GM Mark of Excellence" on every car, no matter what the brand, was discontinued in August 2009.[7] In the run-up to the IPO, the company adopted a multiple brand corporate invisible brand architecture structure.[8] The company's familiar square blue "badge" has been removed from the Web site and advertising, in favor of a new, subtle all-text logo treatment.[6][9]

Branded house and House of brands[edit]

In academic literature typically two terms are referred to, when brand architecture or brand clusters are explained. The terms Branded House and House of Brands where popularized by Dr. David Aaker.

Branded House[edit]

Is specialised by having a strong master brand with sub brands also carrying the master brand. FedEx is an example of a master brand with FedEx Freight as a sub brand. This tactic is normally used, when companies intend to use the master brands brand equity to held the sub brand.

House of Brands[edit]

With this tactic there is no visible link between the master brand and the sub brands. Procter and Gamble is a popular example where Proctor and Gamble is the master brand with hundreds of sub brands like Oral-B and Pampers below.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kapferer, Jean-Noël. (1994) [1992]. Strategic brand management : new approaches to creating and evaluating brand equity. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-02-917045-1. OCLC 29389852.
  2. ^ Fournier, Susan (March 1998). "Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research". Journal of Consumer Research. 24 (4): 343–353. doi:10.1086/209515. ISSN 0093-5301.
  3. ^ Rajagopal; Romulo Sanchez (2004). "Conceptual analysis of brand architecture and relationships within product categories". Journal of Brand Management. 11 (3): 233–247. doi:10.1057/ S2CID 167718768. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  4. ^ Asberg & Uggla (2009) The Brand Relationship Cycle: Incorporating Co-Branding into Brand Architecture
  5. ^ L.Muzellec, M.Lambkin (2009). Corporate Branding And Brand Architecture: A Conceptual Framework. Marketing Theory
  6. ^ a b GM Reorganized Brand Architecture
  7. ^ Woodyard, Chris (26 August 2009). "General Motors to remove its 'Mark of Excellence' logos from new cars". USA Today.
  8. ^ Brand Architecture Structure Choices
  9. ^ How to Improve Brand Image