3 Steps to Building Your Brand Architecture

| April 20, 2023 | By

3 Steps to Building Your Brand Architecture

Much of the U.S. watches the Super Bowl for the snacks and commercials. One of those eye-catching commercials from Super Bowl LVII was from Molson Coors, which advertised Miller Lite, Coors Lite, and Blue Moon all in the same spot. How was the company able to do this? A clear brand architecture.

Every building needs a steady foundation, and every business needs a well-planned brand architecture to organize each division of the brand, develop a brand identity, and, most importantly, control how consumers perceive the brand. Consider this: Brands with a clear architecture have more visibility than brands without one. Let’s explore the essentials you need to know to establish your brand architecture.

What Is Brand Architecture, and Why Is It Important?

Your brand architecture is your business’s organizational structure. It consists of your master brand and your related products, services, line extensions, and sub-brands.

With a clear brand architecture in place, consumers are better able to navigate your products and services and clearly understand your value.

In addition to your master brand and sub-brands, your architecture includes your logos, style guides, color palettes, and other pieces that ensure consistency for your brand. A clear architecture brings many benefits, such as:

  • Clarity for consumers: Consumers will be able to better understand your brands in the way that you want them to.
  • Brand loyalty: Every brand tells a story. But if each sub-brand is put together in your portfolio without thought, it may lead to a confusing narrative for consumers. You have the opportunity to tell an overarching story that speaks to your consumers and allows them to identify with your brand on a personal level, leading to brand loyalty.
  • Revenue growth through cross-selling: A defined framework positions brands in the best way to feed off each other and tailor goods to a wide range of audiences. If your company is creating a positive experience with one of your brands, additional opportunities will open up for your sub-brands within your portfolio.
  • Creating a more inclusive culture: A well-defined brand architecture creates a feeling of belonging among employees and helps them understand their place in the bigger picture.

Types of Brand Architecture

There are a few different types of brand architecture depending on how your business is organized.

The Branded House

This is the most common type of architecture. Within this structure, the master brand owns several sub-brands that may feature the name or logo of the master brand. For example, Apple is a master brand, and some of its sub-brands are iPad, iPhone, and iMac. 

The House of Brands

In this type of brand structure, the master brand owns a collection of brands that consumers may or may not be aware of. For example, Gap is a master brand, and some of the sub-brands in its collection are Old Navy and Athleta.

The Endorsed Brand 

In this type of structure, the endorsed brand has its own identity, but it isn’t separate from the master brand, which is also well-known. For example, Sony PlayStation and Residence Inn by Marriott are endorsed brands.

How to Build a Brand Architecture

Your architecture is vital to establishing your voice and brand identity and ensuring consistency throughout your materials. Let’s take a look at the simple steps you need to follow to build your brand architecture.

1. Do your research.

Branding is all about the consumer. Take time to understand who your target audience is for each of your sub-brands, how your audience interacts with your brand, and what they expect. 

2. Come up with your strategy.

Design your architecture. You’ll need your internal teams on board with your strategy before you apply it. Your teams may need to see data on what a brand architecture will do for the individual teams and the brand as a whole. Detailed data and reporting can help your teams see the impact of your architecture.

When you’ve come up with an architecture that may work, determine the connections between your master brand and sub-brands. It’s essential to know how everything fits together and what your overarching story is when marketing to consumers or cross-selling between your brands.

3. Apply your architecture.

Make sure you have a clear structure that highlights the relationship between your overarching brand and sub-brands. Then, unveil the finalized structure with your teams and ensure they know the strategic role of each sub-brand within your framework and how it relates to the consumers and overarching brand.

Your architecture will likely change as your company grows to include new offerings or sub-brands, whether by acquisition or a new product launch. To make it easy for everyone who works for your brand to implement your new architecture, provide your employees with an electronic repository of all approved brand assets and guidelines to facilitate consistent adoption of your architecture.

Ensure Consistent Adoption of Your Brand Architecture

Your brand architecture is essential to providing clarity for consumers, helping them better navigate your brands and see your value. Make implementing your architecture and future changes easy with brandstash, a one-stop shop for brand management. See our brand management platform in action by scheduling a brandstash demo.


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