In the previous article, we discussed various brand architecture types. Choosing your brand architecture is also part of your brand strategy, but before deciding which one matches your brand portfolio, you should know that every type has its advantages and weaknesses that you should be aware of.
1. Monolithic brand (also known as Branded house): there is a single master brand, one trademark followed by descriptive names for each product/service, one system (promise, personality, visual and verbal identity) used for all the products/services that corporate develops.
- It is easier for consumers to recognize the products and to understand them because of the descriptor.
- It increases brand awareness
- Focusing brand marketing (and marketing spending) on a single brand strategy and brand image
- If a product/service goes through a crisis, the whole brand may suffer – any negativity associated with a service/product is attributed to the brand and all its other products/services – everything that occurs is attributed to the brand.
2. Endorsed brands: Individual product brands, linked together by an endorsing parent-brand. Although the product brands have their own identities, there is a clear connection between them and the parent brand. They are called “endorsed brands” because the parent brand endorses the products with its reputation.
- An endorser brand can work as assurance of quality for the product brand, it can increase consumer’s perception and confidence
- Marketing activities advertise both the product brand and the endorser
- The connection between product brands can facilitate cross-selling
- If a brand goes through a crisis it is hard to control the damage because the crisis can extend to the parent brand and also to the other brands
- There will be creative, legal, and time-to-market costs for every endorsed brand
3. House of brands (free-standing brands): Separate identities for each brand: brands have their own names, personalities, audiences, and sometimes they compete with each other. They are designed to stand apart and be independent from the master brand or the other house brands. It is common for the consumers to not be aware of the parent brand.
- If a free-standing brand goes through a crisis, it is not “contagious” to the other brands
- Full liberty in creating the identity: freedom to create different brand strategy, name, logo, design, and creative campaigns
- Presence in different market niches, targeting different audiences
- The fact that every brand needs its own strategy, identity and marketing activities is a financial disadvantage.
- The time and resources involved in planning and implementing the brand activities will be greater
- Success will not be directly attributed to the parent brand
4. Sub-brand: There is a corporate trademark and sub-brand trademarks: an overlying corporate brand and separate sub-brands beneath the corporate brand. Each of these brands may have a distinct brand promise, position and personality.
- You can target many different customers because the sub-brands have different names, logos, different promises, positions and personality traits – you can address conflicting audiences.
- Legal and creative / marketing costs of creating new sub-brands
As you can see, every type of brand architecture has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no ideal or general recommended choice. You have to analyze your portfolio and choose the type that fits you best.