Finding Your Foundation

Over the last four weeks I have delved into establishing your brand strategy, the strength of brand architecturea branded house masterpiece & from chaos to clarity. for the brand architecture series. Today we are going to bring to life with some examples.The complex nature of brand architecture is why so many major corporations spend considerable time in building the right foundations for their organisation. To help you get a better understanding of the types of brand architecture there are to choose from, and how each of these strategies works in practice, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite brand architecture examples. Let’s take a look:

  1. The Nike Brand Architecture

Over the decades, Nike has created a powerful name for itself in the sports and athletic worlds. This is a company that decided to build upon its highly recognisable brand identity when bringing new ideas to life. After all, the people behind this business know that customers love Nike and what it stands for.

When Nike created its deal with golf superstar, Tiger Woods, the company had very little weight in the golf industry. They used the swoosh logo with the prefix of “Nike” to create an endorser brand that gave the new venture credibility. The decision to act as an endorser brand ensured that Nike could launch their golf strategy on the right foot.

Additionally, by establishing NikeGolf as a brand separate to the “Tiger Woods” name, the company was able to avoid some of the fallout that emerged when Woods’ reputation began to suffer.

2. The Microsoft Brand Architecture

The hybrid approach to architecture works for Microsoft because the organisation is a sweeping conglomerate. By combining monolithic entities with freestanding ones, the company can minimise its risk, while reaching out to as many potential customers as possible with new and innovative products or services.

3. The GE Brand Architecture

As we mentioned above, there are three specific brand architecture models applied to most companies. General Electric or “GE” uses the branded house approach, or monolithic brand architecture, where the master brand acts as the main asset applied to every product and business unit.

Interestingly, GE hasn’t always taken such a focused approach to their brand architecture. In the past, they had hundreds of different services and offerings to bring to the market, which often left customers confused about the nature of the organisation. Fortunately, the master brand finally decided to rework the brand architecture into 11 specific business units, all featuring the title of the company “GE”. Sub-brands now include GE Healthcare, GE Aviation, and GE Infrastructure, among many others.

4. The Unilever Brand Architecture

The Unilever brand architecture is a “house of brands” structure that’s often referenced in discussions about brand architecture. Unilever has a rich portfolio of sub-brands that range all the way from food to hygiene products. You might have Lipton products in your fridge, and Dove in your shower, but they’re all connected to the same parent brand.

While companies following the house of brands structure often try to make new acquisitions and products part of the master brand with marketing and communication strategies, they also maintain a distinction between the overarching companies, and the organisations they own.

The Unilever brand architecture is the kind of structure most experts recommend when an organisation attempts to target different audiences with unique propositions and products.

5. The Yamaha Brand Architecture

Yamaha doesn’t just sell musical products anymore. They now sell sporting goods, home appliances, industrial robots and more, all underneath the same brand name. By using the same identity whether they’re selling pianos or motorbikes, Yamaha has developed a huge following defined by customers who love the organisation for many different reasons.

Since it’s inception in 1887, Yamaha’s brand architecture has evolved to fit with their products and corporate mission. Nowadays, Yamaha follows a monolithic (or corporate) brand structure, similarly to General Electric.

Creating A Strong Brand Architecture

There’s more to running a successful company than designing a great product and giving yourself a catchy name. Great branding is about making a promise to your customer and ensuring that you have the means to deliver on that promise as effectively as possible.

While developing a strong brand architecture isn’t easy, it is a necessary part of planning for your future and realising your vision. With a little bit of research and some careful exploration into the divisions available within your brand, you can determine how to use each element of your brand to benefit the whole. The right brand architecture gives clarity and focus to the organisation, so you can enjoy a tailor-made roadmap to growth and success.

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