Brand architecture
in a nutshell

In our design practice, we are often asked about the "logotype families" or the possibility of "adding other elements to the a logo". From our design perspective, this is obviously not a particularly difficult topic, although you need to think about a structure or system rather than a single, closed and well-designed form. However, we always encourage our clients to consider their brand strategy before making decisions about creating a logo or rebranding. It has a tremendous impact on architecture, and at a certain level, these concepts can be effectively interchangeable.

A few important questions

Brand architecture has much less in common with the graphic aspect than with strategy When creating any product or service brand, we need to answer a few questions:

  1. What is the relationship between this brand and the name and brand of the producer or service-providing company you represent? Will these brands be the same? Do you want to support in any way for example, the brand of your product with your company's brand? If the official name of your company is “Smith and Co”, you can create a brand of YGRT yoghurts, or sell them as “Kowalski and Co”. The latter may sound less “yogurt-like”, but no one will really stop you. You can also name your company YGRT and produce YGRT yogurt. Finally, you can name them YGRT yogurts and write "Kowalski & Co" under a fancy logo to let everyone know that it's your company that makes such excellent products.
  2. To answer the first question, you need to have a certain vision of the future of the company: will you expand your offer to include other products and services? Can these products or services be sold under the same brand, or will it be necessary to create new ones? Remember that a good brand is not made of rubber and cannot include an offer that distorts its image. An exclusive brand will be damaged by a "everything for everyone" offer; organic products cannot be sold under the same brand as sweetened carbonated drinks, and equipment for professionals cannot bear the same mark as affordable solutions for amateurs.
  3. Will your marketing budget allow you to manage multiple brands? Will they not disturb each other, cannibalize each other due to a similar offer?
  4. Do you want to combine the manufacturer's name with the product name? This presents many opportunities, but it also poses some risks. One product, one failure can tarnish a company's image. On the other hand, a good product can elevate the entire corporation, opening the way for other company activities.

First the strategy, then the logo

These are a few basic questions, but not all of them. It is not really important that you follow exactly the pattern, what truly matters is that you realize that all advertising and communication activities must stem from a coherent brand concept, even at the strategic level If you do this well from the start, you won't find yourself facing a neglected brand portfolio or a single weak and indistinct brand that inexplicably loses market share after a few years. We will elaborate on these topics further in other articles.

House of brands

The seemingly most convenient solution is the so-called House of Brands model. If you are planning to introduce many diverse product lines to the market, from food products to household chemicals, this is the perfect solution for you. It's also ideal when you want to introduce only one type of product (e.g., shampoo) but dedicate it to different target groups with diverse needs, ages, and lifestyles. Procter and Gamble has been walking this path for many years, and in Poland companies like MASPEX also do so. Few people know that Vizir laundry detergent and Lams pet food come from the same corporation or that whether we go to Media Markt (a store "not for idiots") or choose Saturn (a paradise for penny-pinchers), the profits will still go to the same gigantic Media-Saturn Holding conglomerate. This solution is very good when you have a powerful marketing budget and can maintain significant discipline in diversifying your brands. Procter has several laundry detergents, and in Poland, Vizir and Ariel are well-known, both consistently positioned for different market segments.

Branded house

On the other end of the spectrum is the Branded house, a very similar name that requires a moment to avoid confusing it with House of brands In this case, we have only one brand (master brand) for different product groups. An example is BIC, a brand for lighters, razors, and primarily writing instruments. These seemingly different products are united by a common idea of practical solutions in the field of plastics and disposable products. Of course, this does not exhaust the entire depth of the BIC brand. This solution has a significant advantage: a flagship product that is highly regarded by the market works for the benefit of the entire brand. It also works the other way around: building one brand influences the entire broad offer. The disadvantages are that a monolithic brand is easier to attack by the competition and cannot explore different market segments. It will be challenging for a brand of inexpensive shoes to shine in the world of elegant clothing.

Umbrella brand

An intermediate solution is the umbrella brand - a model that Mitsubishi has been developing for many years. Ostensibly, the umbrella brand looks like a master brand because it encompasses several different product groups. However, the difference is fundamental: Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric are identical only in name, while the two brands are supported by different marketing strategies. Unlike the BIC brand, there is no single brand promise. There is only one logo.

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