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Brand Architecture


Brand Architecture is the definition of a clear and present set of systems that make up the whole.

How can I update or change things over time? And if I change one thing, what else will be affected? How will it look when it’s all finished and more importantly, how will it function?

Brand Architecture defined: Think of Brand Architecture as the organizational system for classifying and relating to (or differentiating) all of the brands that exist within the entity.


Within the brand itself, a Brand Architecture assists to define the role and the function of all of the elements that make up the brand — brand identity and image, for example, or tone and voice — and how those elements relate to each other.


The value of a well-defined brand architecture is in the clarity it provides. How does the brand identity serve the brand? What changes or modifications should be made so that it performs as it was intended? What are the brands that exist above it (the Master Brand) or below? What other systems must be developed to support it? What are the current existing and possible future extensions of the brand?


Further: What type of Brand Architecture defines us? Are we a ‘Branded House’ like Virgin (think Virgin Air, Virgin Records or Virgin Mobile) or a ‘House of Brands’ (like Proctor and Gamble’s brands Tide, Crest, Duracell and others)? Or is it a hybrid, (like Microsoft), with its master brand products (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Project), its endorsed brands (like XBOX or Bing) and its often acquired, freestanding brands such as Skype or Nokia? 


Each of the three main Brand Architecture models outlined above can succeed and each model has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

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