Brand architecture.

The way the brand elements guide the product and brand relationship, depends on the brand architecture and the characteristic of the brand model. Kapferer reveals six brand strategy models which denote brand role, brand status and brand relationship with the product/service it encompasses (Kapferer, 2007:294):

  1. The product brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a brand to one product.
  2. The line brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a brand to a product line of complementary products.
  3. The range brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a brand to a range of products belonging to the same area of competence.
  4. The (corporate) umbrella brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a brand to several products in different markets.
  5. The (corporate) source brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a two-tier brand structure to several products in different markets, the product or product line has its own brand where the corporate source brand endorse the quality. The specific communication / promise is made by the brand.
  6. The (corporate) endorsing brand strategy
    • Involves the assignment of a brand to autonomous products with the endorsing brand in common. The specific communication & promise are made by the product or range of products.

International behaviour of companies has lead to new trends in branding strategies. The six brand strategy classifications are simplified to two branding classifications; the house of brands versus the branded house (Kapferer, 2007:319). See figure 11.

House of brands versus branded house

Figure 11. House of brands versus branded house (Kapferer, 2007:319).


Other classification of generic brand strategy is given by Backhaus (as quoted in Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2006:91). Backhaus uses three strategic branding dimensions, each with different branding options, see figure 12;

  1. Brand width.
    • The number of products and/or services under one brand; individual brands, family brands and corporate brands.
  2. Brand depth.
    • Geographic range of the brands; national brands and international brands.
  3. Brand length
    • The basic positioning of the brands; classical brands and premium brands.

Generic branding options according Backhaus

Figure 12. Generic branding options according Backhaus (Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2006:77).


The way the dimensions are combined depends of the brand strategy (Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2006:77-91). See also appendix 1, table 1 for a comparison of the generic branding options.

Aaker has modelled brand architecture as a function of brand portfolio. As a consequence, Aaker defines brand architecture as “an organizing structure of the brand portfolio that specifies the brand roles and the relationships among brands and different product-market brand contexts.”

Aaker’s brand architecture model is formed around five building blocks and facilitate in organizational structures, brand procedures and brand audit management. See figure 13. Next to that Aaker defined six objectives of brand architecture.;

  1. Create effective and powerful brands
  2. Allocate brand-building resources
  3. Create synergy.
  4. Achieve clarity of product offerings.
  5. Leverage brand equity.
  6. Provide a platform for future growth options.

As with all strategic managerial procedures and structures, brand architecture should periodic be audit to detected point of attention and discover the lacunas in the five building blocks (Aaker, 2000:134-161).

Brand Architecture

Figure 13. Brand Architecture (Aaker, 2000:135).


From a global B2B perspective, corporate brand strategy can add significant value to the organization. As such it provides the ultimate branded house. The strength of a corporate brand is the fact that it embrace an organization as well a product and/or services. For that reason it generates leverage, synergy and clarity. The corporate brand as such defines the organization behind the product and/or service. Because of that it can also have an effect on the emotional mindset of the customer by accommodating a positive and valued relationship with the organization. According to Aaker a corporate brand characterizes itself by (Aaker, 2004:3-10);

  1. Heritage
    • The heritage of a corporate brand has meaningful and more relevant roots than product brands. Corporate brands should be aware of the power of heritage and stay close to its valuable roots.
  2. Assets and capabilities
    • A corporate brand creates a perception of its ability to develop innovative products and appeal to deliver this added value to customers by its assets and capabilities.
  3. People
    • Employees and visible spokesperson are the basis for the corporate brand image, so called ambassadors of the brand. The power of influence is related to the interaction between the customer and people of the organization and valued by its engagement, interest in customers, empowerment, responsiveness, and competences.
  4. Values and priorities
    • The value and priorities are the essence of an organization by delivering excellent customer value. Value discipline is further studied and explained in paragraph 2.3.5. Brand positioning.
  5. Local versus global orientation
    • Global orientated brands appeal to success and prestige in the mind of customers. The corporate brand is likely to be recognized and accepted as a respectable supplier of innovative and quality products and/or services.
  6. Citizenship
    • Corporate values are essential for sustainable loyalty and positive attitudes to the brand by its stakeholders. Values as education, environment friendly, integrity, diversity, social responsibility and contribution, empowerment, health and safety, management systems, and so on, should be visible to deliver citizenship awareness.
  7. Corporate performance and size
    • Corporate performance and size can communicate both competence and staying power. Customers often trust large and successful brands as the provider for service and backup during the service lifetime of their purchase.

The corporate brand fulfils the role of an umbrella and incorporates a holistic approach, for that it encapsulates the corporate vision, value drivers, brand personality, positioning, and image among many other dimensions (Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2006:79).