Overview: What is Brand Architecture?

As a brand architecture firm, we believe “fewer, stronger brands” is the best philosophy when it comes to managing a portfolio, given the expense and effort required to build and maintain brands. So companies are wise to design a framework—an architecture—for developing and organizing brands in their portfolio. It keeps the portfolio clear and focused and helps ensure that each brand within it is seen as distinct and, ultimately, indispensable.

Optimizing brand portfolios entails designing a comprehensive, forward-looking approach for establishing the right mix and organization of brands. Specifically, it requires developing two key strategies:

Brand Portfolio Strategy

This addresses which markets to participate in, which customer segments to target, how to align brands with target segments, the number of brands needed to sufficiently (and efficiently) serve specific markets and the strategic role for each brand.

Brand Architecture Strategy

This addresses which types of brands to have across offerings (master, descriptive, sub-, endorsed, etc.), how much emphasis to give brands relative to one another, and what type of relationships brands within a portfolio should have—especially relative to the corporate (master) brand.

Brand Architecture


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Questions Addressed
  • What is the optimal number of brands for the portfolio?
  • What is the strategic role for each brand within the portfolio?
  • What relationship, if any, should brands within the portfolio have with one another?
Typical Challenges
  • The brand portfolio has become bloated (too many brands) and confuses customers
  • Brands within the portfolio are sub-optimally or illogically aligned with product offerings
  • Relationships between brands are random, or worse, detrimental to the portfolio
Ensuring Success
  • Efficiency: The brand portfolio maximizes coverage, while minimizing overlap or duplication
  • Clarity: The brand architecture is easy for customers to understand and navigate
  • Alignment: Brands within the portfolio clearly map to target segments and product categories

Featured Work


Case Study: Cox Business

How We Streamlined and Simplified a Confusing Brand Portfolio

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