House of Brands, Branded House, Family Brands, Blended House – Brand architecture.

Companies are becoming more complex

Many companies today are managing increasingly diverse product and service portfolios. Reasons for an increasingly complex brand architecture are a growing range of services, the acquisition of other companies, more demanding requirements in different markets, internal growth or product innovations.

Historically grown brand portfolios often have no logic that is comprehensible to customers. Therefore, at some point the question arises: are all existing brands necessary and how can the interplay between brands and company look like?

benuta Markenarchitektur Submarken

Brand architecture at first glance

Overview of frequently asked questions

  • What is brand architecture?

    The strategic alignment of all of a company’s brands to determine the positioning and relationship of the brands to each other, taking into account target groups and competencies.

  • Why is brand architecture important?

    New products or services and the acquisition of other brands contribute to a complex brand diversity. A logical system is important to position the different brands correctly with the appropriate target groups. Therefore, the brand architecture should be reviewed regularly and restructured if necessary.

  • What is a family brand?

    In the family strategy, a uniform brand is applied to several products. New products are related, align with and benefit from the already established brand image, and add new attributes to the positioning. A typical example is the Nivea brand.

  • What is the benefit of an umbrella brand?

    For established companies with a broad range of products, the umbrella brand strategy is suitable for addressing different target groups. The advantage is that communication efforts are focused on the umbrella brand and the company differentiates itself through core competencies rather than through individual products and services.

  • What is a brand portfolio?

    The brand portfolio brings together all the brands of a company -B2C and B2B- that have been developed in-house or purchased. The brand architecture determines the relationship between the individual brands.

  • What is House of Brands vs. Branded House?

    “House of Brands” stands for a brand strategy in which a company manages different brands for different products, each with its own brand identities. A “Branded House” company carries all services under a single brand.

The necessity of brand autonomy, maximum synergy potentials

A brand architecture is the systematic arrangement of all brands of a company to determine the positioning and the relationship between them. The goal is to use maximum synergy potentials while maintaining the necessary independence of the brands. Taking into account target groups, competencies and competitive structures, a distinction can be made between three strategies when introducing new products or services: Single brand strategy, family brand strategy and umbrella brand strategy.

Developing an intelligent brand architecture

Classic models are not always applicable on a one-to-one basis, because brand portfolios are often far more complex. Companies often grow quickly or naturally, so that clear or consistent brand presences are no longer possible. Then it is necessary to strategically scrutinize the brand diversity, possibly clean it up and design meaningful systems. For a successful brand architecture it is essential to understand how the perception of a brand is influenced by the respective other brands of a company. The goal is to develop a logic in which clear perceptions of a brand can be established with the target group despite increasing complexity. A brand architecture helps companies to define the value, positioning and focus of individual brands and thus enable targeted communication.

How to visually differentiate company, division and product?

Brand systems and structures must also be clear to customers and consumers without them having to read through pages and pages of corporate structure. An effective brand architecture includes a holistic system of NAMES, SYMBOLS, COLORS and fonts. The goal is to establish a comprehensible logic among the target groups, which on the one hand provides orientation for needs and corresponding offers. On the other hand, a comprehensible system has a positive effect on the perception and impact with customers.

  • Markenarchitektur mit Tagline unterscheiden (Dachmarken-Architektur)

    Logo and Tagline

    TAGLINES can be used to expand service areas for the relevant target group.

  • Markenarchitektur mit Farbe unterscheiden (Dachmarken-Architektur)


    COLORS cluster areas and provide consistent guidance at different touchpoints.

  • Markenarchitektur mit Typografie unterscheiden (Dachmarken-Architektur)

    Tagline and symbol
    Symbols extend individual brands and subtly indicate affiliation with a higher-level umbrella brand

  • Markenarchitektur mit Symbolik unterscheiden (Dachmarken-Architektur)

    Deviating symbol

    Symbolism adapted to the respective brand, evokes associations with the service or product and contributes to differentiated positioning.

  • Markenarchitektur mit Wortmarken unterscheiden (Endorsed Brands)

    Word mark

    Different fonts represent brand identities and thus offer identification potential for different target groups.

We make the distinctiveness of brands perceptible.


The three most important forms of brand architecture – examples

House of Brands or single brand strategy

Here the logic applies: one product line corresponds to one brand. An example is Unilever with brands like Dove or Knorr, as well as Henkel with Persil, Weißer Riese, Pril and Pritt. The single brand strategy makes sense when a company offers many heterogeneous products that appeal to different target groups with different needs. Each of these products requires a clear focus on specific needs and a distinctive brand identity. A pointed positioning for each brand requires a high communicative effort to develop differentiated appearances for each brand.

House of Brands Markenarchitektur

Branded house or umbrella brand strategy

The umbrella brand strategy is suitable for companies with a very broad focus, such as Sparkasse or Siemens. All of a company’s services are managed under a single brand. Especially if the product portfolio is very large and the target groups very diverse, the company’s competence is more in focus than the individual brand promises of the individual products. It is extremely important to strengthen the trust of customers in the brand, as individual offerings are less likely to stand out from the competition through differentiated positioning.

Branded House Markenarchitektur

Family brand strategy

Nivea is a well-known example of the family strategy, in which a uniform brand is applied to several products. New products are related, are oriented to and benefit from the already established brand image and extend the positioning with new attributes – in the case of Nivea, for example, Nivea Men or Nivea Sun. Here, it is important not to stray too far from the brand core in order not to lose credibility and the customers’ trust in the brand values. With a successful strategy, the family brand strengthens new products and saves resources through synergies in communication.

Familienmarke Markenarchitektur

Blended house strategy

In blended strategies, corporate brands appear together with other brands, whereby either the corporate brand can dominate, or it appears on an equal footing with the other brand, e.g. Google

Blended House Markenarchitektur

Endorsed Brand Strategy

In a so-called Endorsed Brand Strategy, the umbrella brand provides optimal support for the brands that stand alone. The brands have individual appearances and brand messages, but are enhanced by the “signature” of the umbrella brand to transfer already positive associations of the parent brand to the new products.

We put the brand house in order

To avoid messy communication, complex website structures, cognitive dissonance and ultimately confusion among the target audience, we support brands in developing a logical, systematic and value-added system of brand architecture. As part of our brand process, we strategically question brand strategy, clean up or restructure – then translate brand attributes into captivating brand presences.

    Ansprechpartner Helder Design

    Dr. Birgit Joest


    030 403 664 76