And what is the difference between a ‘House of Brands’ and a ‘Branded House’?
Understanding Brand Architecture: More Than Meets the Eye
In the world of brands, it’s only sometimes apparent who’s pulling the strings. Have you ever been a fan of a minor, independent-looking brand only to discover a corporate giant owns it? That’s the magic of brand architecture—a system that dictates how businesses organise and present their various lines.
House of Brands: A Diverse Neighborhood
Imagine a bustling neighbourhood where each house has its distinct personality. This is the House of Brands. Take Unilever, for instance, with a portfolio that includes Dove, Ben & Jerry’s (love their brand values), and Pukka Herbs (the pretty decent tea brand). Each brand caters to a unique audience, providing diverse products and experiences.
For a deeper dive into why brand strategy matters, check out Why Is Developing a Branding Strategy Important?.
Branded House: The Unified Symphony
Now, let’s shift to the symphony metaphor. In the Branded House approach, it’s like composing a unified piece of music. Apple does this masterfully, with a seamless experience across products like iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch. The brand identity is consistent, creating a harmonious melody.
Perhaps you’re not quite there yet and need more practical tips for small business owners. Why not read further and explore 8 Branding Tips for the Small Business Owner to get your little powerhouse growing?
Subbrands: Navigating the Middle Ground
Think of Subbrands as the middle ground between diversity and unity. Uniqlo, for instance, introduces various subbrands like Uniqlo U, Uniqlo Heattech, and Uniqlo AIRism, providing autonomy to each subbrand while maintaining an overarching Uniqlo identity. It’s like having distinct styles in a shared commitment to simplicity, quality, and innovation.
Applying Brand Architecture to Small Businesses
You might think, “Okay, but does this apply to my small business?” Absolutely. Understanding brand architecture is not reserved for the corporate giants—it’s equally crucial for smaller ventures.
Tailored Diversity for Small Businesses:
Like the House of Brands, small businesses can curate a diverse range of products or services to reach different pockets of the market. This tailored diversity allows you to appeal to a broader audience while maintaining authenticity.
Consider a local skincare brand offering a range tailored to different skin types. Similarly, imagine a:
- Local Artisanal Bakery:
- Diversity: Offering a variety of baked goods, from gluten-free options to indulgent pastries.
- Authenticity: Each item is baked lovingly and using locally sourced ingredients, reflecting the bakery’s commitment to quality and community support.
- Handmade Jewellery Boutique:
- Diversity: Creating various jewellery pieces, from minimalist designs to bold statement pieces.
- Authenticity: Emphasizing the craftsmanship behind each piece, focusing on unique designs and high-quality materials.
These examples showcase how small businesses, whether in skincare, bakery, or jewellery, can tailor their offerings to meet their diverse customer base’s specific needs and preferences while staying true to their authentic brand values.
Cohesive Identity for Small Businesses:
The Branded House strategy isn’t exclusive to tech giants. Small businesses can establish a cohesive identity across their offerings, creating a unified brand experience that resonates with customers. Think of a local bakery maintaining a consistent theme, from the logo to the packaging, creating a seamless and recognizable brand identity.
Strategic Autonomy for Small Businesses:
Subbrands, the middle ground, allow small businesses to introduce variations within their brand while ensuring a harmonious overall identity. It’s about striking the right balance between independence and cohesion. Consider a small clothing boutique introducing subbrands for different styles or collections, each with its unique flair yet contributing to the overall brand story.
The Fascinating Twist: Manufactured Branding
Here’s a fascinating twist to the tale: sometimes, what we perceive as a brand’s authentic positioning is, in fact, manufactured. It’s not a secret reserved for corporate giants—small brands can wield this enchanting power too.
Consider this scenario: you believe you’re purchasing a product from a brand with a rustic, handmade ethos. The packaging, the messaging—it all screams authenticity. But behind the scenes, it might be a masterstroke of manufactured branding. The product could be mass-produced, yet the brand creates an illusion of craftsmanship. This strategy is not exclusive to big players; smaller brands can use it to create a unique identity in a crowded market.
Crafting Your Brand Architecture Symphony
Now that you know what brand architecture is and are armed with the potential for manufactured branding, it’s time to shape your brand symphony. For small business owners seeking to stand out in a sea of competitors, consider these strategies as the comforting warmth in your cup of business tea, adding a distinct flavour that sets you apart and makes a lasting impression.
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