Brand architecture in the digital age

This article is part of a series of articles on brand architecture in the digital age. Read more.

The concept of brand architecture was developed to bring clarity to an organisation’s activities: to help customers navigate the offer and find what’s right for them as well as providing a blueprint for the organisation to structure its people, processes and investments around.

This article explores how organisations can optimise their brand architecture in a way that focuses on putting the customer first.


The most commonly applied brand architecture strategies were developed by David Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler as a simple and helpful way to think about the right approach for an organisation. The most commonly used approaches are:

  • House of brands consist of independent, standalone brands such as Lynx, Persil and Marmite – all of which are owned by Unilever
  • Branded house uses a single masterbrand such as that used by FedEx with FedExExpress, FedExGround, FedExFreight
  • Sub-brands are connected to the masterbrand and its associations for example, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Apple TV
  • Endorsed brands are independent but also endorsed by another brand e.g. Courtyard endorsed by Marriot