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Brand architecture is an organizing structure of brand portfolio that specifies the brand roles and relationship among the brands and different product market context.

It is mainly defined by the three major dimensions viz. Portfolio roles, Product market context roles and the Portfolio structure.

Brand portfolio:
Brand architecture involves the management of brand portfolio. Brand portfolio includes all the types of brand viz. Brands and sub-brands as well as co-brands with other firms. e.g. The brand portfolio of Hindustan Lever Ltd. Consisting of 110 brands with 950 of different types of packs which are operating under different market context like healthcare, personal care, beverages, etc. The decision parameters are should one or more brands be added or deleted? A brand portfolio can be strengthened by the addition of brands keeping in view the portfolio perspective. Similarly brands can be deleted by identifying the superfluous brands that are contributing nothing to the brand portfolio. When Prudent toothpaste was launched by Parle, it was not able to create sufficient customer base in the oral care business so Parle had dumped Prudent brand for its brand portfolio management.

Portfolio roles:
For building effective brand architecture it is necessary to identify the portfolio roles of each brand. It provides a tool to take more system view of the brand portfolio and includes a strategic brand, a linchpin brand, a silver bullet brands and a cash cow brand. Strategic brands: A strategic brand or a mega-brand is a currently dominating brand that represents a meaningful future level of sales and profit. For ex: Slate is a strategic brand for Levis, TATA consultancy services (TCS) is a strategic brand of TATA group of cos. because the vision of the firm is to move beyond traditional steel and automobile business. Linchpin brands: A linchpin brand unlike strategic brand not necessarily represents a meaningful future level of sales and profit but it is a leverage point of a major business area. It indirectly influences a business by providing a basis for customer loyalty. For ex. Park Avenue, a brand extension of Raymonds launched in mid eighties. It is a linchpin brand for Raymonds because it has extended the Raymonds credibility in different businesses from ready-to-wear trousers to mens toiletries. Silver bullet: A silver bullet is a brand or sub-brand that positively influence the image of another brand. It can be a powerful force in creating, changing and maintaining a brand image. e.g.. When IBM ThinkPad was launched it has provided a significant boast in public perception of the IBM brand. Another example is the Positioning ofForhanss Fiouride as having branded feature of being foamy rather than just protect gums and teeth. It has served to make credible claim that Forhans had achieved another breakthrough in oral care industry. Cash cow brand: Strategic, Linchpin and Silver bullet brands involve investments and active management for fulfilling their strategic mission. The cash cow brands, in contrast, do not require any investment because it has a significant loyal customer

base. The role of a cash cow brand is to generate marginal resources that can be invested in other brands, which will help for future growth and vitality of brand portfolio. e.g; Nivea cream the core product of Nivea, a brand that has been extended to variety of skin care and related products.

Product market context roles:

For deciding effective brand architecture, the product market context roles of the group of brands must be well defined and coordinated. There are four steps of product market context roles that work together to define a specific offering and these are: a) Endorser and sub-brands roles: An endorser brand is an established brand that provides credibility and substance to the offering. Endorser brands usually represents organizations rather than products because organizational associations such as innovation, leadership and trust are particularly relevant in endorsement context for ex. Nestea and Nescafe create associations with its mother brand Nestle and Mcchicken, Mcburgers, Mctikki, etc. from Mcdonalds. Tata has 80 different companies operating i n seven business sectors, which are endorsed under the mega-brand TATA. The sub-brands on the other hand stretches endorser brands that add associations, a brand personality or any other quality which creates brand identity of it for ex. Nestles Cerelac, Gillettes Sensor and Cadburys Bournvita. The understanding and use of endorser brand and sub-brands is a key in achieving clarity, synergy and leverage in the brand portfolio. b) Benefit brands: The benefit brand is a brand which offers either features, component ingredients or services which becomes the unique selling proposition (USP) of offering. e.g Dietcoke, Dabur amla, and Neem & Margo soaps have branded component and gradient and American express, Life insurance corporation (LIC) and Taj group of hotels have the branded services associated with their names. c) Co-Brands: Co-branding occurs when brands from different organizations combine to create an offering in which each plays a driver role. The impact of co-branding can be greater than expected when the associations of each brand are strong and complementary. A research study of Kodak showed that for a fictional entertainment device 20% of the prospect said that they would buy the product under the Kodak name and 20% would buy the device under Sony name, but 80% would buy the product if it carries both the names. d) Driver role: Driver role is an extent to which a brand drives the purchase decision and defines the use experience. brand with a driver role will have some level of loyalty. Brand architecture involves selecting the set of brands to be assigned a major driver role; those brands will have priority in brand building. A driver brand is usually a master-brand or sub-brands but endorser and second and third level sub brands can have some driver roles.for ex. Cadburys has two sub-brands Dairymilk and Bournvita, which have the major driver roles for selling. or Nirma tikia and Nirma washing powder, which is operating in the market with value for money as its major driving role.

Brand portfolio structure:

The brands in the portfolio have a relationship with each other. Brand architecture also involves designing a structure of all the brands, which will provide clarity to the customer rather than complexity and confusion. It must provide a sense of order, purpose and direction to the organization. Three approaches can be utilized to present the portfolio structure. Brand groupings: A brand grouping is a logical grouping of brands that have meaningful characteristics in common. The groups provide logic to the brand portfolio and help its growth overtime e.g. in case of Johnson and Johnson Ltd., the brand grouping can be made using following characteristics. Segment (Infant Care and Intimate Feminine Care) Product (Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals)
Design (Classic and Contemporary)

. Brand hierarchy trees: Sometimes the brand portfolio structure can be captured by brand hierarchy trees. The brand hierarchy tree structure looks like an organization chart with both horizontal and vertical dimensions. The horizontal dimensions reflect the sub-brands and endorsed brands that reside under a brand umbrella. The vertical dimension captures the number of brands and sub-brands that are needed for different segments of the market. e.g. Colgate, the hierarchy tree for the Colgate oral care shows that Colgate name covers toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss and other oral hygiene products. Again under toothbrush it has brands like plus, precision, classic, youth and colour change. Under Colgate plus toothbrush it has brands like diamond head and "the wild ones". The brand hierarchy tree presentation provides perspective to help evaluate the brand architecture. A successful brand architecture makes a range of offerings both to the customers and to those inside the organisation. Having a logical hierarchy structure among sub-brands helps generate the clarity. Brand range: Brand architecture also involves deciding the range of portfolio brands. It throws light on the some issues like how far a brand (Mega-brand or sub-brand) should be stretched horizontally in the brand hierarchy tree? How far should they be stretched vertically in to the different markets? The brand range can be described for each brand in the portfolio that spans product classes or has the potential to do so. The above issues must be analyzed by organizations by distinguishing between the brands in its role as an endorser and master brand and recognize that sub-brands and co-brands can play a key role in leveraging brands. So in nutshell, for any firm the objectives behind designing and maintaining an effective brand architecture are: Create effective and powerful brands. Understand the portfolio roles of each brand (strategic, silverbullet, linchpin and cashcow) and allocate the brand building resources in that manner. Create synergy between brands by enhancing visibility, creating and reinforcing associations and cost efficiencies. Advance clarity of product offering to the customers and organization. Leveraging the brand equity by proper brand and line extensions exercise. Provide a platform for future growth option to the organisation


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