Why is the brand architecture needed?

Every brand manager should be familiar with four basic strategies and nine sub-strategies of brand architecture. With brand architecture companies specify the brands’ roles and the nature of relationships between brands. A brand relationship spectrum is a tool that offers companies to design a new offering without risking image dilution.

Aaker and Joachimsthaler define brand architecture as an organizing structure of the brand portfolio that specifies brand roles and the nature of relationships between brands (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000, p. 8). Others see brand architecture more general as an integrated process of brand building through establishing brand relationships in the competitive environment (Rajagopal and Sanchez, 2004, p. 233). And the main reason why would an organisation needs brand architecture seems to be the definitions of the companies brand or brands and their description (Bernstein, 2006, p. 13).

One of the most powerful tools in a well develop brand architecture is the brand relationship spectrum as presented by Aaker and Joachimsthaler (figure below). Without this powerful tool, the “new offering of companies would be limited largely to either building a new brand (an expensive and difficult proposition) or extending an existing brand (and thereby risk image dilution).” (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000, p. 10). This is why brand architecture is needed in companies.

As seen in the figure below we are able to differentiate four basic brand strategies and nine sub-strategies in the brand relationship strategies. Companies must understand each of these strategies if they hope to design effective brand strategies (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000, p. 10).

Figure: Brand Relationship Spectrum with examples


Aaker, David A. and Joachimsthaler, Erich. 2000. The Brand Relationship Spectrum: The Key to the Brand Architecture Challenge. California Management Review: 42/4, p. 8-23.
Bernstein, Laurence. 2006. Scaling Mt. Logo. Marketing Magazine: 111/4, p. 13.
Rajagopal and Sanchez, Romulo. 2004. Conceptual analysis of brand architecture and relationships within product categories. Journal of Brand Management: 11/3, p. 233-247.


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