A Quick and Fun Way to Understand Brand Architecture

While humans are trying to keep their families small all over the world, brands are going the opposite way. No matter how big the brands become, they have reasons and the willingness to be more prominent. Their families are getting so big that they have to come up with new nomenclatures to define the various structures—called the brand architecture. Here are the three of the most common brand architecture types.

House of Brands

In this type of brand architecture, the parent company likes to stay in the back. It’s like a lion watching its cubs frolicking from a distance. The lion is not there, but it is there. In this architecture, each brand builds its own identity and the relation with the parent brand is like a long distance. Take the example of General Motors from the US that owns Opel, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Mazda, Jeep, etc. Not many people know that General Motors is behind those brands. In Singapore, Spa Esprit Group is another example of the house of brands architecture, its portfolio of brands includes Browhaus, Strip, Tiong Bahru Bakery, Skinny Pizza, etc.

A Branded House

This route is the jolly father who likes to photobomb every picture of his children, i.e., it’s everywhere with its children. The relation of parent brand with its children brand is very close. Whether it is packaging, logo or another element of marketing, you will see the parent brand being marketed with the child brand. Read the names of these brands and speak out loud which brand you think is the parent brand here: Virgin Café, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Digital, etc. You are right; the parent brand is Virgin here. Another example of this architecture is GE with GE Real Estate, GE Oil & Gas, GE Power & Water, GE Capital, etc. as its sub-brands.


Take the characteristics of the branded house and house of brands architecture and blend them to form the hybrid structure. It’s like the moody friend who is sometimes happy to go anywhere with you and at times, it never even picks up your call. A great example of this architecture is Banyan Tree with its brands Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts, Angsana Hotel & Resorts, Cassia, etc. Walt Disney is also a great example of Disney Channel, Disney Nature, Disney Junior, PIXAR, ABC, ESPN, etc. as its sub-brands.

Bottom Line

So, now you know that brands like to have larger families (due to innovations, mergers, and acquisitions). What you need to understand here is that every structure they choose is for a reason. Sometimes, the papa brand wants his authority to be recognized whereas, at other times, he just likes to show his kids that he is there for them as a support. And as you know, some parents just want to let their kids explore the world and be a “big man” on their own.

Watch out for our next article where we will delve deeper into each brand architecture route.