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Brand Architecture Explored


Brand Architecture Brand Strategy

We regularly answer marketing questions here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today we hear from Jean, a marketer in Chicago, Illinois who asks this question on brand architecture… 

“We have a recurring disagreement in our company about how to prepare marketing materials for investors. Our parent company is selling ownership interest in new apartment communities that are branded differently, ‘X’ apartments. We have very differing opinions within the company on whether the materials we prepare for investors should have the ‘X’ apartments branding, the parent company branding or some combination of the two. As it stands, in the investor materials when we are referring to the companies history and development strategy, we use the corporate branding. When we’’re referring to the specific project we’’re selling interest in, we use the ‘X’ apartments branding.

Is there any guidance you could give on this?”

Jean, thanks for your question. This is a brand architecture issue. As your website states, your parent company is a national real estate development company. ‘X’ Apartments is one of the parent company’s projects. Given this, it makes sense that there are two levels of branding. The parent company has developed many projects, some of which bear their own names (especially the apartment communities). The way you are treating the branding now makes sense, sending investor materials out from the parent company while referring to individual projects by their names, such as ‘X’ Apartments. The missing piece is how one might talk about both brands as they relate to one another, such as “’X’ Apartments developed by the parent company” or “’X’ Apartments – A (parent company name) Community.” This relationship could be handled in written form only, but one could also link the company brand with the individual project brands as a part of the brand identity system, either as brand/sub-brand (Parent Company/’X’ Apartments) – Think Microsoft or as an endorsed brand (‘X’ Apartments/A Parent Company Name Community) – Think Marriott Hotels.

Jean, you can find more on brand architecture here.

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