23 MAR

Branded House vs. House of Brands vs. House Blend

In many organizations there is a silent war taking place. It may not even be a battle that you are aware of. It is the struggle between consistent branding and diversification. One side focuses on the categorization of a single branding while the other two focus of the branding of multiple categories. Believe it or not, you probably come into contact with all three branding architectures every day:

  1. The “Branded House” – In this methodology, the company is the brand. All products and services within that company will be subsets of the primary brand. A good example of a branded house is Apple. They use a singular name across all of their activities. To all of their stakeholders they are know simply as “Apple”. They may have different categories/divisions (iPod, Mac, iTunes, iPhone, etc…) but they all have to fall under the scrutiny of existing branding strategies and standards.
  2. The “House of Brands” – This architecture focuses of the branding of multiple sub-brands while the primary brand gets little or no attention. Proctor & Gamble is a perfect example. Under P&G there are dozens of brands, including Pampers, Duracell, Gillette, and Tide just to name a few. However, P&G gets very little prominence of itself, and adds no real credibility to any of it’s products.
  3. The “House Blend” – This is an architecture based on the development of sub-brands with the added credibility of the the existing parent brand. Google, for example, started as a search engine then continued to establish the primary brand through offerings such as Gmail, Calendar, and Maps. Eventually, they began to acquire other, smaller tech companies such as Blogger, Picasa, and YouTube. These acquisitions maintained their existing brands but gained credibility through the primary brand of Google.

What’s the right choice?

Keep in mind that all three architectures are strategically sound. However, each organization needs to choose the methodology that fits. Making the wrong choice can have disastrous results.

Smaller organizations that are still focusing on gaining market share need to choose the architecture that will help them grow the fastest. A “House Blend” is most often the wrong choice in these cases. House blends thrive on the credibility of the parent brand. If a smaller company has a product or service that they would like to introduce into their existing structure, it’s usually a good idea to create a sub-category of their existing brand rather that creating a new brand for that product or service. This makes a “Branded House” architecture an excellent choice.

Also, non-profit, experience-based organizations such as churches thrive on branding simplicity. For example, in a church with multiple ministries it can be tempting to create a new brand/logo for each division (House of Brands or House Blend). However, this creates internal competition. Each brand begs for attention from the attendee and struggles to be recognized as “part” of the main brand. Many times, each ministry feels the responsibility to develop their own brand, which can consume an enormous amount of energy. Instead, try focusing on your main brand and simply categorizing ministries under that brand. For example, if Faith Church has a children’s ministry, it wouldn’t have it’s own name…it would simply be the “Faith Church Children’s Ministry”.

Conclusion

Choosing the correct branding architecture is crucial to the success of your business or organization. Research your market and the success of your competition. Determine what is expected from your company. Then, stand by your decision by developing guidelines on branding usage to guarantee consistency.

2 Comments

Murray 5:08 pm - 20th April:

Hi Adam, is it possible for an organization to have both a branded house and a house of brands?

Adam 12:35 am - 4th May:

Good question, Murray. I think a Blended House is a great possibility. However, it’s imperative that ANY brand start off with a Branded House mentality. Building a single brand to maturity is much easier than developing a family of brands. After the single brand is stable, it’s a viable option to develop an addition brand within that brand (aka. Blended House). Just make sure that your primary brand is very well established and will not be negatively affected by the second.

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