The Brand Relationship Spectrum: The Key to the Brand Architecture Challenge

by David Aaker, Erich Joachimsthaler



The classic brand manager dealt with simple brand structures in part because he or she was faced with a relatively simple environment and simple business strategies. Today the situation is far different. Brand managers now face market fragmentation, channel dynamics, global realities, and business environments that have drastically changed their task. In addition, there is pressure to leverage brand assets because of the prohibitive cost of creating new brands. This set of challenges has created a new discipline called "brand architecture." A coherent brand architecture can lead to impact, clarity, synergy, and leverage rather than market weakness, confusion, waste, and missed opportunities. Brand architecture is an organizing structure of the brand portfolio that specifies brand roles and the nature of relationships between brands. This article introduces a powerful brand architecture tool, the "brand relationship spectrum." It is intended to help brand architecture strategists employ insight and subtlety to subbrands, endorsed brands, and their alternatives. Subbrands and endorsed brands can play a key role in creating a coherent and effective brand architecture.

California Management Review

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