Brand Architecture in Services: The Example of Retail Financial Services

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The term "brand architecture" refers to an organisation's approach to the design and management of its brand portfolio. In particular, brand architecture decisions are concerned with the number of brands to utilise, the role of specific brands and the relationship between such brands. It has been posited that services organisations tend to adopt a corporate brand approach to the management of their brand architecture, having a propensity to rely, in the main, on one overarching brand. The study reported here investigates this contention in the context of financial services, using a number of semi-structured interviews with senior marketing managers. Findings indicate that although some support for the corporate branded approach was apparent, the dominant strategy is a "multi-corporate" approach, where the brand architecture comprised a family of main brands. The main motivations for such an approach are to maintain strong relationship franchises with different customer groups and/or to signal distinct competencies to the marketplace. As expected, the data shows little support for the approach of branding individual services or the wide-scale use of sub-brands.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2003

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