Unpacking the definition
Companies who always remain in one particular industry are likely to utilise this model of brand architecture. The company is known within its field and any sub brands are therefore easily recognisable.
Often companies start out with this approach, with acquisitions and changes in company structures happening more organically over time when opportunities arise.
From a design perspective there are two main approaches to a branded house. The first is where the master logo retains its prominence. An example of this approach would be FedEx. The second is where the sub brand identity takes prominence. An example of this would be Microsoft.
FedEx as a branded house
All the FedEx sub brands are within the same industry, but for different audiences. FedEx Freight, Ground, Office and Trade networks all sit below the FedEx brand. The tone of voice is the same, but the brand split ensures that the customer knows they are dealing with the correct branch of the company. The sub brands have a ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’ vibe, with descriptive labels to match.
Microsoft as a branded house
Microsoft aren’t quite as strict with the branded house method as a company such as FedEx, perhaps due to their numerous acquisitions. However, most of the home grown brands have a very similar structure and vibe. Microsoft often also incorporate their name into their prominent sub brands, for example MS Office and Microsoft Bing (rebranded in 2020).
Interested in brand architecture? We’ve also written a blog post on what a house of brands is.