Brand Hierarchy

6 Ways Your Brand Hierarchy Helps or Hinders Your Business Growth

Do you sometimes feel as if branding strategy is overly complex and a bit challenging to apply so making it more difficult for you to get the results you need to grow your business? In truth, phrases like brand hierarchy and brand architecture can sound abstract to those less familiar with the processes and outcomes they deliver to drive businesses forward.

The fact is though, just as you wouldn’t build a house without the right plans in hand, it’s not possible to build a successful, durable brand without a robust brand strategy underpinning it. 

Brand hierarchy – which is sometimes also known as brand architecture – explains how the different parts of your brand fit together. It helps you avoid confused customers, and staff, as well as enabling you to maximise up-sells and cross-sells. This becomes even more important as your brand and business grows in size. That is why it is important to develop your brand hierarchy sooner rather than later, so you avoid costly mistakes. 

The reason why it’s important to get this essential development work done before a brand grows is because it becomes much more difficult and costly to change your brand hierarchy later. 

branding strategy

© Persona Design

Below we are sharing six of the essential factors relating to brand hierarchy or brand architecture. When these factors are applied effectively to your own brand or brands they help you achieve higher sales, expand your market share and build robust brand intellectual property assets.

Related: Brand Strategy, 6 Tips for Building Your Profit Growth Plan 

1. Brand Hierarchy Helps Customers Understand Your Value Proposition Clearly

A brand hierarchy performs as a type of navigational tool for your customers because they use it to calibrate your brand against other buying options they have. The clearer it is, the easier it is for them to find their way to a choice in which your brand best fits their needs or wants. 

This is clearly illustrated in the way many successful brands adopt a “good, better, best” approach. That allows them to satisfy needs at all levels of the market. Having a mid-market brand, a budget version and a premium version is sometimes done under a single brand name, in which case it is known as a master brand hierarchy. 

A well-known example of a master brand hierarchy is the brand Apple. As well as its premium offerings, Apple offers its lower-priced products under the Apple brand. Other strategies entail using separate sub-brands for different tiers within its range – as for example with Avast, Avast Premium and Avast Ultimate. 

Brand Hierarchy

Image via Adweek © Apple

Sometimes a brand owner will decide to use different branding entirely for its product range. This is known as a ‘house of brands or independent brands’ as seen for example in the brand portfolio; Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. 

Brand Hierarchy

Image via Fortune

Whatever approach is taken, a clear brand hierarchy helps customers navigate to the right choice, leading to less lost sales or frustrated customers. A strong brand hierarchy within your brand strategy also enables you to market your product or services far more effectively.

A case study is the blended whisky Johnnie Walker. It uses a consistent master brand hierarchy, but separate different colour palettes are assigned to sub-brands equating to different price points. The King George V product has such a different price point it sits outside the main sub-brands. But by keeping it all under Johnnie Walker, the brand owner can apply a serious marketing budget.

Related: Brand Hierarchy Fundamentals for Multiple Brands To Avoid Confused Customers or Stagnant Sales

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Persona Unstoppable In Uncertainty Masterclass

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

  1. Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
  2. Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind here. This is a live, interactive programme online where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy for business growth. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand-building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
  3. Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here

2. An Effective Product Pipeline Needs a Strong Brand Hierarchy

While some brands can stand still, most brands need a pipeline of new products or services to adapt to evolving marketplaces. Even a supposedly simple brand like WD-40 has a large range of product innovations at any given time. 

Brand Hierarchy

Image via © WD40 Company

But launching new brands, brand extensions or sub-brands ad hoc can damage a brand overall. It also reduces the likelihood of success for the new launch. In truth, this is a common problem and one I’ve seen with countless numbers of SME/SMB clients and customers worldwide.

A strong brand hierarchy enables you to match the pipeline to your brand assets and business growth strategy. You wouldn’t launch a new product if you didn’t have the technical know-how to produce it. Similarly, you shouldn’t launch a new product or service if you don’t have or can’t develop the right brand assets to support it.

Related: Brand Innovation – How to Identify New Growth Opportunities 

3. Deciding How to Maximise the Value of New Brand Assets is Much Easier with a Strong Brand Hierarchy

Often a brand will inadvertently generate new assets over time through organic ad hoc growth. For example, customers ask you to tweak your existing product or service and at some stage you realise that you have basically generated a separate offering. 

A lot of B2B service firms experience this, as client requests move their offerings into adjacent areas which can end up being quite different, though connected. The same applies to firms developing new technology. 

Sometimes it makes sense to keep it in-house, but sometimes it works better spun out as a separate brand. The right brand hierarchy helps make these difficult decisions easier and more data-driven, so you can maximise return on your investment and achieve higher sales.

A case study is UK software SME Gladstone. Gladstone is itself a sub-brand of software house Jonas Software. Gladstone specialises in leisure management software. As clients used that leisure software management, an adjacent opportunity emerged for software which enabled the measurement of corporate and public sector health initiatives. 

However, rather than confuse the Gladstone brand, the company decided to launch a new brand for this related but separate opportunity, which it named iMPACT. This allows the Gladstone brand to maintain its clearly defined brand hierarchy, while capitalising on the initiative measurement opportunity with the iMPACT brand.

Related: How to Use Brand Building and Culture Integration to Unlock More Value from Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures

Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy, so you can effectively maximise your brand hierarchy to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value, so you can command a premium. 

In fact, the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results, so you can grow your business faster and more effectively. 

The programme enables you to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers, so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in-house bespoke Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensives working with you and your team, so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724

brand strategy“We participated in the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind Programme online. The 12-week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.

We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.

The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.

Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each live working session and the half-day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.

In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019 and after reopening April 2020 we were back to 108% by the end of May 2020 — results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”

Sinead Heffernan

Managing Director

Thunders Bakery

Sinead Heffernan
Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

4. Brand Hierarchy Forces Clarity About Your Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is important because it enables you to differentiate more strongly relative to your competitors. Despite that, a lot of brands limp along without it. It might seem tempting to do the same, and focus instead on urgent needs in manufacturing, invoicing, sales and the other concerns that are pressing for many business owners. Tempting though it may seem, that seriously limits your prospects of success. it also reduces you to constantly competing on price.

Evaluating your brand hierarchy enables you to think about what your brand stands for and how it is positioned, so you can maximise your profit margins. Without a compelling brand hierarchy you are reduced to a commodity offering, competing on replicable factors such as pricing or features. A brand hierarchy elevates you above this by helping you communicate what makes your brand uniquely well suited to user needs or wants, compared to competitors.

Related: How to Build a Premium Tech Brand so You’re Not Just Competing on Features, Benefits and Price Discounts

brand strategy

“For anyone who has a well-established business I would totally recommend working with Persona Design because it will provide them with a new perspective on how to think of their brand. You see in different markets and industries that are overly competitive what makes the difference is knowing what exactly your business is all about and why people would choose you instead of any other competitor.


What makes you different from all the other service or product providers in the market because that’s what’s going to make your business be the No.1 choice in the range of those specific products or services that you’re providing. Also, that’s what’s going to make your brand stand out and have a long-lasting life, and thrive in the context of where you’re operating and delivering value. So totally go for it!


This framework provides you with a lot of insight and more than that, with a systematic process that’s easy for you to understand, easy for you to grasp, easy for you to work with so you finally nail what makes you different in your business, and what you are about and what those key points are that resonate with your audience.”


Camelia Păduraru


Crafting Minds

Camelia Păduraru

5. A Clear Brand Hierarchy Makes Your Go-to-Market Strategy Clearer too

It can take a lot of time and organizational resources to make go-to-market decisions. What sorts of outlets, platforms or ecosystems you should use for routes to market and distribution, where you want to appear, how your pricing is pitched and similar topics are all major decisions that can be difficult to get right. 

A strong brand hierarchy provides the guide rails which answer, or help to answer, most of these questions. That enables you to focus time and effort on executing your go-to-market strategy well, not agonizing over it with hit-and-miss results or wasted resources.

Brand Hierarchy

Image via © Dulux Decorator Centre

A case study is paint maker Dulux. Its B2B Dulux Trade Paint is only available through trade channels. Its B2C Dulux and Dulux Professional products are available in retail channels. This is quite smart thinking – “Dulux Professional” makes retail customers feel they are getting trade quality paint, but tradesmen still feel they can differentiate themselves as only they can easily buy Dulux Trade Paint. Professional and retail users have different needs, product skills and budgets usually, so this allows a single master brand to stretch across both markets.

Related: How to Use Brand Positioning to Build Brand Impact in an Overcrowded Market

“Lorraine’s depth of knowledge in branding is immense. I have attended some of her courses and also see first hand the benefits Persona Branding & Design can bring to a business. I am always happy to recommend Lorraine.”

Ruaidhri Prendergast

Co-Founder, Author

Pinpoint Local

Ruaidhri Prendergast

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.

  1. Schedule a chat — we can meet in person online
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  3. And perhaps implement the plan together  
  4. Contact us [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind. 

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value;

— make the complex easy as ABC, so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales

— Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium, so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.

Ask about the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind — live, interactively, face-to-face online.

6. Brand Hierarchy Helps You Optimize Your Brand’s Profitability

For most brands, the key benefit of a brand hierarchy is the ability to optimize profitability. Typically, different groups of customers are willing to spend at different levels on your product or service. A single, undifferentiated brand strategy often means that you lose some potential customers, as well as leaving money on the table with others. 

A great example of this is the wine trade. Think about what happens when you go into a wine shop. Many customers struggle to differentiate between different brands and price points, so simply set a fairly arbitrary budget and use that budget to narrow down their consideration set, before plumping for a product whose quality they often don’t know but guess. Not only are shoppers frequently disappointed, they also spend less than they would if more wine brands used better constructed brand hierarchies.

A strong brand hierarchy structure enables you to repurpose the same set of basic assets to deliver against brand expectations for different customer groups or purchaser personas, with different pricing expectations and budgets. This enables you to serve a wider market, profitably. You can serve multiple levels at multiple price points, rather than having potential consumers turn away, or buyers all flock to your standard priced offering.

Brand Hierarchy

Image via Metro

A B2C service case study is the banking group NatWest. It operates a range of brands for local customers such as Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, premium brands aimed at high net worth customers such as Coutts and Adam & Co, and brands which appeal to trade customers such as Lombard Finance. Using the same basic backend systems, the company is able to straddle a wide variety of B2B and B2C customers offering different value propositions from full service private banking downwards.

Related: 7 Ways Brand Collateral Helps You Grow Your B2B Business Profitably Even in a Hostile Market

“An excellent programme that provides an informative guide on how to structure your brand’s development whether you are launching a new brand, refreshing an existing one and/or conducting a review of your brand to ascertain possible weaknesses.”

Ciarán Barry


Broadview Ventures

Ciarán Barry

Final Thoughts

A brand hierarchy, or brand architecture, can seem perhaps like a superfluous distraction when there are so many pressing demands and multiple tasks in building your business. In fact, a brand hierarchy is a simple but powerful tool that will help your business perform better both now and in the future. 

It helps you set out your stall, avoid confusion internally and externally, so your target users are more likely to choose you over competitors. A brand hierarchy makes go-to-market choices easier and enables not only more sales but also more profitable ones with easier up-sells and cross-sells.

A brand hierarchy, like a house foundation, is best laid sooner not later. Consider how to move forward with your own well-structured brand hierarchy today, so you can achieve higher revenue whilst also building your brand IP asset value.

Questions to Consider

  1. What truly sets you apart from other brands your target users might consider buying?
  2. How effectively do you compete at different price points in your business category?
  3. Does your current brand hierarchy strategy enable you to identify potential new opportunities for your brand to increase revenue in the future?
  4. How clear are you about your brand positioning relative to your competitors?
  5. Does your current branding strategy help or hinder your go-to-market strategy?
  6. Do you have brand assets that would resonate particularly well with a certain section of your target market?
  7. Could you use a brand audit to re-evaluate your business to identify its strengths, vulnerabilities, and, most importantly, new opportunities for innovation and growth whilst also making your brand hierarchy stronger, so you can increase your profits?
Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

Your Persona Client Satisfaction Guarantee

  1. When you work with us we’ll create a customised brand-building plan and strategy with clear investment for you tailored to your specific requirements and preferences
  2. You’ll know each step of your brand building journey before we start because we’ll discuss it, document it and agree on it with you before work commences
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Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand, so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind. 

Email us [email protected] or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Re-Evaluation.

 “Having worked with Lorraine on a number of events and projects, I knew that taking part in the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind programme was going to open my eyes to how my brand could be mapped out and developed to help the business grow. 

I had no idea just how much of an impact the programme would have in helping me to shape my whole business strategy and lay the foundations for my future plans. By evaluating my brand, defining and putting structure on what we do and why, it enabled me to map out the direction for where the business and brand is headed.

All the worksheets, tools and resources you receive are very thorough and Lorraine gets a great sense of what your business is and what you are trying to achieve, so her guidance is tailored to you. 

I would highly recommend working with Persona Design to any entrepreneur/SME that is striving for success.” 

Fiona Kelly

Founder, Conference & Events Director

Zoom In & The Executive PA Forum

Fiona Kelly