Brand Modeling

Business models define revenue generation; brand models define growth trajectory

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Brand modeling is charting a brand’s growth territory. Once a brand establishes its presence in the market, the challenge becomes to capture a larger market share (and to defend its current market share). In mature markets, like CPG or fashion or consumer tech, brands grow by expanding in other product categories. This expansion increases a brand’s hold on the market and fend off new market entrants by putting forward a full range of offerings. A full range of offerings - a brand portfolio - is a way for a brand to build multiple presence with different target audiences and competitive contexts and to differentiate its offerings.

There are six brand growth models.

Product brands. A brand equals one or several product lines. The entire portfolio has a high degree of freedom in management of individual brands, and individual brands operate independently from each other. There is little coordination in advertising, brand values, aesthetics or brand promise. The key focus here is commercial success of the overall portfolio. Example: LVMH

Umbrella brand. In this brand growth model, there is an overarching umbrella and a common name to a highly diversified product range. Umbrella is often provided by a founder. Examples are: Tesla and Amazon.

Masterbrand. This growth model is similar to the umbrella brand, but masterbrand provides more than a common name: it sets a shared mission, defines a set of values and puts forward a signature aesthetic, all of which are present, visible and easily recognizable in all brands’ products.

Maker’s Mark. A brand is a discreet symbol of quality and authority. Its goal is to create a recognizable sign that identifies the corporation behind it. The sign is mostly a B2B tactic.

Endorsing brand. In this growth model, a portfolio is united by a same set of values, for example commitment to sustainability. Similar to product brands, endorsing brand scenario provides a full independence to its brands. Unlike to product brands, it also unites them under the same corporate practices. Example: Kering

Source brand. A brand provides a “source code” for all new product categories and future sub-brands. A brand that used to stand for one category, like apparel or face cream, is now a source of values, quality, mission and aesthetics for sub-brands that are created by way of expansion into new product categories. Example: L’Oreal


Last month, I was a guest lecturer at The Hotel School at Cornell’s School of Business. We talked about how to root a hospitality brand in one of the quadrants of taste map, what are some good principles for brand growth, and how to operationalize consumer insights into actionable marketing strategy.