Build A Brand On Amazon – Branding Structures

Picture of Author: Martyn N.

Author: Martyn N.

Hi! I’m Martyn, a full-time Amazon E-Commerce Manager with over 5 years of experience selling and managing a wide range of products for various small businesses on Amazon.

Deciding on your branding structure

You have three types of brand structures in relation to your business: Monolithic, Endorsed and Pluralistic.

Monolithic Brands

Monolithic are brands that rely on a single overarching brand as the main brand with smaller sub-brands branching off.

For example, Google’s products are all using Google’s overarching brand as leverage – Google search, Google Maps, Google books, Google translate and so on.

Imagine how much more difficult it would have been to build trust in a maps or translation software if you didn’t even know if was from Google!

Endorsed Brands

Endorsed brands are brands that stand on their own, but still have the visible endorsement of a larger parent brand.

For instance, Kellogg’s cereal brands often have a little “Kellogg’s” above the brand’s logo to further reinforce confidence into the “child brand”.

This is particularly potent when you have an existing brand that is already established in your market and you want to fast-track the development of a secondary brand – often a more specialized brand – by leveraging the existing reputation of the parent brand.

The difference between monolithic and endorsed structures is that endorsed brands do not fully associate their identity with the parent brand – for instance, while Nestle might be the endorsing brand for sub-brands like the cereals Nesquik or Cheerios, it lets these brand be the major focus point instead of branding itself as the main brand.

So in this case, you’d still hear someone say that they are buying “Cheerios” and not “Nestle Cheerios” whereas you wouldn’t have someone refer to “Google Maps” as just “Maps”.

Endorsed brands are not very common on Amazon, especially for small sellers, as the parent brand often needs to reach a high level of development before child brands can make use of this endorsement – else it might be confusing for the customer, as instead of being faced with one unknown brand, they are faced with two.

Pluralistic/Parent-silent Brands

Pluralistic brands, or parent-silent brands, are brands that are not actively presented as being part of a main group.

A famous example is the conglomerate Procter and Gamble, who have brands like Pampers, Pringles, Gillette and Ariel, but which no customer directly associates with P&G.

So why would you want to separate your brands? Why not link them all together so each can benefit from the development of the others?

This kind of brand architecture is useful when a company wants to enter markets with similar product categories – or product categories that fit the company’s business type – but which require a different brand personality and promise.

Remember our example with BRITA in lesson 1? Well, the parent company for BRITA happens to be the Clorox Company.

You might have heard of the brand Clorox – in case you haven’t, it is a brand that offers chemical drain cleaning products.

Not really a great name for a water purifier, though, is it?

While Clorox might be a great brand to promise powerful chemical cleaning, no one wants to associate drinking water with potentially harmful chemicals.

However, the parent company benefits from its expertise and operational setups to provide solutions in the general domain of water management systems – both drainage and purification. This is why it made complete sense to tap into both markets and create two separate, unrelated brands to appeal to the different customer segments.

For your business on Amazon, you might find yourself in a similar situation, where your business can also tap into somewhat similar product categories with different customer expectations, in which case you would want to separate your brands to ensure that each one is specialized for its target market.

So which brand structure is right for you?

If you’re a small-scale seller, then I highly recommend to go for a single brand first and as you look to explore more markets, adopt a pluralistic approach – the other two are only particularly good once you have developed a famous and strong reputation within your industry.

By having a separate brand for each market, you can focus your brands on their respective customers without the hassle of potential mismatch or drawbacks from conflicting brand identities.

This is especially the case if you have a business advantage which you can leverage across a range of different markets.

As mentioned before, this is the case for Clorox, where their expertise in all sorts of water purification allows them to compete in vastly different markets with completely different requirements and thus, require completely different brands and identities.

Alright, so we know about branding structures. What’s next?

Let’s get into the meaty bit – a part that if you already are an Amazon seller and followed any seller’s advice out there, you most definitely have heard of.

A part so important that it has to be done even if you want to sell one product and have no interest in building a brand (but trust me, it’s essential.)

Market research.

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