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Consumer perceptions of brand architecture in financial services

James F. Devlin (Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, UK)
Sally McKechnie (Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




“Brand architecture” is an organisation's approach to the design and management of its brand portfolio. Previous research, focused on the views of practitioners, identified a “multi‐corporate” approach in financial services, where a “family of main brands” was incorporated into an organisation's brand portfolio, often in the form of brands traditionally associated with separate companies. The current study seeks to provide contrasting insights from consumer data and to highlight the conceptual and practical implications of the findings.


A qualitative methodology was adopted for the study incorporating six focus groups containing an average of nine participants.


The findings from the current study offer empirical support for the conceptualisation of the corporate brand playing a predominant role in services markets. In doing so, the findings also suggest that the alternative conceptualization of a “multi‐corporate” approach advocated by practitioners and identified previously is not validated by consumer‐based research.

Research limitations/implications

The context of the study reported may be limited by its restriction to a single category, financial services.

Practical implications

Practitioners' rationales for maintaining multiple brands are, in the main, undermined by the views of consumers. Organisations should consider rationalising their brand architecture in order to benefit from significant cost savings.


The consumer perspective on brand architecture is significantly under‐researched and as a result this paper provides valuable insights, and a significant contribution to existing literature.



Devlin, J.F. and McKechnie, S. (2008), "Consumer perceptions of brand architecture in financial services", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 5/6, pp. 654-666.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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