What is the difference between a Brand and an Organization?

If you have a clothing website, and you sell clothes and shoes from popular names like Adidas, Reebok, Puma, etc. When displaying these names in a list would you mark them up as a Brand or an Organization?

Would Brand be the name that you are selling or would it be a specific line of shoes or line of jackets (for example) of that company?

So if the user clicks on my Adidas link, it goes to a details page with a short description about Adidas and a list of all the products on the website from Adidas. So is Adidas marked up as a Brand or an Organization?

3 Answers 3


The difference might become clearer for cases where the organization name is not identical to the brand name.

For example, consider the company Lenovo (Organization) which owns the brand ThinkPad (Brand). A specific ThinkPad product (Product) manufactured by Lenovo could be marked up like this:

<article vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Product">
  <h1 property="name">ThinkPad X60</h1>
  <div property="manufacturer" typeof="Organization">
    <span property="name">Lenovo</span>
  <div property="brand" typeof="Brand">
    <span property="name">ThinkPad</span>

If you want to display both, the manufacturer and the brand, you could of course use the same structure also in cases where the organization/manufacturer name is identical to (one of) their brand names. Albeit named the same, a brand and its owner are still separate entities.

To prevent the visible duplication, you could use meta/link elements to hide one of the instances (in the case of JSON-LD, this is not relevant, of course), or you could consider using both types together (but that might be problematic, depending on syntax/consumer).

If you want to provide more data about one of these entities, you have to consider what exactly you are talking about. For example, a Brand can’t have a PostalAddress etc. Given that the Brand type has only few properties defined, you can’t provide that much data about it anyway.

  • Your opinion on @Andrew Lott's answer? Lots of clothing websites have a brands section where they list the names of the organizations as the brands. Mar 10, 2016 at 12:08
  • @BrendanVogt: I guess his answer and mine come to the same conclusion: which type to choose depends on the information you want to provide. -- Clothing websites: I’d say these would be Brand item then; but without seeing an example, it’s hard to say.
    – unor
    Mar 10, 2016 at 12:39
  • For clothing/products, I don't see much value in including Organization in the microdata; if you're buying Tylenol, then the company who manufactured it doesn't really matter. In other cases it may even confuse things; when buying a Maytag appliance you don't need to see Whirlpool just because they own the Maytag brand. Mar 11, 2016 at 10:42

Usually Organization represents a company itself (school, NGO, corporation, club, etc.) whereas a Brand represents a product or service. In many cases these may be the same, e.g. Adidas; but not always, e.g. Tylenol, a brand sold by the organization/company Johnson & Johnson.

So, which you should use depends on what you're writing about. If you are selling Adidas shoes then Adidas is the Brand, but if you're writing an article about the company's profits then Adidas would be the Organization.


Unor has given a great answer but I'd also like to add something -

Schema.org gives this simple definition of Brand from markups perspective and this definition seems very logical.

A brand is a name used by an organization or business person for labeling a product, product group, or similar.

So in your case, every shoe which is being sold belongs to a brand. While marking up that content you must specify the brand value as itemprop and parent property itemtype as an organization. For Example:

 <span itemprop="brand" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization">
   <span itemprop="name">Addidas</span>

For more properties of Brand schema, please check this link.

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