Multibrand vs. hub and spoke: Why to migrate Follow

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After reading this article, see Understanding the migration and Steps for migrating for details about migrating to Multibrand.

The Pros and Cons

The new Multibrand feature set is meant to be a replacement for, and improvement for, the Hub and Spoke method for supporting multiple brands. (Hub and spoke is a workaround that allows for multiple Zendesk accounts to be strung together with ticket sharing agreements to manage multiple brands with a single team of agents).

That said, There are some inherent advantages to working with multiple accounts compared to working with a single account. The Multibrand feature set introduces some new kinds of transparency, which is good in most cases, but may be jarring for a team used to working with hub and spoke.

The most important thing to remember is that Zendesk is committed to expanding on Multibrand and improving it, while hub and spoke is more of a workaround, or a legacy system, that we do not plan to support or improve. Migrating is in your best interest in the long term, but you should be aware of its affect, and we understand if immediate migration isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Advantages of Hub and Spoke

Staying on hub and spoke has a few advantages. Most of these will eventually be addressed in updates to Zendesk, but not all of that is decided or planned, so for now use this list as your guide.

  • One Email Template for each brand
  • Allows for one unique SSO protocol for each brand
  • Individual security and user settings for each brand
  • Separate user profiles on each branded account
    • In hub and spoke, your users will never be exposed to your individual brands
    • In multibrand, however, users share a single profile which grants them access to all of your branded Help Centers; this means their password and identities are the same across all of these portals

Advantages of Multibrand

That said, we built multibrand for a reason. There are many, many advantages to having all brands exist within a single account, and this is a thorough (but probably not exhaustive) list.

  • Your agents only need to log into one account to access everything
  • Tickets have a native brand value, instead of relying on tags
  • User data is available in your account and on tickets
  • This was probably the number one complaint about hub and spoke; user didn’t get shared from spoke accounts to the hub
  • Ticket channels are always visible
  • Much like user data, channel data doesn’t transfer from the spoke to the hub, so you can’t tell if you’re answering a tweet or a ticket
  • Centralized reporting for all ticket and user values for
  • Reporting dashboard
  • Insights
  • Help Center stats
  • You can track customer satisfaction
  • Because there’s only one account, you’ll only set up these things once:
    • Ticket fields
    • Triggers
    • Automations
    • Dynamic Content
    • Settings
  • All of these things can be managed on the user now:
    • User tags
    • Organizations
    • Notes and details
    • Identities
  • These two channels work much, much better with multibrand:
    • Voice
    • Chat

Bottom Line

All of the differences between multibrand and hub and spoke stem from a single difference. Hub & spoke relies on multiple Zendesk accounts, while multibrand replies on a single account, differentiating tickets and contact points by relationship to “brands”.

The single biggest result of this difference is how users are handled. We approached this set up because the majority of our users were concerned with not being able to associate user data with tickets. By integrating all of your brands into a single account (with a single pool of users) we provide you all your data in one place.

When users register with your Zendesk, they will be creating a profile for all of your brands. In order to keep confusion down, we will always let customers know that they’ve registered for an account with multiple portals.

Future Development

Zendesk multibrand will eventually take care of many of these concerns. Email templates and SSO will both definitely receive attention in the coming year – we’ll at least be thinking about them, though we have nothing fixed on our roadmap.

Security settings for now will continue to be global across the account (all Help Centers).

The issues with users are ones that we’re aware of, and would like to improve upon, but they represent a much more significant reengineering of our data model, and will take significant time and thought before we can make changes that address these issues.

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  • 0


    Any update on the JWT Payload URL restriction/confinement to only?

  • 0

    Any changes in regards to SSO since May? Specifically, can I segregate the Help Centers? I cant have users from one have access to another for example. Or has another solution come about? Dig it.

  • 1
    I'm curious about the above question as well. SSO is the only thing stopping us from switching at the moment.
  • 0

    I'm also interested in switching over, but can't do so if our Help Centers are going to be accessible to all users across all of our brands. 

  • 0

    Hello! Any news about different SSO urls for brands?

  • 0

    Hello Dmitry,

    Unfortunately, Multibrand still only allows for one SSO used between all brands.  This is a known limitation and we are looking into finding a solution in the future.

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