Brand architecture is the relationship between a company’s products and services and the way they connect to their customers. Brand architecture is essential for all organisations, big or small. Small firms can get a good ROI by properly organising their offerings. Brand architecture helps to manage your products and services in a way that strengthens your brand positioning and align them with your customers’ decision-making process. The clarity on the firm’s products and services helps the individual segments of your customer base to understand the value offered by your products. It creates understanding, connection and motivation to purchase and can leverage across all marketing channels.
How does your Brand Architecture portfolio stack up?
Establishing a solid brand architecture is crucial during new products, services, sub-brands or brand extensions. It gives direction in the development and design of brand identity and reminds consumers of the original brand’s value proposition for the entire brand family. For example, famous brands like Coca-Cola and Apple and all their sub-brands and brand extensions establish clear connections to consumer subsegments. Money spent for brand architecture is an upfront marketing investment that pays dividends in the long run and allows you to attain maximum brand value by fully leveraging and delivering on the promises of the brand/s.
What are the different types of Brand Architecture?
Brand architecture is a strategic structure to help your audience understand and connect with your brand. It is like the “family tree” that guides your customers to develop a preference for your services. Below are the three most popular ways to structure your brand’s architecture.
Monolithic or Branded House: An architecture where the sub-brands use the name, and in most cases, also the identity of the master brand. Examples: FedEx, Virgin.
Endorsed or House of Brands-An architecture where sub-brands are independent with their name and identity but endorse the parent brand at some levels. Example: P&G, Unilever.
Hybrid architecture: As the name suggests, hybrid architecture is a mixture of the two approaches. It is the most preferred one because it is flexible and provides more options in developing the brand architecture. Examples: Coca Cola, Google.
Suitably mapping the architecture minimises confusion and helps to build strong connections, thereby enhancing your business’s growth potential. Identifying gaps and overlaps helps to clarify the business strategy. It is vital to have “space” between brands. Brand architecture helps develop visual identity systems by dictating the size and position of brand names concerning each other. It also provides rules to guide new brands and brand extensions and avoids the dilution of brand meaning through over-stretching.
Why do you need a solid Brand Architecture?
A solid brand architecture addresses the following questions:
• What is the overarching branding approach for the master brand, any sub-brands, endorsed brand, stand-alone brands or any combination of these?
• How many levels are there in the structure of the brand portfolio?
• What types of brands exist at each level?
• How do they relate to each other?
• How do customers relate to them?
If your brand is consistent, your customers will know what to expect
• What are the rules for introducing new brands into the portfolio to ensure equity is retained in the master brand?
• Which brand identities are dominant, and which ones fulfil a different purpose?
• What type of naming strategy is best for the brand portfolio?
• How does brand architecture relate to your target market’s decision-making process?
What are the benefits of defining your Brand Architecture?
Brand architecture is an integral component of your business and marketing plan. It is the structure on which your brand is based and the framework through which you engage your customers. Brand architecture development can unearth some stunning insights and produce exceptional clarity about your offerings and brand as a whole.
It provides a clear decision-making framework for acquired and new brands. For example, will the new brand be retained or retired? If maintained, will the brand name be the same or different? What will its relationship be to your other brands?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. But with targeted research and a well-defined strategy, you can build a strong brand that delights customers and sets your business apart. Conversely, ignoring brand architecture could put your brand equity at risk as it can impact your bottom line.
Well-constructed brand architecture makes it easy to understand and manage your business. It makes the company cost-effective and improves marketing ROI. It also helps align your brand positioning and value propositions appropriately with market segments, improving clarity and consistency across your organisation.