Brand architecture is the relationship between a company’s products and services and connecting to their customers. It isn’t just for huge organisations. Smaller brands can see a much better return on investment by organising their offerings well from the get-go.
Help to organise your products and services in a way that deepens your brand positioning and aligns with your customer’s decision-making process.
This clarity can help you motivate the individual segments of your customer base to understand and need the value that your products offer them. It creates understanding, connection and motivation to purchase and can be leveraged across all marketing channels.
Establishing a solid brand architecture is essential if you develop new products and services, sub-brands or brand extensions. It can also provide direction during brand identity development and design and remind consumers of the original brand value proposition for the entire family. Think of Coca-Cola and all their sub-brands and brand extensions, as an example, or Apple and their necessary brands that create clear connections to consumer sub-segments.
This upfront marketing investment 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’s the “family tree” that enables your customers to develop a preference for your services. Below are the 3 most popular ways to structure your brand’s architecture.
Monolithic or Branded House.
An architecture in which the sub-brands use the name, and more often than not, the identity of the Masterbrand. Great examples of this Structure are FedEx Virgin.
Endorsed or House of Brands
An architecture in which sub-brands are independently named and have their own identity, but which at some level bear the endorsement of their parent brand, eg P&G, Unilever.
As the name suggests, a mixture of the two approaches, and is very often the architecture of choice as it offers the greatest flexibility and options for those creating the brand architecture, eg Coca Cola, Google.
Clearly mapping out the architecture of your brand will reduce confusion, and help create connections that will take your business to its maximum growth potential. clarify strategy by identifying gaps and overlaps. It’s important to have “space” between brands. It also helps with the development of visual identity systems by dictating the size and position of brand names in relation to each other. Provides rules to guide the creation of new brands and brand extensions, and avoids the dilution of brand meaning through over-stretching.
What clarity is achievable with solid brand architecture?
The purpose of solid brand architecture is to address the following questions:
• What is the overarching branding approach for the master brand, any sub-brands, endorsed brands, 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?
• 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 the 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; after all, it’s the structure on which your brand is based and the framework through which you engage your customers. Brand architecture development can unearth some genuinely unique insights and produce beautiful clarity about your offerings and brand as a whole.
It provides a clear framework for the decision-making of acquired and new brands. Will the new brand be retained or retired? If maintained, will the brand name be kept or changed? 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. Ignoring brand architecture could put your brand equity at risk — impacting your bottom line.
Other benefits of the right strategy include making your business easier to understand and manage. You are allowing your business to improve the cost-effectiveness of its brand and marketing return on investment. Align your brands positioning and value propositions appropriately with market segments, improving clarity and consistency across your organisation.