Friday, October 3, 2014

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture issues almost always arise in the midst of our brand consulting assignments. Following are the most frequent problems we encounter:
  • There are too many overlapping brands due to growth through mergers and acquisitions
  • The brand architecture mirrors the internal organization structure, which is at best immaterial to the end consumer and at worst completely confusing to the end consumer
  • Business unit managers are allowed to create new brands and new product names as they deem necessary without regard to an overall brand architecture
  • There are no naming conventions within the organization
  • The organization has not thought through its product or service offerings from a consumer perspective; therefore, the brand structure is neither simple nor clarifying for the consumer
  • The organization has far more brands than it can support financially
  • The brand architecture is not formalized for the organization so the brand treatment is completely inconsistent and confusing across lines of business, product categories and brand identity applications
  • People are using parts of the parent brand name in other names without forethought or consistency

So, what is brand architecture? It is the entity’s “family tree” of brands, sub-brands and named products. It addresses each of the following:
  • What the overarching branding approach is – master brand, brand/sub-brand, endorsed brand, stand alone brands or some combination of these
  • How many levels of branding should exist
  • What types of brands exist at each level
  • How brands at different levels relate to each other, if at all
  • Decision rules for creating new brands
  • Which brands’ identities are dominant and which ones are recessive
  • What types of names the organization uses – coined, associative descriptive or generic descriptors – and in which circumstances (usually controlled by decision rules)
  • Which brands are features in each and every media, vehicle, situation and circumstance (e.g. business cards, stationery, product catalogs, website, shipping boxes, vehicle signage, employee uniforms, building signage, etc.)

BrandForward conducts a half-day to full-day workshop designed to address all brand architecture issues including those mentioned above. We bring a recommendation into the workshop but then proceed to work through every possible brand architecture scenario with our clients to make sure the system is robust and able to address every current and future situation.

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