WHAT SHOULD YOUR BRAND ARCHITECTURE LOOK LIKE?

As your business grows and your array of products expands, you may be put into a position where you have multiple brands or sub-brands. How do you maintain these brands and their individual brand equities, while leveraging the relationships between brands?
 
You do this by building a clear brand architecture.

What is brand architecture?

Brand architecture refers to a system or structure that organizes your brands, services, products, and experiences. The purpose of clearly defining your brand architecture is to make it very easy for your target audience to understand the differences between brands, relate to each brand, and construct meaningful opinions and emotions to your family of brands.

Determine your brand potential

To build a solid brand architecture, you need to fully understand your brand purpose and connect it to consumer needs. With this in mind, your strategy will be much clearer. Now consider the products, services, or experiences your brand could offer or be associated with. However, this must make sense for brand’s mission and niche. It wouldn’t make sense for Apple (a technology company) to create a toothpaste brand. Create boundaries for your family of brands. Lastly, maintain your brand’s unique value proposition across your brands.
 
For instance, Apple’s mission statement is “to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” All of the brands that apple builds and maintains (watch, TV, Mac, iPhone, etc) must satisfy this mission to make sense for the brand. They must also consider this mission when determining the potential for new products, such as cars, glasses, wearables, and more.

Conduct a brand hierarchy analysis

If you have brands that may not make sense when grouped together you may need to perform a brand hierarchy analysis, which is the examination of your brand relationships, their common elements, distinctive elements.
 
Google is famous for reorganizing many of their tech brands underneath the umbrella brand “Alphabet.” They did this because, while Google was investing and acquiring powerful internet, technology, and robotics companies, these were not related to Google’s mission of “organizing the world’s information.” They created Alphabet to house the family of brands that are more related to the mission of “Making the world around you universally accessible and useful.” 

What brand extensions make sense

Google identified one of the major problems that brands come across as they grow: how do we effectively extend our brand? A brand extension refers to a new product introduced under an existing brand, which in Google’s case, would be different applications and technologies. 
 
With new products, product lines, and product categories, it’s important to refer back to your mission statement to understand if you should group these new developments under an existing brand or create a new brand.
 
When you create brand extensions, consider how similar the brand elements are to the original brand (packaging, logos, fonts, colors, etc). The more similar your elements are, the more positive associations you can build based on the audience’s existing feelings of the parent brand. However, more differences, allow the new brand to take on a life of its own.
 
Creating a new or different brand may be necessary in order to prevent brand dilution, which is the degradation of your brand equity. While it is important to leverage your brand to support newer brands or products, this can damage your parent brand if the new product or service is not meaningful or relevant to your audience.

Conclusion

Developing a clear and easy-to-understand brand architecture is vital for a long-term brand strategy. Determine your brand potential, conduct a brand hierarchy analysis, and evaluate brand extensions to generate an informed brand architecture strategy.
 
Happy Marketing!

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