In the dynamic realm of business Fruiting League contends that a significant oversight exists as many companies fail to grasp the crucial importance of brand architecture. Surprisingly, even numerous branding agencies find themselves entangled in confusion, misunderstanding the essence of this strategic linchpin. Brand architecture is not a mere buzzword but a vital aspect of optimizing a brand portfolio. When well done it strongly enhances market effectiveness, skilfully navigating the complex relationships between brands, product lines, and sub-brands.
Decoding Brand Architecture:
Even more than logos and slogans – basic brand tools – brand architecture is a strategic framework that determines how a company's brands intersect the market for strategic advantage. Kershen Teo, a prominent brand strategist, compares it to a house blueprint. "Considered brand architecture ensures a seamless and harmonious experience for anyone who steps inside," he says.
In a world drowning in choices, complex businesses grapple with the challenge of projecting a cohesive narrative to their audiences. Brand architecture provides a roadmap by which such companies can master the complexities of their brand portfolio and evaluate potential acquisitions or disposals in portfolio and total market contexts.
Key Goals of Brand Architecture:
- Clarify brand relationships: brand architecture eliminates confusion, establishing clear roles and hierarchies within the portfolio. Teo emphasizes, "Effective brand architecture is about aligning your group for symphonic power, not cacophony."
- Building customer understanding: by simplifying the customer journey brand architecture makes the relationships between brands easier for consumers to grasp. Teo notes, "When you get this working your brand portfolio becomes a story customers want to be part of."
- Reinforcing brand equity: bringing brand architecture in alignment with broad strategic goals drives brand equity on both levels. Teo adds, "When you make the portfolio a navigable and comprehensible landscape customers see a stronger value proposition that creates a halo effect for your entire brand ecosystem."
Common Brand Architecture Models:
Teo see choosing the right model for your business's nature and goals is crucial:
- Monolithic model: prioritizes the corporate brand, as seen in companies like GE and IBM.
- Branded house model: permits flexible branding inspired by the corporate brand's attributes, as exemplified by Virgin and Google.
- House of brands model: Multiple standalone brands with distinct identities, seen in Procter & Gamble's approach.
- Endorsed brands model: Corporate brand lends support to individual product or sub-brands, common in FMCG.
- Hybrid model: companies like Nestlé Group and The Walt Disney Company utilise aspects of different models, maintaining a well-known corporate brand while nurturing separate, strong product or sub-brands where this yields clear benefits.
Challenges and Solutions:
Getting brand architecture right is challenging for the right reasons - better business. Neglecting it destroys value in the longer term and brings lower operational yields. Teo emphasizes the need for strategic management, adaptability, consistent execution, minimising complexity, and using customer insight effectively.
Teo concludes, "Brand architecture should be a dynamic process, continuously alert to evolving business and market needs. It's a journey, not a single destination, but there are milestones and if your business model is complex, you should always be aware of what they are and your own position relative to them."
In a world of fluid, fast-evolving markets, defined and effective brand architecture is a vital strategic asset. With insight from experts like Kershen Teo organisations can operate with greater tactical coherence and a strong, coherent brand narrative that resonates with customers now and for the future to build and sustain substantial success.
Fruiting League founders Paul Vinogradoff and Kershen Teo have worked with some of the largest companies on several continents, such as Telenor Group, GE and NTT DATA. They have also helped small start-ups and SMEs to thrive as brands built on clear strategic principles and brand architecture success.