Brand strategy 101: 4 benefits of good brand architecture
DPDK’s Helga Torrezan explains the importance of future-proofing your brand and maintaining consistency through its evolution.
A rigorous brand architecture is how brands like Google remain instantly recognizable / Ryan Ancill via Unsplash
A big marker of brand success is recognition. When customers can pick out any of your products or services and easily identify them as part of your brand, you know you’ve made a lasting impression. A great example is Google, whose products and services are distinguishable from a mile off, from Gmail and Google Ads to Google Maps and Google Pay.
Contrary to popular belief, establishing a brand architecture isn’t only beneficial to multinational corporations and larger companies with multiple sub-brands and divisions. It's an essential first step of building any brand, big or small.
Your brand blueprint: a roadmap for brand development
A brand architecture maps out the structure of your business. It defines how sub-brands within an organization interact, and helps maintain consistency as your brand grows and changes.
I like to compare brand architecture to the blueprint of a house. Even if you’re building a small house, you still need a blueprint that lays out all the required details, from building dimensions and materials to design and composition. A blueprint makes it easier to get everyone on the same page, and it establishes a solid base for future extensions.
Similarly, every brand needs a well-thought-out, detailed brand architecture that ensures it stays strong and adaptable. So, what does a good brand architecture look like when done right?
1. Established brand identity and positioning
A comprehensive brand architecture gives you a clear overview of your brand, which helps you stay consistent in how you position your brand and communicate with your target audience. Customers will get a better sense of who you are, and know what to expect when interacting with your brand.
2. Efficient brand management
A brand architecture adds structure by defining roles and relationships between the different parts of your brand, making brand management more efficient, and brand decisions more straightforward as your brand evolves.
3. Brand awareness and equity
Achieving clarity on your brand internally impacts how your brand is perceived externally. Having set relationships and divisions between your sub-brands makes it easier to leverage each one to build awareness and ultimately drive growth of your overarching brand.
4. Facilitated growth and expansion
Establishing a brand architecture, even if you start off small, helps to future-proof your organization. Your architecture is the underpinning of your brand; it ensures that any future changes (redesigns, rebrands, mergers, and acquisitions) won’t shake your brand foundation.
Getting brand architecture right: 3 models
There are three key brand architecture models: the branded house, the house of brands, and a hybrid of the first two. Each varies in level of affiliation between the master brand and its sub-brands.
There are pros and cons to each model. Weigh them up carefully. We recently took on an interesting project that proves this. Energy and renewables trading company Count wanted to build brand awareness and position themselves as a leader in the petrochemicals industry. When they came to us, each of their three sub-brands were operating with their own individual brand identity and website.
Because of this, their sub-brands had no evident relationship between them, and customers couldn’t recognize them as part of the same brand.
Setting up a successful brand architecture starts with identifying where your brand stands now, what your customers already know about it, and how you want to be positioned. We began with a brand assessment, which helped us understand what Count is all about, how they wanted to be seen, and which model would be best for them. From this, we determined the best model was a branded house.
Count’s sub-brands now exist as independent entities under a master brand: the Count Group. Their brand identity was built by consolidating existing elements from each sub-brand. The Count Group now stands clearly as the face of the three sub-brands and demonstrates the link between them.
Setting up the right brand architecture isn’t an overnight task. It takes thorough research, planning, and a deep understanding of who you are as a brand. It’s also not the only requisite for success. That being said, it’s a great place to start. Work on that blueprint and see what wonders it can do for your brand.
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