Branding
Why brand architecture matters
Why brand architecture matters – are you future-proofed for growth?

How can your business plan for growth? How do you identify where to develop your portfolio of brands? And ensure that they deliver what your consumers want, when they need it? The answer lies in brand architecture planning, the way to future proof your brand and deliver experiences your customers desire

In today’s empowered economy consumers have more choice than ever when it comes to their purchase decisions. Driven by an influx of competition and evolving customer needs, demands for authentic and personalised brand experiences mean many businesses have to re-evaluate their offer. Including how they are positioned to acquire and retain consumers.

This search for growth leads many brands to create new products or seek new markets. By exploiting disruptive opportunities, they can defend their current market position and sustain future growth.

But how can businesses plan for growth and identify where to develop their portfolio of brands so that they can deliver what their consumers want, when they need it? The answer lies in brand architecture planning, a vital component in future proofing your brand in a way that delivers the brand experiences your customers desire.

The importance of a brand architecture

A business’s brand architecture should provide clarity on the organisation of the brands in a portfolio, but also indicate how to align resources for growth and conquest. It unites businesses with synergies that create efficiencies in brand-building and externally is a show of strategic intent, with an overall goal of building brand equities.

So why doesn’t every business invest in a brand architecture program to aid future growth? Well things often start off with a single product and there may be no apparent need to invest in such future planning. Brands with a single product or service can easily present themselves to their consumers. However, the search for revenue growth spawns the need to create more revenue opportunities. Through a mix of brand stretch and product diversification as well as acquisitions, the brand portfolio starts to become very complex. This often requires a logical and systematic approach to rationalise future branding decisions.

brand-architecture-spectrum

Finding where you fit in within the brand architecture spectrum is the biggest challenge many businesses find themselves in. The two polar ends of the spectrum represent an idealistic situation. Here, a business is either what we call ‘brand prolific’ or ‘brand monolithic’. The former being focused on delivering diverse products with a focused brand positioning. The latter being focused on building powerful and stretchable master brand equities.

Most companies end up in the ‘fuzzy middle’. Being neither brand prolific nor monolithic, and start to take a hybrid approach. They often utilize both their master brand and product brands. For these companies, the relationship and level of endorsement between master and sub brands has to be worked out.

Evolving your brand architecture

Much like the world we live in today evolving at speed, a brand architecture is never a final destination. It needs to be dynamic, evolving with the changing market conditions, reacting to internal business changes and external consumer demands. It is an iterative process that goes hand in hand with a brand strategy, from insight to execution.

brand architecture strategy

The key driver of any brand architecture initiative should be simplicity. Simpler solutions are cost effective and easier to manage across large organisations. Multiple brands are a source of complexity. And a key part of planning is recognising whether the benefits of multiple brands outweigh the costs of managing them.

Simpler architecture solutions also help deliver an enhanced brand experience, making a business’s offering clear and understandable, supporting future growth. The guardrails put in place through brand architecture planning help identify business growth opportunities and gaps in current portfolios. Management can then focus internal resources and rectify.

Whether your business is the market leader or a start-up challenger, with tools such as brand architecture planning, companies can gain clarity on what their potential future could look like. However the only winners will be those brands willing to invest, taking a proactive rather than reactive strategic approach.

Next read all about our retrospective on Wally Olins or how we can help brands create value.