Would you ever allow someone to build a house for you without a floor plan, renderings or any other pre-written materials? Have you ever cooked a dish for the first time without once looking at the recipe? There are so many areas of life that require an organized, step-by-step approach to be successful. So, why wouldn’t you apply this philosophy to your company’s brand?
Enter brand architecture. Brand architecture is a system companies develop to organize their brands, products and services to make them accessible and relatable to different segments of their audience. Implementing a successful brand architecture allows consumers to develop a relationship with entire families of brands through interaction with only one brand in the family.
So, how can you develop your own brand architecture? Use these tips, and you will be on your way.
Knowing What Type of Brand Architecture You Need
There are three distinct types of brand architecture. Knowing each one and how they apply to you is crucial before you start constructing your own.
This type of brand architecture utilizes a strong master brand, such as globally renowned Google or more industry-recognized brands like Abita Brewing Company, and keeps the master brand name in its different divisions. For example, Google and Google Maps are different entities, but Maps keeps Google in front to add authenticity to the brand. Abita’s release of its “Limited” and “Harvest” series gives its customers the opportunity to select a line they believe suits their personality and tastes.
This architecture has a strong parent brand AND strong, autonomous divisions. The divisions are given credibility through the endorsement of the parent brand. For example, Apple’s many products (iPad, iPhone, iMovie) stand on their own thanks to the strength of Apple and customers’ positive association with the brand.
This type of brand architecture is not as important to the public; however, investors and interested business community members consider it when looking into a brand. Pluralistic Brand architecture contains a group of recognizable brands under a parent brand that consumers typically are not aware of. For example, everyone recognizes Kleenex and what it is used for, but most people purchasing the tissue don’t know it is a product of Kimberly Clark (a global personal care corporation traded on the New York Stock Exchange).
Research, Research, Research!
As with all consumer-facing efforts, Fridge recommends testing the audiences you want to reach to determine the best messages and methods to move them toward your product. The most successful brand architecture begins with research into customer awareness, preferences and experience. Research gives you the ability to see how and why your customer is making decisions, as well as distinguishing between what your brand is saying and what your customer perceives.
Remember, your brand architecture should make life easier for both you and your customers. Identify all of your products or services that actually need a brand and develop those brands around your master product or service. But don’t go overboard! Too many brands can become confusing for customers and hurt the synergy between each brand.
The most important point: make sure you keep your master brand elements (i.e., name, color palette, symbols, etc.) in mind when creating your brand architecture. All of these elements should line up with your primary brand strategy. If your brands are scattered in several different directions, people will lose the connection you are trying to make with the construction of your brand architecture.
Morgan Wampold, Account Leader