BRAND ARCHITECTURE What is Brand Architecture?Brand Architecture is the structure of brands within and organisational identity.It is the way in which the brands in a company portfolio are related to – or differentiated from –one another. The architecture should define the hierarchies within an organisation: how the‘parent’ or corporate brand works in synergy with the sub-brands; how they support or detractfrom one another; how the sub-brands reflect or strengthen the strategic objectives of thecorporate brand to which they belongBrand architecture has long been regarded as a static fixture, clearly categorised, with fairly lowpriority given to proactive management despite the fact that the brand architecture of mostorganisations is always a legacy of past and present, and can often provide an opportunity forsignificant value creation if managed properly. In addition to this, organisations today navigatefar greater complexity in rapidly changing markets; because of this, brand architecture should befluid and reactive in order to continually leverage maximum value. Types of Brand Architecture:Monolithic Single master brand which everything is unified One name – one visual system Features/benefits of product or service are less important than brand promise Client trusts the brand Brand extensions built by descriptorsEndorsed Marketing synergy between product and service name and the parent Product and service has a clear market presence; benefits from parent association Parent endorses the product/service
Branded Found in FMCG companies Separate corporate identity from brands Brands have names, lifecycles, personalities of their own Often compete with each otherHybrid Combination of all three – monolithic, branded and endorsed Occur through M&As Preserve the goodwill associated with the acquisition Which Architecture matches your desired attributes?Factors to be Considered: - Reflects business strategy - Simple structure - Designed around client needs - Flexible - Consistent with values - Reflects brand value synergies The process to develop your brand strategy and architectureDeveloping the brand: What are we? What are our competitive strengths? What are our deep capabilities that are sustainable? What founding characteristics need to endure? What are we proud of and proud to be? What do we do? What are our key services? What future services will we offer? How do we do it? What skills, approach do we have? How do we work these to our competitive advantage?
Who are we? What’s our personality, our values? What has made us who we are today? What do we do or need to do to deliver? Why do we do it? What’s our cause, purpose, mission? What do you like about coming to this place?FOCUS CREATE ENGAGE SUSTAIN Brand Strategy and Group Brand Design Enthusiastic and Brand Audit and Service Brand and Service Brand Committed Discovery Strategies Design Leadership Create a Project, Implementation of Brand architecture elevate as Mission Brand Essence. new identity – and Market offerings critical. internal and external Development of Stakeholder Systems and visual expression, Brand audit of key consensus on processes across core collateral. brand architecture, for maintaining applications values, brand essence. standards and communications Review and assessvalues, brand essence, Brand brief. Test/feedback and competitive strengths. Guidelines and standardsMaking this happen – focus Determine project name –Communicate. Establish communication channel for awareness, involvement and accountability Undertake brand audit – gather and assess collateral Develop brand essence – workshop and get consensus Consider architecture direction – leadership to determine in light of strategy Engage a designer – experienced, capacity and quick understanding Determine collateral – business critical; a unique & defining application
The Brand ArchitectBridge between Strategy and Expression–New opportunities for brand expression have created a demand for a new breed ofcreativeconsultant who is not limited by role definitions. These creative consultants, calledbrandarchitects, cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines to provide innovative andcohesivebrand solutions in a variety of mediums.Business leaders are accustomed to relying on specialists to further theirbusiness plans. MBAs,CPAs, marketers and advertising agencies have beenregular fixtures in the development ofproducts and services. But our worldhas changed. Competition is fierce. There are too manybrands and brandmessages out there. Market dynamics are often too volatile for even themostvisionary business plan. Even having a great product is no longer a guaranteeof consumerawareness and increased market share. The new wild card is brand recognition. Brand Architecture – succeeding in the marketplace even with complex portfoliosTypically, problems such as those described above are rendered more complex by the fact thatthey usually occur at one and the same time. The relationship between the group and theproduct brands often needs to be redefined while simultaneously restoring order to a system ofparallel or competing brands. Whatever the case, decisions will need to consider the followingaspects: what product range needs to be joined with which corporate activity so that they canmutually reinforce one another in the marketplace? Which activities need to be clearly separatedin order to achieve maximum impact?Joining and separating – usually both are needed to create a sustainable structure for complexcompany portfolios. The Brand Architecture method allows these highly sensitive issues to bemoved from the superficial branding level (name, logo, colors) to a much deeper level. All thestrategic and operational implications of brand-related decisions are analyzed and presented ina way that makes it clear to management the consequences or undesirable effects their decisionswill produce.In complex multi-brand systems, the market power of the individual brands and synergy effectsare structurally opposing forces. With the instruments provided by the Brand Architecture,these two parameters can be optimized even in difficult cases (e.g. mergers and acquisitions). Toachieve this, the process of joining and separating brands must be carried out consistentlythroughout the entire value-added chain –from R & D to production, from marketing to sales,and even to distribution channels.
In those areas where individual brands are to operate independently, they are allowed to leadtheir separate existences. The group brand, on the other hand, will be used in those cases whereit is felt that it can create a stronger impact.The Brand Architecture method can also be used to determine whether, in a multibrand system,a joint sales force will create a greater benefit – or whether the impact will be stronger if thebrands are handled by separate sales forces. Here it is important to carry out a detailed analysisof the relationship between the company and the brands on the one hand, and its distributionpartners on the other. Armed with theseresults, the sales force will be able to make the most ofthis relationship to create the maximum impact.What should be done with the secondary brand which has a lower price positioning?Clearly, it is a matter of the utmost importance that the main brand is not cannibalized. However,there is no easy solution. Each case needs to be treated individually and all the relevantparameters must be taken into account. Secondary brands that can only survive through cross-subsidization must be evaluated in terms of their economic viability.If a company has already established a well-organized brand structure, another problemaffecting the brand architecture may arise, namely how to present the product ranges undereach of the brands. Each brand portfolio must fulfill two conditions. First, there has to be aconnection between the product offerings and the established brand. The reason is thatcustomers store all their positive experiences under the name and symbols of the brand.Secondly, the individual products need to be sufficiently differentiated from one another. Thisway customers can perceive how broad a range the brand is capable of covering. If theseconditions are met, the brand will achieve maximum competitive strength over its entireproduct range.When the brand portfolio is headed by a group brand, the Brand Architecture method has toaddress another issue. In communications with sales markets, the group may need to remainentirely invisible or to display its connection with the brand. In the latter case, it is important todetermine how prominent that link must be.Certainly, one of the main tasks of any group brand is to impress the financial markets. Unlikesales markets, where the existence of individual, unconnected brands will not necessarily have anegative effect on the relationship with customers and retailers, financial markets need to seeevidence that a group has successfully integrated its brands into a strong portfolio.
The Instruments of the Brand ArchitectureThe Brand Architecture method provides a set of instruments which puts the companyname, aswell as its brands and symbols, on to a secure and economically viable basis.Management gets all the information it needs to make decision-making both reliableandtransparent:The Brand Architecture establishes the correlation between the competitivestrength of thebrands that has been built up over time, and the company’s currentpolicies and plans. The very first task is to decide which names and symbols are connected with the energy that the brand has developed over its history. These represent significant corporate assets and, within a complex portfolio, provide the framework for the Brand Architecture. All the relevant options for the future brand structure will be worked out in detail and analyzed from a strategic and operational perspective. The Institut für Markentechnik systematically evaluates all the advantages and disadvantages of the different options and compares them objectively. Should it prove necessary to give up established names, a migration process will be developed for transferring the brand energy. Implementation strategies are designed to ensure that the new brand structure can be realized in day-to-day business. Each new activity (at the company, brand or product level) will have its logical place in the brand structure and can therefore be integrated according to objective criteria at any future point in time – this enables management to manage and control the brand portfolio in a sustainable manner. How to develop Brand ArchitectureBranding is a bit of a mystery for many small to mid-market (SMB) companies. There are manyopinions and methods as to how best approach it.Top creative agencies have their own “proprietary” methods for crafting brand strategies. Theyhave to, in order to position themselves against competing agencies. They use cool-lookinggraphics: circles, triangles, and flow charts to illustrate attributes, values, personality traits, andpromises.Many SMB companies never bother to craft a brand strategy, instead allowing the market tobrand them, for better or worse. Deep down, SMB marketers know they should be putting moreeffort into branding, but many don’t know where to start.The good news is, if you were to break down most agencies’ proprietary branding methods,you’d find many similarities.
If you’re one of the 90% of companies that don’t have the budget to hire top agency talent foryour branding, don’t worry; with a little elbow grease and a good plan you can create your ownbrand strategy. Solving the branding black box just takes a little learning and a strongcommitment.Brand Architecture is Your Brand Strategy FoundationThe key to your entire brand strategy is your brand architecture. Your brand architecture setsthe foundation for all the other components of your brand, and aligns your brand personalitytraits, your means, your promise, your story, and your visual and operational requirements intoa single unified structure.Brands play on our emotions, so your brand architecture should uncover the specific emotionsaround which you might build your brand.To create your brand architecture, follow this five step process:1. Start by listing each of your product/service features.Then, list the benefits of each. A feature is an element of what something does or what it is. For example, a car’s features may include a ski rack and an upgraded stereo system. A benefit is a positive result that the feature delivers.2. Now focus on the benefits. For each one, determine whether it’s functional or emotional. A functional benefit is directly related to the functionality of the feature. Example: An upgraded stereo provides higher-quality sound. An emotional benefit is one that evokes a feeling or emotion. Example: An upgraded stereo might make the user feel like a rock star.3. Next, review each feature and benefit individually, and determine its level of importance to the market. Assign each to one of three categories: Expected: These are basic and expected; a customer won’t buy without these features or benefits. Every product/service in this category must offer these features. Adds value: Not expected, but most customers probably won’t purchase based on this factor alone. Nevertheless, it helps differentiate your product/service from those of your competitors. Will buy: Customers will choose you over your competitors based on this feature/benefit alone – it’s just that valuable
4. Now, rank your features and benefits. Brands play on our emotions—even B2B brands. The strongest brands are built around emotional benefits. Use this ranking system: Features that are expected = 1 Features that add value = 2 Features that will buy = 3 Functional benefits that are expected = 4 Functional benefits that add value = 5 Functional benefits that will buy = 6 Emotional benefits that are expected = 7 Emotional benefits that add value = 8 Emotional benefits that will buy = 95. Few brand architectures are built around features, but by including them in the rankings, we emphasize the importance of focusing on benefits and, more specifically, emotional benefits that cause people to desire your offering on a visceral level. The final step is to identify the emotional benefits that will become the core of your brand strategy. Typically, you should focus on the highest rankings for the architecture of your brand. Evaluate all of those with a ranking of 6 or higher. You might decide to include a few functional benefits with the emotional benefits. Carefully consider the functional or emotional benefits you select for your brand architecture. You’ll spend a lot of resources to convey these to the marketplace, so test them amongst your team and your market if you’re unsure.After you’ve decided on your brand architecture, you can begin thinking about the othercomponents of your brand strategy: your brand personality traits, your means, your promise,your story, and your visual and operational requirements. Market Penetration1. Existing Markets, Existing ProductsFor many companies, the first place to look for more sales is amongst existing customers.
Current customers have already made the ultimate gesture of approval and paid money to buyyour products. A bit more persuasion and they may buy more.However, how many companies know their customer so well that they know if they have everyavailable piece of business? Ask yourself the following questions:How much is each customer buying of the products (or services) I sell to them?What share do my competitors and I have of each customers account?What does the customer think of me against the other suppliers it could or does use?What would make each customer buy more?There is only one way to ensure that a company’s customer value proposition (CVP) appeals tothe target audience and differentiates that company from the competition and that is throughfully understanding market needs. B2B International can help you better understand the needsand perceptions of your customers with regards to your products and services. Throughdetailed analysis we can give you a clearer indication of where emphasis needs to be placed todeliver customer value and achieve greater customer loyalty.2. New Markets, Existing ProductsEvery company has a product that can travel. It can travel to new geographical markets or tonew industry segments that have not been tapped before. New markets, wherever they are –new countries or new segments – carry risk.B2B International specialises in collecting information on potential customers and marketswherever they are in the world. With this knowledge, a company can build growth and valuemore quickly and more securely than by relying on guesswork.In the last few years, and due to the lure of one of the biggest potential marketplaces in theworld, B2B International has carried out numerous projects within China for public and privatesector organisations. We have conducted Chinese market entry studies for publishingcompanies, paper manufacturers, textile companies, chemical companies, oil companies, ITcompanies and even financial institutions. In each of these cases, our job has been to identifywhether an opportunity exists, define the nature of this opportunity and devise strategic andtactical market entry recommendations.Of course, we have also helped clients enter different geographies outside of China and AsiaPacific, from the US and Canada through to Western Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain,Netherlands), Eastern Europe & CIS (Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Ukraine), Africa and SouthAmerica.