Structure frees creativity. And for brands, structure also provides a durable foundation for growth. Whether organic or inorganic, new offerings or new markets – our brand strategy clients are always thinking about growth. And as businesses think about what to build next, it is critical that they first assess and strategically organize what already exists. Enter Brand Architecture.
One way to look at Brand Architecture is to think of building a house. To build a strong house – and a strong brand – you need a stable underlying structure to support everything above – the roof, façade, furniture, people, etc. The shape of the house or décor within may evolve over time, but the foundation will always remain and determine the longevity of the house and its ability to remain stable amid whatever changes the owners choose to make. Brand Architecture is the necessary foundation a business needs to grow.
Need proof? Here’s the evidence. Look across industries and brands such as FedEx and Volkswagen Group. They each have their unique Brand Architecture framework that allows them to expand their reach, while maintaining focus and credibility with each new business venture. FedEx is a classic example of a Branded House, meaning the portfolio is focused on a single, consistent, and strong masterbrand. Here, the masterbrand is the hero, and all its portfolio offerings drive greater equity and trust into the masterbrand – allowing customers to instantly accept and adopt any sub-brands by association. On the flip slide, the Volkswagen Group is an example of a House of Brands strategy, meaning each brand in the portfolio has its own distinct identity, and oftentimes each represents a separate demographic or need. This enables the masterbrand, Volkswagen Group, to diversify its portfolio and reach to serve completely different audiences across its brands (Volkswagen, Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche). What these examples have in common is that their growth strategies are rooted in their foundational Brand Architecture strategies, allowing them to make agile business decisions. And with the launch of each new offering, they are able to strategically place that offering in the portfolio to target their key audiences in the most authentic, differentiated, and credible way possible.
Fostering a fundamental understanding of your Brand Architecture can help you navigate the growth options that exist for your organization and make intelligent, strategic decisions. To recap, Brand Architecture unlocks growth through the following:
- Clarity: Strategic bundling of and contrast between offerings help teams sell and customers navigate the portfolio.
- Direction: When there’s a clear means of organizing all new and existing offerings, teams can make decisions based on precedent, not gut feeling. Questions like, “should an acquisition company keep its name?” or “should customers know this as a distinct offering vs. a feature within an existing offering?” are answered efficiently and strategically.
- Flexibility: Now, with clarity around the role of each offering and their relationship to one another, businesses can agilely pursue new relevant audiences, identify partnerships, launch new products or services, and drive innovation.
- Resilience: One certainty is that the market will always fluctuate up, down, and sideways. With flexibility comes the ability to adapt to these disruptions by enabling businesses to quickly consolidate, remove, or add to the portfolio.
Brand Architecture provides structure. That structure unlocks the potential for businesses to grow. Looking to define your Brand Architecture Strategy? Reach out to us.