We are often approached by clients looking for strategic advice on how to organise the different brands they own. They need us to help them define the structure of their brand portfolio, establishing the relationships between sub-brands and the parent brand, or between the various sub-brands. Brand Architecture is the system that adds structure to their portfolio.
Clients’ motivations stem from a diverse range of business issues. Some organisations want a more efficient way to structure their offer, eliminating duplicates and removing impediments to finding synergies, or opportunities to cross-sell. Customers may be confused about what their company does or the specific value propositions of a given brand. Sometimes investors may not fully understand the value of the corporation’s brand. Employees may be seeking more autonomy or visibility in relation to the brands they work with. The list of business solutions Brand Architecture can offer is a long one.
Optimising stakeholders’ relationship to a company’s brand portfolio can bring many benefits; Brand Architecture can be a fantastic growth enabler, it can make existing brands more relevant, business operations more efficient and provide clear guidelines for the development of new brands. But only well-executed Brand Architecture can really make an impact in your organisation. So, we’ve laid out some thoughts on what makes an effective Brand Architecture exercise.
Set the basics first
Brand Architecture must be rooted in the business strategy. Sometimes companies suffer because they can’t see the woods for the trees, so it is crucial to define what the company is trying to achieve and the KPIs of the project.
Ask yourself: What is your vision for the future?
Find the right moment
Re-evaluating how people relate to brands will shake up acquired habits. Times of corporate transformation are a great moment to start a Brand Architecture project, drawing on the momentum and enthusiasm that transformations bring.
Ask yourself: Has my company started any transformation projects that I can draw on to build a brand portfolio strategy?
Involve the right people
Inviting those who are hands-on in day-to-day operations to the table is important. But having those who know the bigger picture as final decision-makers is essential.
Ask yourself: Who fully understands the vision of the company?
Don’t stop until you get enough
It will be a painstaking process; all possible scenarios must be assessed. With so many factors affecting each scenario, some big decisions will have to be made. So, the process should not be over until every cog in the machine is working in harmony.
Ask yourself: Are there yet any scenarios we haven’t thought of, even if they feel unrealistic?
Execute it well
You will not have achieved success until you bring the new system to life. Design plays a pivotal role at this stage.
Ask yourself: How can design clarify the relationships between the brands in the portfolio?
We at Saffron believe that brand is a management tool. If issues stemming from the way your brands relate to each other are preventing you from achieving your business strategy, a Brand Architecture exercise may help.
By Jorge Müller, Strategist
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