Building a business means more than growing sales and profits. It can literally mean how a business is put together. Businesses are built through acquisitions, by establishing new products and services, adding new divisions or re-organizing operations. Sometimes these changes to the original company can look like ill-conceived additions to a house — creating an odd architectural mix of styles or discordant design. A company’s business architecture affects its brand architecture, impacting how a company structures its brands and how all those brand names, or divisional names, relate to each other. Here are five ideas for making sure the blueprint for your brand architecture will keep your business on a strong foundation and poised for future growth.
1. Don’t throw the baby out with bath water.
There’s no need to start from scratch. If your brand names have established their own equity and are well-recognized in your markets, keep what works. New product lines and services can be named to fit what you have. The key is understanding your original structure and where it makes sense to extend or add on.
2. What happens inside the house doesn’t have to be on the outside.
Companies sometimes fall into the trap of forcing their brand architecture to be structured the same as their business organization. Your brand organization shouldn’t look like your business organization. Using internal business group names, departmental acronyms and financially organized structures don’t communicate how your customers see you. Think outside in.
3. Use your brand platform as a guide.
A well-crafted brand platform gives you something to build on. It will give you guidance for naming your different groups. It will offer the framework for connecting different departments, product lines and brands.
4. Plan for growth and expansion.
An effective brand architecture leaves room for the addition of new product and service brands. Whether your structure works as a holding company, masterbrand or endorsed products and services, think ahead for the potential areas of growth when developing your brand architecture.
5. Understand your customer’s point of view.
If your brand architecture is like a house, your customers will see it as they drive by, push their shopping cart past the shelf or flip past it on the Internet. They want to know how all your parts relate to each other in a logical and rationale way. See it from their point of view and your brand architecture will have lots more “curb appeal.”
Download (PDF 197KB)