In our experience, companies that lack a strong brand architecture can only go so far. As an agency, it doesn’t matter how good you are -- if the brand architecture is lacking, there are limits to the magic you can work. It’s in your best interests to help the client appreciate this and take steps to address it -- preferably sooner rather than later.So what IS a brand architecture, exactly?
Brand architecture is the strategic analysis and development of the optimal relationship structures among the multiple levels of offerings, e.g. company, brand, product and features. While the definition may be a bit cumbersome, the role of brand architecture is pretty straightforward. Simply put, it is a “roadmap” that logically or even intuitively guides the customer through an organization’s offerings – matching their needs with the appropriate product or service.
This “roadmap” guides the customer, but it ALSO guides the company. Any time there is more than one product or service, there necessarily is a brand architecture. Of course, it’s possible to have a really terrible brand architecture, and the more the company grows, the clearer it will become that they are trying to build a brand on a faulty foundation. A solid brand architecture won’t happen organically - it must be the result of intention and planning.
A brand architecture is useful for many reasons. Product development and sales teams may rely on the brand architecture to help inform new product lines or communicate value propositions at retail. Customers look to the brand architecture to make purchase decisions. Agencies may use the brand architecture to help with targeting ad campaigns against different product lines. And any time there’s a new product, those doing the naming - if they know what they’re doing - will look to the brand architecture for guidance.
This, obviously, is one of the big reasons we care so much about brand architecture -- it provides “creative guardrails” for naming new products. Take the time to establish a brand architecture and associated naming conventions up front, get appropriate buy-in all around, and you’re well on your way to being one big, happy brand family.
Want to know more? You’re a nerd after our own hearts. We share a little more about brand architecture here, or if you've got a specific challenge, we're always happy to chat.