Branding is more important than ever. Increasing pressure from competitors and an ever growing (and crowded) market, means only those companies who can gain the trust and loyalty of consumers can thrive. A strong brand can covey a sense of quality and credibility, beyond the actual components of a product.
A good brand strategy needs to use the right architecture, which is determined by the business needs of an organization.
1. Analyze Current Architecture
Define your current brand strategy. There are two main types of branding architecture. Think about which one best describes your business.
– Do you have a house of brands? That is a product brand strategy.
– Do you have a branded house? That is a master-brand strategy.
It is important to understand how the brand developed into what it is today. In many organizations, the founders or leaders set out with an intentional plan to build a master-brand or a product brand. Though, sometimes the branding strategy forms organically without anyone actively managing it. This is usually the case when a number of mergers or acquisitions occur.
Documentation detailing the branding strategy of an organization is a good source of information for analyzing the current brand architecture. Often there is internal documentation for staff use, and a different set of external documentation focused for third party and press use.
2. Categorize Your Portfolio
Each brand in your company portfolio should be categorized according to the role it plays and how it is perceived by the consumer. The 4 roles of brand names are:
– Value. This type of brand is seen as high quality and adds value.
– Drive. It has the role of motivating buyers to make a purchase.
– Identity. Creates an instant connection with the buyer so they know the specific item they need.
– Accountability. When there are problems, this is the brand that customers will look to for solutions.
3. Align With Your Goals
After analysis and categorization, the last step is to coordinate the branding strategy with the company goals. Some questions to think about include:
– Does the current brand strategy align with the company goals?
– How would you describe the pace of innovation within the industry?
– What resources are currently dedicated to the branding effort?
– Is your company operating globally, or planning to do so soon?
– What kind of brand architecture strategy is your competition using? Is it similar or completely different from your strategy?