What Is Brand Architecture & How Important Is It For Your Business?

 
The current marketing scenario is buzzing with brands and their branding activities. From businesses, NGOs, and governments to religious bodies, leaders, and their political parties – everyone has become brands that are performing to better position themselves in different areas of society.

As organizations grow, they aspire to appeal to different audiences through different product, and services, these commodities are either introduced or acquired through company acquisitions. While branching out is profitable for business, it adds an extra layer of complexity to your brand identity that perplexes your customer, making your brand seem ‘complicated’.

Although it is difficult to gaze at the confusion from the inside, it is sure to impact your brand equity in the long run. So, how do we manage the perception and gain better control over the brand? That’s where brand architecture comes in order.

An intuitive and intelligently designed brand framework can assist you to pair your products with the right target audiences, define your relationship with each sub-brand, help you with cross-promotion and gain control over the audience’s perception of your brand.

In this article, we will discuss in detail brand architecture, its importance, and its benefits in solidifying a brand architecture. Finally, we will discuss how Vowels, a neutral third-party can bring a ton of value to your brand consolidation.
 

So, What Is Brand Architecture & Why Should I Care About It?

 

Brand architecture is an organized structure of brands in a company. It is a guide that helps define the relationship of a parent company with its various sub-brands, and subsidiaries. In a nutshell, brand architecture is a road map for defining brand identities, product development, and visual identity.

There is a general misconception that brand architecture is valid for large organizations but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Small companies and startups can witness considerable improvements in the performance of the products/services they are offering.

Here are some of the other major benefits brand architecture provides:
 

  1. Defined Set Of Audience & Their Needs
  2. Solid Brand Messaging & Positioning
  3. Reduces Marketing Costs
  4. Boost Confidence Among Stakeholders
  5. Protect Brand Equity

 

What-Is-Brand-Architecture

1. Defined Set Of Audience & Their Needs

 

Brand architecture helps segment your audience according to their needs. In this way, a specific brand can tailor it’s messaging and give the customer exactly what they are looking for.
 

2. Solid Brand Messaging & Positioning

 

Nothing hurts a brand more than a muddled brand positioning. With brand architecture, you can gain greater clarity in your position in the market and the messaging to dial up the sales.
 

3. Reduces Marketing Costs

 

When the structure is intelligently and intuitively designed, you increase your chances of effective cross-promotion and save a lot of marketing budget and effort.
 

4. Boost Confidence Among Stakeholders

 

A great brand architecture helps the brands capture the attention of their specific marketplace, promoting sales and brand awareness. This structure of growth and innovation boosts the confidence of existing stakeholders and attracts potential investors.
 

5. Protect Brand Equity

 

Brand architecture helps a company define its breadth and depth. Not only does it provide clarity around the products and services you are offering, but it also helps you gaze at the perception of the consumers about it. This information is enough to influence customers’ behaviour and maximize the transfer of brand equity between the parent and its sub-brands.
 

What Are The Types Of Brand Architecture That Exists?

 

There are three main types of brand architecture:
 

  1. House of Brands
  2. Endorsed Brands
  3. Branded House

 

What-Are-The-Types-Of-Brand-Architecture

1. House of Brands

 

House-of-Brands-Like-P&G

House of brands is a slightly more flexible brand architecture strategy where the parent brand owns and manages various sub-brands, each of which has a unique brand identity.

Under this architecture, the sub-brands are not linked through visual and verbal identity rather they address distinct market segmentation needs, with individual marketing and communication strategies.
 

2. Endorsed Brands

 

Endorsed-Brands

In this architecture, unique and distinct sub-brands are linked together by an endorsing parent brand. To put it simply, a parent brand is an umbrella that hosts a variety of sub-brands with its own brand identity.

The best example to understand this structure is the Marvel Universe. They host a variety of series and movies like Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man but they got more traction because they were associated with the Marvel Universe.
 

3. Branded House

 

Branded-House

Branded house is the common type of brand extension where the parent company is closely associated with its sub-brands. The fundamental aim of the branded house is to gain maximum visibility for the master brand. To gain maximum use out of its subsidiaries, the parent brand aligns itself with them through logo, packaging, and brand communication.
 

How Can You Create Your Own Brand Architecture?

 

  1. Research
  2. Clarity
  3. Strategy
  4. Plan A Timeline

 

How-Can-You-Create-Your-Own-Brand-Architecture

1. Research

 

The single most important tool in creating a sound brand architecture strategy is to do your research. It is important to know your customers, their associations, and brand loyalties.

The research data will help you determine which brand architecture type will best support your business strategy. The qualitative and quantitative research analysis will give you an insight into your strengths and weaknesses along with your competition.
 

2. Clarity

 

Be clear about your organizational structure, business vision, and ambition. A brand architecture will demonstrate how your parent brand and their sub-brands communicate and support each other. Therefore, before determining whether a strategy will benefit or harm your corporate identity, have a clear idea of the brand’s perceived value in the eyes of customers and investors.
 

3. Strategy

 

How closely do you want to associate your sub-brands with your parent brand? To what extent should the associated brands cross-promote each other? Should they even interact or remain independent?

These are some of the questions, a company answers while determining its ideal brand architecture type. In the strategy phase, a company assesses the value of the relationship between the parent and its subsidiaries. It determines if the relationship can provide additional brand equity to support the main business. Since the portfolio brand architecture is the most expensive investment, the company also determines the most cost-efficient structure to tackle it.
 

4. Plan A Timeline

 

Once you have narrowed down your ideal brand architecture type crafted to your needs, it’s time to plan and introduce your timeline. If you are planning to implement the master brand structure then you decide on the homogeneous visual identity to pull everything together. If your ideal structure is having distinct sub-brands then you need to craft a unique identity system to support that architecture.
 

Conclusion

 

While creating a successful architecture, it is important to understand that it doesn’t just happen. It requires careful thought, meticulous planning, and most importantly a neutral third-party perspective. Brand architecture when gone wrong risks brand dilution, or at the least, not optimizing the brand assets to their maximum potential.

If you are confused and looking for experts to assist you in creating your unique brand architecture, Vowels is here at your service.

Essential Guide to Creating a Strong Branding Strategy

 

“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Dan Wieden 

The year 2020 will be marked as the time which transformed the way businesses operate. With the ongoing pandemic and more time on our hands, we have been introduced to more new businesses, traditional products and services moving online, and employees working remotely or in a hybrid setting for over a year.

essential-guide-to-creating-a-strong-branding-strategy

With the world changing so much around us, brands have come to the difficult realization that they can’t really succeed without a sound brand strategy. Or perhaps worse, they have a strategy in place, but it is ineffective in generating traffic, leads, or revenue. In short, it’s not persuasive.

If you are brand and can relate to the above-mentioned situation, do not panic! Crafting a sound branding strategy is not an overnight job; it takes time, planning, commitment, and a lot of introspection.

In this article, we will take a step back and get back to the basics. As more detailed you are in your branding strategy, the easier it will be to execute on a larger scale and meet your business goals.

So, What Is A Branding Strategy?

 

According to Danish author and brand strategist Martin Roll, branding strategy is the ‘big picture’ plans and tactics deployed by an organisation/brand owner to create long-term brand equity and competitive advantages from branding.

Long story short, your brand is more than your product, logo, name, or website. A well-defined branding strategy goes beyond the superficial facade of marketing and encompasses all aspects of business especially connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competition

Consider it as a blueprint that will help you understand and communicate your audience and stakeholders efficiently.

And, Why Is It So Important To Have One?

 

Truly effective and well-crafted branding strategies try to understand their audience; what do they like, what excites and motivates them, or what ticks them off. Well, that being said, what are some of the other values brand strategies provide to the brand.

  1. Thanks to globalization, the market is overflowing, and competition is fierce. A great brand strategy sets you apart from the competition.
  2. Today, we have numerous counterparts of the same product. An effective brand strategy helps position the brand better, hence, saving the product from being labeled as a commodity.
  3. Your brand is much more than the product you sell — it’s the intangible stuff like care and nostalgia that creates loyalty. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down. A brand strategy helps create an emotional connection with the customer and foster loyalty in their hearts and minds.
  4. As the definition suggests, the brand strategy shows you the big picture. It allows you space and flexibility to grow and expand your range of products.
  5. No matter how much marketers plan and position, buying decisions occur in split seconds. The brand strategy considers minute details to create a well drawn-out process based on a verbal and visual identity that increases your chance of a conversion.

 

How To Create A Perfect Brand Strategy For Yourself?

 

Define Your Brand & Its Purpose

 

Like every person, every brand has a purpose. It’s the reason they exist in the world. While understanding your business, it is necessary to know the specific purpose of your brand, the problem it solves, and the value it imparts.

A defined purpose helps marketers to position better and differentiate between you and your competitors.

Here are some of the question every brand owner should ask itself:

  1. Imagine, if my brand was a person, what would its personality be like?
  2. What values will it cherish and the issues it would stand for?
  3. What problem does my brand solve in the marketplace?
  4. Is there someone else who does it better?
  5. What do I make my target customer feel? What emotion do I want to be associated with?

 

Lead With A Brand Story

 

When Ian Rowden said, “the best brands are built on great stories.” He was 100% right. A brand story is more than your product or service description, website content, or the presentation you used to dazzle your investors.

A brand story is a cohesive narrative, encompassing facts and feelings that you aspire to convey to the customers. It is one of the key elements that elevate your product from a commodity to the status of a brand.

While leading by a story seems easy, combining a story strategically is much more complex and nuanced. It is about thinking beyond the superficial functionality of products and services and striving to create something that people care about. However, it is only through a brand story you can foster loyalty and forge meaningful bonds with your customers.

Understand The Subtext. Communicate Better

 

Humans are complex creatures. What they say and what they mean are oftentimes two different things. That’s why it is all the more important to pay attention and understand the sub-text. Listening to the said and unsaid words, actions, behaviours, and silences will give you more insight into your customer’s mind than any market research data or survey could ever do.

Margo Aaron best describes the situation in her article, The Best Marketers Read Mind (2017)

What They Say:I try to cook 3x a week. I just don’t have time.

What Untrained Ear Hears:They’re busy. They really want to be healthier. We need to emphasize convenience and low-cal in our marketing!

What Trained Ears Hear:They want to cook because they think they should, but honestly, they don’t give AF. It’s not a priority for them. They just feel guilty about how much they order take out. They’d be happier if they allowed themselves to not feel like shit about how much they order out.

The difference in insight between ‘being healthier’ and ‘reducing guilt’ is the billion-dollar industry.

Create Your Unique Visual Identity

 

Let’s face it, no matter how great your product and messaging are, visuals will always reign over text and is usually the most effective way to capture your audience’s attention and build brand recognition.

Contrary to popular opinion visual identity is more than colour and design, it is the reflection of a company.

So, when you’re building your brand, and getting into nuances like the brand story, brand purpose, brand personality, and brand promise, strategically tailoring the visual components to build cohesive brand identity is the way to go.

Things to remember while creating a visual brand identity:

  1. A logo is crucial and likely to be stamped on everything. Get it right.
  2. Create a colour palette that reflects your personality and be consistent with it.
  3. Font speaks volumes about your business. It has the power to create a perception of your brand.
  4. Creating perfect individual elements is great, but making them work together flawlessly is the real test. Always test your concepts and optimize as much as you can.
  5. Lastly, present your visual elements as a unified front. They have the potential to resonate with the audience and impart a favourable impression of your brand.

 

Be Flexible In Your Approach

 

While consistency is required to create a default standard for your brand, flexibility caters to the changing interests and trends of the marketing world to remain a step ahead of the competition.

So, if you are an established business with a set branding strategy, it is time you re-evaluate and change tactics. Take this opportunity and connect with a branding agency like Vowels to engage with your audience in a fresh and meaningful way.

Make Bold Moves. Take Hard Decisions

 

Creating a brand strategy means envisioning future scenarios and placing your bets on those dreams. And a good brand strategy requires you to step out of your comfort zone and make difficult choices.

It also means pushing your consumers, internals, and external stakeholders against their instincts to trust your conviction and take the leap of faith forward into the future.

Taking bold actions is a double-edged sword, and a well-thought-out strategy gives you the authority and confidence to take the risk.

 

Conclusion

 

Brand strategy is similar to self-discovery. You introspect to understand yourself and find your core values. If the journey seems difficult, consult the professionals who challenge you and assists you to delve deeper and take the best approach.

If the thought resonates with you, it’s time we get in touch. We are Vowels, a professional branding agency that assists businesses branding and  rebranding projects. Whether it is a logo design, a website design, tailored messaging, or a complete brand makeover, Vowels will make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.

Extended across multiple countries like the USA, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, we believe in providing exclusive solutions to all your brand problems.

Contact Us

Check out our work at Vowels

We are always available at hello@vowels.ae.

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Rebranding

 

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.” – Richard Branson

Running a business is difficult, branding is likely the last thing on your priority list. Rightly, it’s hard to sit down and flip through colours and fonts when you’re still trying to figure out the USP of your product, who your customers are, and where to find them. Plus, if you made creating an identity for your brand a priority, in the beginning, a slight change in your perspective or the business plans might make your initial branding strategy obsolete.

Guide-to-Successful-Rebranding

Branding like business grows with time. In business, you add new products, explore new markets, target new demographics, and want to pursue a new set of customers. All these developments require companies to come out with a rebranding strategy. Like a makeover, rebranding allows the product to be seen in a new light, tailored to the current business plan.

So, officially, ‘rebranding is the process of changing the corporate image of an organisation. It is a market strategy of giving a new name, symbol, or change in design for an already-established brand. The idea behind rebranding is to create a different identity for a brand, from its competitors, in the market.’

However, the true definition of rebranding is often misinterpreted. Rebranding is much more than a name change, redesign, or new logo. It is readjusting your company’s vision, mission, values, and market to the current reflection of your brand.

Successful-Rebranding-Guide

When Should You Consider Rebranding

  • New Locations – Rebranding is an ideal choice for your brand if you are planning to expand your product in domestic or international markets. Every city has its quirks and might not identify with your current logo, messaging, etc.
  • Market Repositioning – Brands are designed to connect companies with their customers, so if you are planning to reposition your business to target a completely new customer profile – whether through product, place, price, or promotion – your brand will need to follow suit.

    Example: Vicco created magic in the Indian market during the early 80’ and ’90s but over years with the same packaging and old customer base they became dated. But in mid-2019, by associating with Alia Bhatt and playing up the ‘natural’ aspect of its brand portfolio, they underwent a rebranding exercise in an attempt at connecting with a younger generation.

  • New Philosophy – Your company’s mission, vision, and values should govern every decision you make — including every business and brand decisions. If these building blocks are shifting and pivoting the direction of your business along with them, you’ll need to reevaluate your strategy hence your brand’s identity.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions – When two companies come together so do two brands. If your company was acquired or joined with another company, you can’t just let both brands battle it out. Rebranding helps find a new brand that reflects the new entity to prevent confusion and build trust.

When Should You Not Consider Rebranding

  • Attention – In difficult times when sales are floundering, or perhaps brand awareness efforts are going in vain, either way, jumping to rebrand is the wrong move. Following a trend can be beneficial because it shows you are awake in a sleeping industry, but it is also a dangerous game. Changes without backed by strategy might create short-term buzz, but won’t be able to sustain the sale. At worst, you’ll lose whatever brand recognition you had, setting back your sales and marketing efforts.
  • Boredom – People often consider rebranding because they’re sick of seeing the same logo, colour, font, and messaging every day. But what might make you feel restless and bored might resonate with your customers. It is the consistency that helps customers remember your brand.
  • Covering Up A Crisis – Rebranding as a response to persistent internal issues or fending off the bad press is a bad idea. Today’s consumers and employees are smart enough to see right through the act and recognize it for what it is – a cover-up.
  • Ego Boost – Rebranding is the fastest way to make your mark but that doesn’t justify implementing it. Visual elements are a major component in telling your brand’s story, but there are much better ways for the CEO to put their “stamp” on the company. Rebranding is costly and time-consuming, so they should answer important questions like does the company still match the brand personality and communicate its current position?

rebranding-ideas

Total vs. Partial Rebranding

By this time, you must have figured out, if you should rebrand or not, if your answer is ‘yes’, the next question is to what extent. Complete or partial. For a better understanding, what’s at stake, let’s take a partial rebranding as a quick touch-up while the total rebranding as a complete makeover.

With the partial rebranding, you adjust the focus on your visual identity to suit the needs of the markets — as opposed to a complete identity crisis. While complete rebranding comes into play in cases of extreme shifts of a company’s mission, vision, and values. This option is suited to situations like mergers, acquisitions, and other similarly foundational shifts.

Rebranding is a powerful idea but it is important to understand that the more established your brand is, the more you have to lose.

rebranding-strategy

Are You Ready to Rebrand?

Now that you know every pro and con that rebranding entails, it’s time to consider if and how you want to rebrand your own business. Whether you end up going with a logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover. Once you have determined the best strategy, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true.

Contact Us

We are always available on hello@vowels.ae.

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Also Read – Why Do You Need A Brand Guideline?