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Planning your brand’s architecture is an important consideration in the early stages of your brand’s development. Branding is a very expensive thing to change when you already have a presence in the market, signs on the doors, vehicle wraps and more. This is an important aspect of your brand to think through fully. If you’re clear on your brand’s architecture before getting your logo designed your early clarity may end up saving you from re-branding down the road.

Imagine you’re building your dream home. You’d have a plan right? Architectural drawings even. Before you broke ground, you’d know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d be building. You might be building a bedroom for an unborn child or even planning a basement you’ll finish five years from now. You’d know what your need family needed in the next ten years or so. Your type A planning mind would be on overdrive with questions, decisions and plans. Your brand needs an architectural plan too.

What I mean by brand architecture is how you structure and name the brands within your portfolio. Your brand’s structure and naming strategy is about how you create a relationship between your companies subsidiaries, products and services. The more brands you have the greater the marketing expenses.

Let’s take Richard Branson’s Virgin brand as an example. Virgin is the most cost effective option for building your brand. It’s called the monolothic brand. Apple’s naming strategy for their products is intensionally consistent they have the iPhone, iPad, iPod the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and so on. This brand naming strategy groups Apples products together creating strong product level brands.
Virgin competes in a wide range of industries from Airlines to Telecommunication to Fitness all under one simple and powerful umbrella. In this case, the monolithic structure works beautifully for Virgin because their unifying elements are its brave messages and challenging ways. Branson believes that if they protect the integrity of the Virgin brand it has infinite possibilities.

There are two other main types of brand architecture systems. Endorsed, where all brands are linked to the main business either by verbal or visual endorsement such as Unilever. Finally, we have freestanding, where the core business operates merely as a holding company, and each product or service is individually branded for its ideal client. An example of a freestanding brand is Tide which is owned by Procter & Gamble.
Where you want to take the company should inform how you brand the name your company. It’s important to start with a a very niche audience which we will talk about in chapter 7 but you need to be mindful of where you want your brand to be in 10 years. If you plan on expanding your products and services you may require a more all encompassing name to start.

When you develop a brand that is truly innovative opportunities start to arise. While you’re envisioning the prosperous future and growth areas I encourage you to really stretch your thinking about what’s possible. Creating your vision statement is an exercise for the imagination.

 


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