Brand Architecture-Think Like a Customer

Brand Architecture-Think Like a Customer

Investing time upfront to develop a comprehensive strategy is crucial for long-term success. Rectifying a branding debacle can be daunting, as brand confusion can have severe consequences.

Consider the following brand architecture principles:

• Prioritize Brand Names: Customers resonate more with brand names than company names. In discussions about purchases, people typically reference the brand rather than the company. For instance, you’re more likely to hear “I bought a new Cadillac” than “I bought a new General Motors Cadillac STS.” This underscores the importance of building strong product brands, especially in competitive markets with narrowly defined features targeting specific demographics.

• Differentiate Company and Product: While a company name identifies the entity behind the product, it’s crucial to distinguish it from the product itself. For example, Adobe, Inc. is the company behind Acrobat, one of its software offerings among many others.

• Brand Focus: If the product doesn’t necessitate its own brand identity, prioritize branding the company. Adhere to these guidelines when establishing a brand portfolio:

  1. Organize sibling brands around a common product area.
  2. Create distinct brand names and messages.
  3. Differentiate siblings based on a single attribute, such as usage or experience level.
  4. Enforce clear distinctions between sibling brands to prevent overlap, especially in terms of pricing or product sophistication.
  5. Only introduce a new sibling brand if creating a new category is not feasible.

Building a robust house of brands can lead to market dominance over time. General Mills exemplifies this approach by maintaining distinct brand identities across its portfolio, including its ownership of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Rather than diluting brand equity by creating a unified look, they’ve succeeded by nurturing individual brand identities tailored to specific markets.

Assess the strength of your brand architecture—are you set up for sustained success?


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