When we are creating a new or “refreshed” brand architecture, we consider four major elements:
Brand Architecture (the overall “container”, defined above)
Brand Hierarchy (the “flowchart” of master or parent brand and sub-brands)
Brand Identity Design (the synergistic design elements for each particular brand)
Customer Personas served by the participating brands
Brand Hierarchy maps the relationships between the various brands within the architecture. This includes the parent brand, which is the main brand, and the sub-brands, which are related brands that fall under the parent brand. For example, Apple is the parent brand and iPhone and iPad are but two of its sub-brands. It is important to consider how each of these brands relates to each other and how they will interact with each other to create a unified brand identity.
Brand Identity Design refers to the various visual — and often linguistic — elements that make up the overall design. This includes the brand name, logo, tagline, typeface, colors, and imagery. The brand name is the most important element as it is used to identify the business. The logo acts as a visual representation of the brand and should be used consistently across all platforms. The tagline or slogan should be simple, succinct, and memorable. The typeface should be recognizable and easy to read while the colors and imagery should reflect the brand’s personality and target audience. All of these elements should work together to create a cohesive brand image that is recognizable and memorable.
Finally, it is important to consider the different Customer Personas that are being served by the brand architecture. By understanding customer personas, businesses can create a brand architecture that is tailored to their target audience and resonates with them. This will help ensure that the brand is communicating the right message and providing the customer with an experience that is tailored to their needs. At BS LLC, we use personas rather than demographic segments, as personas function to define preferences and behaviors.
Now that the elements of the brand architecture have been established, it is time to develop a strategy for how the brand architecture will be implemented. The strategy should include a plan for how the different elements will be used, how the brand hierarchy will be established, and how the master brand and sub-brands will be positioned in the market.
When developing the brand hierarchy, it is important to consider the roles that each brand plays within the architecture. The primary guidance for this step is defining how each brand addresses specific customer needs. The parent brand should act as the umbrella for the sub-brands, while the sub-brands should have their own distinct identities that are still aligned with the parent brand. This will help ensure that customers have a clear understanding of how the brands relate to each other and how they fit together in the architecture. Avoiding customer confusion and empowering their choice and loyalty should be your goal.
Once the brand hierarchy has been established, it is important to develop brand distinction strategies that set each brand apart from the others. This could include creating unique visuals, or developing messaging that speaks to the unique benefits of each brand. By implementing these strategies, businesses can ensure that each brand has its own identity and that the architecture is clear, unified, and cohesive.
Finally, it is important to develop a brand positioning strategy that clearly communicates the brand’s message and purpose to the target audience. This could include developing a brand mission statement and values that are clearly communicated across all platforms. It’s important to understand that the mission and values of a sub-brand must be unique in the overall hierarchy as well as distinctive in the marketplace. These guiding statements are not merely copies of the master brand’s mission and values, but they must harmonize with it.
By developing this strategy, businesses can ensure that their brand is positioned in the market in a way that resonates with the target audience, improves brand recognition, builds brand equity, builds brand loyalty, and provides enhanced efficiency throughout the go-to-market process. All of this leads to a solid foundation for long-term brand success.