You Understand Your Brand Architecture, Now What?

How to Make it the Foundation for Your Product Strategy

A sturdy building requires a great foundation. Furthermore, for the structure to withstand the test of time and elements, anything built on that foundation needs proper planning, great materials, and an understanding of how those materials fit together most efficiently.

The same philosophy applies when developing your brand architecture. It requires a bottom-to-top approach that will organize your benefits and positioning to create a structure upon which you can build a strong, long-lasting brand.

Developing your brand architecture requires a bottom-to-top approach that will organize your benefits and positioning to create a structure upon which you can build a strong, long-lasting brand.”

Of course, first you must develop a framework that identifies how existing brands, products and services interplay with one another (both within your portfolio and across your competitive set/category). From here, you can define which functional and emotional benefits must be presented consistently across your products and services. This establishes (or creates) criteria by which all subsequent introductions and extensions fit into your foundation.

Once you have that foundation in place and your stakeholders are aligned to the strategy, new product development must follow the guidelines defined by your architecture. The guidelines you put in place will allow you to judge whether potential brand extensions are worth pursuing and whether they will truly help your brand.

Here are four ways your brand architecture should be used to inform decisions about brand extensions:

1. To determine whether your new products and services can be successful while also keeping consistent with your current brand structure (i.e., aligning with the emotional and functional benefits for which your offerings are known).

2. To determine if your ideas are consistently reinforcing your overall brand positioning and messaging and elevating opportunities that align with the definition of your architecture.

3. To help you determine whether it’s worthwhile to consider reinvigorating smaller brands by supporting them with the strongest parts of your architecture.

4. To identify new target audiences that are compelled by the pillars of your brand architecture.

The guidelines you put in place will allow you to judge whether potential brand extensions are worth pursuing and whether they will truly help your brand.”

Once you develop and understand your brand architecture, your product strategy should follow suit, allowing you to extend your products and features in a seamless way, but within the confines of that structure. In doing so, you’ll be creating that strong foundation on which to build strategies that lead to long- term success for your organization.

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