What is Brand Architecture, and How Does it Impact Your Business?
Brand architecture is a new approach to building a brand that includes thinking about the big picture and developing strategies you can apply across all aspects of your marketing efforts.
Brand architecture is the strategic planning behind a brand’s design, structure and messaging. Brand architecture is critical to the success of any brand because it is the foundation upon which the entire brand rests. Think about it: your house is bound to fall if the foundation is weak. If the foundation is strong, you’ll never know when your home is about to collapse. You could even get a warning before the whole thing collapses.
When we speak with potential customers or clients about branding their businesses, they first ask, “How does my brand architecture impact my business?” We then explain how it impacts their business.
What is Brand Architecture: a Definition?
Brand Architecture creates a clear, focused brand identity that engages your target audience.
A brand architecture consists of two main parts. The first is the brand experience – how customers experience the brand. This includes everything from the product/service, the website, the overall brand strategy, visual identity, messaging, communications channels, and many other elements. The second part of the brand architecture is the customer experience. This is the experience customers have with your brand. Customer experience means how the brand delivers the brand promise to your customer.
Brand architecture is a three-dimensional framework, providing a common language that helps build and manage a cohesive brand experience.
To build a successful brand architecture, it’s essential to understand your business, your competitors, and your target audience. A brand architecture requires you to clearly define what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. The brand architecture helps you build a coherent brand experience for your customers by helping you focus on your brand’s core elements.
It’s easy to get carried away with branding regarding logo design or stationery. However, you must keep your company’s overall branding in mind.
You can use the brand architecture framework to plan the overall branding of your business. It will help you create clear brand guidelines for your business. These can include the following elements.
The Brand Promise
This is what your brand is all about. How do you want to position your business in the market? How do you want to differentiate your product or service from your competitors? What values do you want to convey to your customers? How do you want your customers to think about you and your business?
Your brand identity is the total of your brand promise, the design of your logo, the colors and fonts used on your website, and the visuals you use to communicate with your customers.
This is the experience your customers have when they interact with your business. How do you want your customers to feel when they visit your website? How do you want them to feel when they call your business? How do you want them to feel when they receive your marketing communications?
This is the process of communicating your brand to your customers. How do you want to tell your story to your customers? How do you want your customers to respond to you? What actions do you want your customers to take?
This is the strategy you employ to reach and engage with your customers. How do you want to communicate with your customers? How do you want to attract new customers to your business? How do you want to retain existing customers?
This is the process of delivering your brand promise to your customers. How do you want to ensure you’re consistently delivering the best possible customer experience? How do you want to develop and manage your brand? How do you want to measure the success of your brand?
Why is Brand Architecture Important?
Brand architecture is an approach to building brands that have gained momentum in the design world in recent years. It is a concept which offers a new way of looking at how we should build brands and how you can create the products/services within a brand.
The approach seeks to build brands from the ground up by combining all the different parts of a brand into a coherent whole. This contrasts with creating a brand by focusing on the marketing aspects alone.
Brand architecture has the advantage of bringing together many of the different elements of a brand and ensuring that all the various aspects work together, rather than each working independently.
The approach also considers the customer journey from beginning to end, looking at the different interactions between the customer, product and brand throughout this journey. For example, it considers the customer’s experience during the pre-purchase phase, how they interact with the brand, and what they hope to gain from buying from it. As the customer uses the product, the brand architecture focuses on how the customer interacts with the product, how they perceive the product, whether they are happy with it, etc.
Applying brand architecture to a brand’s design is similar to applying user experience (UX) design. For example, brand architecture takes the same approach to evaluate a problem which UX designers take to solve.
However, there are differences in terms of how a solution is found. In UX design, the user journey is mapped out first, and then the user needs are identified. In Brand Architecture, the user needs and their journey are already known, and the process of solving the problem begins from there.
Tips for Building a Successful Brand Architecture
1 – Define your brand strategy
Many businesses do not know the difference between brand strategy and marketing strategy. Both these terms seem to be similar and even interchangeable at times. But the brand strategy is a whole different ball game.
It defines how a company wants to be perceived by the customers and the market. This helps the company decide what products they want to sell and how they should behave towards the customers. It gives a clear picture of how to run the business.
A brand strategy is an overall plan that outlines the direction and direction of a company. It has to be comprehensive and strategic in nature. A brand strategy defines how a company wants to be perceived by its target audience, what products they want to make, and how it should behave.
It helps to establish the company’s vision, mission, values, and goals. A brand strategy is developed after considering all the aspects of the business and how to achieve them. This strategy provides a roadmap to the company on how it should act, what kind of products it should create, and how it should behave with the customers.
Marketing strategy is the plan of action that focuses on how the business should reach out to the customers and convince them about their product. It includes the plans for advertising, sales and promotion. Marketing strategy includes tactics planned to get customers to buy the product. It includes all the activities related to sales, promotions, and advertising.
There are many marketing strategies, like, direct marketing, email marketing, internet marketing, social media marketing, etc. These strategies help in promoting the products. It is the process by which a business targets customers and makes a sales pitch to them. For the marketing strategy to work, the company must ensure that the products they sell are relevant to the target audience.
Critical Differences Between Brand Strategy and Marketing Strategy:
- A brand strategy is a long-term planning document, while a marketing strategy is a one-time event.
- A brand strategy is usually developed for a company over time, while a marketing strategy is created once the business starts.
- Brand strategy is based on the customer base and the market, while marketing strategy is based on the company itself.
- Brand strategy is about the company’s perception, while marketing is about getting people to buy the product.
- Brand strategy is about the company’s future, while marketing is about the present.
In simple words, brand strategy is the long-term planning document of the company, while marketing strategy is the strategy implemented after starting a business. Brand strategy is based on the customer base and the market, whereas marketing strategy is based on the company itself. Brand strategy is based on the company’s future, whereas marketing strategy is about the present.
2 – Focus on your audience
Brand awareness is a big part of branding. But there are two main types of people. Those who just see brands and those who are aware of brands are not interested.
This is important to understand because if you are unaware of your brand and just see brands, you will not be able to market your brand effectively. When it comes to branding, you need to work on your audience.
There are a few reasons for this. First, if you don’t know whom you are trying to sell to, it’s impossible to know what your brand stands for and what value it brings. Secondly, you cannot assume that just because your audience has been exposed to a brand before, they will automatically buy from you.
You can see why this is the case; if you think about it, you’ve probably had the experience of seeing a brand on a friend’s Facebook page or something similar. But they didn’t choose you to advertise to; they chose that brand because they thought it was a brand worth advertising.
This is what it is like in real life. Someone doesn’t decide to be your customer because they heard about you through your Facebook page; they choose to become your customer because they think your product is worth buying. And that will happen whether you are aware of it or not. So, knowing your audience and understanding what they are looking for is vital in creating an effective brand identity.
What does your audience look for?
Knowing what your audience looks for in your brand identity is essential. You can’t create an identity if you don’t know what your audience wants. In the same way, you can’t effectively market to a potential customer if you don’t know whom you are marketing to.
If you know this, you can use it to your advantage. It would be best if you tried to use your audience’s needs as inspiration for creating your brand identity. Your brand identity comprises the values you share with your audience and the message you communicate. So, for example, if you’re creating a business around music, the values you will want to use are loyalty, honesty, and passion. You will want to communicate that your audience will always be your number one priority.
You should also consider the kind of person you are. Will you work with anyone, or will you focus on a specific type of customer? Do you want to attract new customers or keep your current customers happy?
To answer these questions, you need to know your audience. Are they young, old, male, female, rich, poor, smart, or stupid? How will your product, service, or business fit into their lifestyle? What are they interested in?
It’s also good to understand what makes them tick. Why do they act the way they do? Why do they do what they do? What keeps them awake at night? It’s also helpful to know where they come from. Why do they react the way they do? These are all questions to help you to know whom you are trying to market to.
When creating your brand identity, finding out whom you are trying to sell to is best. This is the first step; the next step is to find out what your audience is looking for. Once you know your audience, you can work out what values you share with your audience and what kind of message you can communicate.
If you are unsure how to get started, we recommend reading The Brand Gap by Richard J. Brim and Brian W. Schneider, which gives you the information you need to start working on your audience.
3 – Determine your key messages
Brand messaging is one of the most critical aspects of a business. Branding your business or products is an excellent way to communicate what you do and stand for. You must first know your core brand values to get your messages right. Then it would help if you created a strong brand identity. This will help you determine the tone of voice you use for all your communications. Your brand identity should be consistent throughout your company and website. Finally, you need to integrate your brand into all your marketing activities. Here are some tips to help you understand how to start branding your business.
The first step in creating your brand identity is developing your brand values. These are the words that describe your brand. For example, one of Apple’s most popular brand values is “Designed by Apple in California.”
Once you have your brand values, you must figure out your target audience. Next, you must write down the main things your audience will look for in your brand. For example, if your business sells electronics, the main thing your audience will be looking for is “reliability.”
After that, you need to work on coming up with a logo that represents your brand values. A logo represents your brand in many ways, including on printed materials and the website.
Integrating your brand into your marketing
It would be best if you integrated your brand identity into all your marketing activities. This includes everything from social media to the emails you send out to your customers. For example, if your brand is about reliability, you should emphasize this in your social media posts and emails. This helps your customer feel comfortable with you. Also, ensure your brand identity is reflected in your website content.
Include a visual that represents your brand
You should represent your brand visually. This means that your brand image needs to be reflected on all your marketing materials and online content. Your brand image could include a logo, product picture, color scheme, or any other visual element representing your brand. You should also have a branded template for all your marketing materials.
Before you begin branding your business, you must figure out your core values. These core values should be consistent in all your communications. Once you have these core values, you can develop your brand identity. Your brand identity should be consistent and clear across all your marketing efforts.
4 – Create Brand Guidelines
Branding is one of the most critical elements of the marketing mix. People think about your company and what they expect from your brand. Therefore, it’s crucial that you create a strong brand identity for your organization. Brand guidelines are essential to branding because they help create a consistent and recognizable look for your business across all your marketing materials.
The term ‘brand architecture’ refers to the way your brand is organized into distinct components or areas. For example, your logo might be part of your brand architecture; it might be your corporate brand; it might be your product brands, etc.
Brand guidelines are a helpful tool when organizing these various aspects of your brand. They can help you clearly define and communicate what each brand element represents to your customers.
Creating brand guidelines for your brand architecture
When creating brand guidelines for your brand architecture, the first step is to decide what areas of your brand architecture you want to cover in your guidelines. The best way to do this is to start by defining what you want to accomplish with your guidelines. This is called your “Brand Strategy.” You can think of it as a map to the territory you want to reach.
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding what areas of your brand architecture you want to include in your guidelines:
- What does my company stand for? Why do people use our products and services?
- What values do we want our customers to associate with our products and services?
- What does our company want to achieve in the future?
Once you have decided what areas of your brand architecture you want to include in your brand guidelines, the next step is to brainstorm ideas for those areas. The best way to do this is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What do our customers need?
- What do our customers want?
- What do our customers expect from us?
- What problems do our customers have?
- What do our customers need to feel good about using our products and services?
- What do our customers need to be happy with us?
- What do our customers expect from us?
Once you have answered these questions, you’ll have a clearer idea of what areas of your brand architecture you want to include in your brand guidelines.
5 – Build a brand management plan
Brand management is developing a strategic marketing plan that aligns with your company’s goals. This includes how your brand will be represented across your company’s various communication channels, including social media, email, and traditional advertising. Once you have your plan, you can measure how well your brand performs.
Planning your brand strategy is similar to other strategic planning processes:
- You must understand the problem you’re trying to solve.
- You must identify the goals you want to achieve.
- You must determine the strategies and tactics you will use to get there.
To help you along the way, here are some tips to get started.
Step 1: Identify the Problem
Your first step is to think about what you want to accomplish through your brand strategy. Why do you want to manage your brand? What do you hope to gain from doing so? You may not know the answer now, but you can narrow your brand’s objectives by thinking about these questions.
Step 2: Determine Your Goals
Before developing your brand strategy, you must know what you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase awareness? Gain customers? Reduce your costs? Once you know your goals, you’ll be able to develop a plan that fits those needs.
Step 3: Define Your Strategy
After you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to figure out your strategy. How will you implement your brand? Are you going to be aggressive and go after new customers? Or, will you keep things simple and let your customers come to you? Either way, once you have your strategy in mind, you’ll be able to develop a plan that helps you reach your goals.
Step 4: Develop Tactics
Once you have your strategy and goals, it’s time to implement your plan. Consider your objectives, and determine which tactics will help you achieve them. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you may decide to run ads on Google and Facebook. You may also consider running a direct mail campaign to your current customers.
You may also need to create an online presence like a website. Your website must be designed to help you achieve your goals. When someone visits your site, they should immediately know why they came to your site and what you want them to do.
Step 5: Measure Success
Finally, you will need to monitor how your brand is doing. How many new leads are you receiving? How many customers are you converting? Are you reaching your goals? If you aren’t, you may need to change your tactics. By monitoring your brand, you will be able to know when it’s time to make changes.
6 – Determine how to integrate and manage your brand
Brand architecture is a complex topic for many people. Brand architecture can be thought of as the process of defining and managing the relationship between the brand and its various stakeholders, as well as the brand and its various touchpoints.
Establishing a brand architecture includes both top-down and bottom-up activities and requires the engagement of all stakeholders in the business. To be successful, a brand architecture must support the creation and maintenance of brand-specific content at each level of the organization while allowing cross-departmental communication, collaboration, and innovation across the organization.
The first step in building a solid brand architecture is identifying and defining the brand’s key elements. Once these elements are identified, a brand architecture should be built that supports the creation and management of those elements and their interrelationships to build the brand.
Brand architecture is the foundation of a brand’s strategy and roadmap and should be created early in establishing a brand. Brand architecture should include the following key components:
- Brand definition
- Content strategy
- Content governance and management
- Communications strategy
- Digital strategy
- Innovation strategy
- Identity, style, and culture
- Key performance indicators
- Performance measures
- Marketing strategy
- Organizational structure
- Product strategy
- Project management
- Roles and responsibilities
- Systems and technology
- Web analytics
- Workflow and process
Once the core brand architecture is in place, the next step is to create a brand architecture governance and management plan to establish and maintain the brand architecture.
A brand architecture governance and management plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder within the organization. Also, it provides a detailed plan for creating and maintaining the brand architecture. A brand architecture governance and management plan is vital for ensuring that the organization has a unified understanding of the brand and that the brand is being developed, managed, and communicated consistently throughout the organization.
It is often the most challenging aspect of building a brand architecture. Still, it is essential because it serves as a reference point for all stakeholders and a mechanism for creating and managing the brand.
I should note that a brand architecture governance and management plan does not necessarily need to be formalized or centralized. While a formal plan is recommended, a brand architecture governance and management plan may be developed and managed informally by the brand owner.
Informal plans are more accessible to develop than formal plans, and they may be more effective in achieving the desired outcomes.
7 – Manage your Brand for Omnichannel Marketing
Ecommerce has taken the marketing world by storm. Every company is now trying to create their eCommerce platform to reach out to its target audience. This is when businesses need to start thinking about branding for omnichannel. Brands need to think beyond old-fashioned marketing and go for omnichannel strategies for their business.
Brand management is one of the significant tasks you must accomplish to build a successful online presence. To make your brand work for you, you need to identify your brand identity and how you can use it to get the most from the internet.
You need to know what your brand stands for to have a successful brand. What are your brand’s core values? What do you stand for? These questions are fundamental for you to ask yourself and your team.
You must know what your brand identity is. What are the values that you need to adhere to? What are the things that you need to represent to your target audience? A brand must have a unique value proposition to survive in this modern era.
You need to know the difference between your brand and your products. You need to have a strategy in place so your brand can communicate with your customers.
Once you have figured out what you need to represent, you can start working on your brand strategy. This means that you need to understand what strategies you need to implement to make your brand work for you.
You should build your brand around the critical aspects of your business. Your brand should be able to communicate your business’s key messages to your audience.
After figuring out your brand identity, you need to consider what you can do to make it successful. The next step is to decide on the best ways to implement the strategy that you have created.
Doing a market analysis is another essential part of brand management. Once you have done a thorough analysis, you will be able to determine if there are any gaps in the market and if you need to expand. You can also plan your marketing strategy based on your gathered data.
A successful omnichannel strategy is customer-centric. The way that your brand works with your customer and the kind of experience that you provide them.
The main thing that you need to understand is that your customer needs to feel important to you. You need to be able to meet their expectations and give them a great experience. This is something that you need to do even when they are browsing through your website.
Brand architecture involves using the right tools and approaches to design, develop, and implement the foundation of your brand. You can use brand architecture to achieve goals like creating and maintaining brand awareness and building brand equity. With brand architecture, you’ll understand what your brand stands for, how it looks, and how you want to communicate it to your audience.
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