Brand Architecture: It’s Not an Org Chart
Had a lively discussion with a new customer the other day about the definition of a brand architecture. What exactly is it? Most companies conceive of a brand architecture as simply an externalized organizational chart.
Triple A Aeronautics has three divisions: Consumer Products, B2B Products and Government Products.
And that's the brand architecture. Although really it isn't. It's a structural description of Triple A, conceived for people working within the company as a tool to help them navigate it. As a concept it's of very little use to people outside of Triple A, some of whom might be considering purchasing some of Triple A's products. It tells them little of substance, for example, about the types of products Triple A sells or the market segments Triple A serves, and nothing at all about the value of those products or the types of customers Triple A hopes to attract.
A good brand architecture can do that. Well maybe not all of that, but it can go a whole lot further than an org chart when it comes to making your company accessible and attractive to the people out there trying to understand and use you.
How do you design a brand architecture? Start by putting yourself in the shoes of someone who's never encountered your company before, and try to anticipate the needs they might have as they seek to understand both you and your various product lines. You might be surprised at what your company structure looks like when viewed through the lens of customer needs — and shocked at what you aren't telling people about the high-value products you have to offer them.