"We have grown by acquisition and have many brands in our corporate portfolio. Do we need them all? How do we control and manage brand profusion?"
Complexity is a natural bi-product of growth. New divisions are created and named. Companies are acquired and integrated at the operational level but the brand is often left to float in the corporate universe without direction or purpose. Over time, the brands amass and coagulate into an unmanaged profusion that drains marketing budgets, confuses customers and distorts understanding of the company as a whole.
What value do these brands have? What role can they play? Are they really brands? Do they duplicate or overlap? Which brands deserve investment? Is there a logical naming taxonomy in place?
The answer to these questions is found in a brand architecture strategy. It has to be constructed as a framework in which decisions about brands can be made on a rational and consistent basis in support of the strategic direction of the business. Such an approach is based on four key areas of evaluation:
- A rigorous assessment of all brands within the portfolio in question to evaluate their effectiveness, not just their awareness, in the sales funnel;
- A thorough, research-based understanding of the role, credibility and appropriate visibility of the corporate brand in a buying decision;
- The category and the competitive domain in which the company operates, and the company’s strategic plan assessed against industry trends and dynamics;
- And, finally, a comprehensive “outside-in” restructuring of the portfolio around identified “power brands.”
Within such an approach, brand architecture becomes a valuable tool for managing brands in line with the strategic direction of the enterprise.