Your brand is the DNA of your company. The bloodline that connects the core values and message of your business to the customer. A brand that has trouble connecting to its audience will be a brand that has trouble staying around. When we look at companies that have lasted for decades, we can see how they managed to penetrate the minds of their customers and keep them coming back for more. One of the most modern examples of branding that most of us are familiar with is Apple. Apple has managed to capture the attention of their customer so much that they have sold almost 1 billion cell phones. Now that’s great branding! How many options of cell phones are there? What has Apple done that the other companies haven’t that has allowed them to dominate the cell phone market? Simple. Branded better than any of the competition. Their branding has worked so well they are able to typically come in at a much higher price point for a product that might offer fewer features than the competitor. This doesn’t keep brand loyalist from standing in lines to get the newest iPhone. Another great example is none other than Starbucks. Starbuck sells coffee. Lots of coffee. Not only do they sell coffee, but they sell it at a higher price point sometimes as much as $5.00 per cup. Never ceases to amaze me that people are willing to pay $5.00 for a cup a coffee, but that is the power of branding done properly.
Brand architecture is the way you manage the products and services you provide, this makes it as easy as possible for people to understand what it is you offer so consumers can build a relationship. Your brand architecture will map how your products are related to each other or how they are not related to each other. A great example of this is the BMW, a 3 series may be identified as the more young, hip and sporty model, the 5 series would be more of a mid-size car while still sporty it takes a step closer to a family sedan, the 7 series would be the full size luxury sedan although a BMW this line would be for the executive that arrives in still and may have a family.
There are 3 types of brand architecture monolithic, endorsed brands and Family of brands. Monolithic brands focus on a strong parent brands and leverage the power of the parent brand to spread across the different brands. FEDEX for example has FedEx-ground, fedEx-express, FedEx-freight, FedEx-office, and FedEx-Trade Networks. Endorsed branding consists of sub-branding where each brand has their own identity. Marriot Hotels demonstrates this well. There is the CourtYard-Marriot, the Fairfield Inn-Marriot, Residence Inn-Marriott, Towne Place-Marriott, Spring Hill Suites-Marriott. Each hotel has its own identity while being part of the Marriott. A Family of brands would be none other than Apple does this the best right now. Lastly family of brands would be demonstrated well by Alphabet. Alphabet has Google, YouTube, Android, G+, Google Maps, Chrome, Google Play, Google Drive, Google Adwords, Gmail, Nexus, Blogger. Each brand operates independently of the other but is still connected to Alphabet.
Understanding how your business will approach its brand identity will be important. Put a lot a research time and effort into deciding which way your company will go and how your company will want to interact with its consumer base. Having clarity with your branding is essential to having the staying power that is needed to compete in this day and age.