Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers. Today we hear from Cathy, a VP of Marketing in Toronto, Canada who has this question about brand architecture strategy.
I’m facing two issues. First, our organization continues to grow by acquisition with little strategic thought, leaving our portfolio strategy in disarray. Further, since I arrived five months ago, I have had little success in gaining the buy-in necessary to bring in outside experts who specialize in brand architecture strategy. What ideas can you share that will help me make the case?
Thanks for your questions Cathy. As brand and growth consultants, we have seen these problems many times before and have written extensively about each. Let’s start by building a case for this very important work.
1. Benefits Of Optimizing Brand Architecture
- Typically decreases the number of brands resulting in significantly reduced brand management and marketing expenses
- Minimizes consumer confusion
- Too many brands confuse customers and make purchase decisions difficult
- Many “brands” have very low awareness and aren’t really brands
- Allows marketers to build brand awareness more quickly
- Because they can focus larger marketing budgets on fewer brands
- Significantly reduces the time taken to develop new brands and decide on their branding treatment
1. Targeting the drivers of specific product categories
2. Targeting the needs of specific consumer groups
3. Focusing attention on product innovation or other areas of competitive advantage
1. Reducing marketing costs necessary to support multiple brands
2. Reducing the management costs of running a complex brand portfolio
3. Reducing buying costs by giving customers fewer options so that they can find what they’re looking for more quickly
Cathy, the issue of brand proliferation is a common brand architecture issue, you are not alone. Over time, either through organic growth or acquisition, companies increase their portfolio of brands and eventually find that the cost of supporting and managing all these brands is impacting business performance.
This issue is particularly well-served by brand value thinking — anything that does not add value should be eliminated. Brand value puts the burden of proof on keeping brands that add complexity and cost for little benefit. For growth-minded companies that are prone to brand proliferation, it provides a useful check and a source of control.
2. Gaining Buy-In For Brand Portfolio Projects
As you seem to be experiencing with others on the leadership team, there are times when gaining buy-in for marketing initiatives is the hardest task of all. Even with the strongest case, human factors can get in the way of smart people making smart business decisions. First, I encourage you to employ the steps in this piece on how to get others to embrace your brand ideas. Second, accept the role of change agent, fight for sound brand strategy and don’t give up too soon.
I hope this is helpful Cathy.
The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Architecture Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education