Brand Architecture Problems: Four Indicators

Sometimes, brand architecture problems are easy to spot. You may know them as “logo soup” or “clean up jobs” – when the visualization of a brand and its assets is so convoluted and confusing that experts are called in for reinforcements. But brand architecture is about so much more than the visualization of your brand, and therefore, problems can arise in many other areas. Here are four less obvious signs that you may have a brand architecture problem in need of addressing:

Four Indicators that you may have a Brand Architecture Problem:

1. Your industry is going through substantial change

Is your industry getting headlines like “[industry] undergoes seismic shifts,” “[industry] may never be the same,” or “Amazon to enter [industry]”? Are new competitors emerging, are customer needs shifting, or are brands in the space expanding their capabilities? If so, it may be time for an architecture update.

 

Shifts in the industry can impact your brand

 

Brand architecture, and more specifically, your portfolio strategy and hierarchy, directly impact the prioritization of equity in your brand and organization. While portfolio strategy determines the level of connectivity between your offerings, hierarchy establishes the level of emphasis placed on each of your organization’s components. Both ensure you can meet both internal and external needs.

 

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As customer or employee needs shift, so too should your portfolio strategy and/or hierarchy to reflect them. Architecture can pave the way to re-allocating resources, to strengthening certain capabilities, and to elevating customer perceptions – all especially relevant priorities when your industry is getting a makeover.

 

2. Your brand strategy for the future is shifting

Let’s say your industry isn’t undergoing drastic change, but your brand is trying to. Maybe you want to enter a new market, appeal to a new audience, or shift your reputation to future-proof your brand. Your brand architecture is one tool that can help you make that change, and it’s definitely something you’ll need to re-evaluate in order to pay off the change.

 

Re-imagining your brand architecture

 

As one tangible expression of your strategy, brand architecture makes it easier to move people to or within your brand. For instance, your organizing principle alone can make it substantially easier for your audiences to learn more about your brand (and those recent changes), and ultimately choose you over competitors.

 

3. Employees have distinctly different ideas of what your brand stands for or is working to accomplish

Sure, you always want your employees to find their own ways of articulating your purpose and how it translates to their responsibilities. However, if you can’t identify a cohesive thread among employee interpretations, that’s a surefire sign your brand architecture isn’t clear or aligned with your business strategy.

 

Understanding your brand problems

 

We believe that brand architecture should always align with who you are with what you do. As you think about your brand’s reason for being, your core beliefs, and your goals for the future, are they reflected in the way you organize your assets? Are organizational structures and communications aligned with those foundational brand elements? If not, an architectural adjustment can bring them into cohesion.

 

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4. You’re tired of hearing customers say “I didn’t know your company did that”

You work hard to market yourself, to clearly communicate the benefits of choosing your brand, and to evolve your offerings to keep up with customer needs. So when your customers miss the big picture, it can be frustrating. What’s even more frustrating is if customers aren’t getting the entire view into your portfolio, you’re likely missing out on potential business.

 

Focus on your Brand Architecture Problems

 

In this instance, multiple elements of your brand architecture could be the culprit. Is your naming structure aligned with what you’re trying to communicate? Does your organizing principle clearly allude to all that you have to offer? Architecture can open eyes to new equities and connect the dots that may not have been seen before.

 

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Are you experiencing any of these situations right now? Have you identified a way that your brand architecture could be working harder for you? We’d love to dig in and see how we can help. Tell us more here.

 


Courtney Berkery, Associate Director, Strategy

About the Author:

Courtney Berkery
Associate Director, Strategy – Monigle

An enthusiastic brand strategist since 2011, I love connecting brands big and small to consumers and culture to deliver breakthrough work. My favorite part of my job is digging deep to find those human truths (from employees or customers!) that inform how brands move through the world.
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Monigle, Brand Experience Agency

About Monigle:

As the country’s largest independent brand consultancy, we’ve been at the forefront of redefining how brands are made and experienced since 1971. Our 100+ team members located in our Denver and New York offices are experts in the brand strategy, brand design and brand management space. Our portfolio of work spans the globe and business verticals, and we celebrate our awards like the 2020 Rebrand 100 and the 2019 Transform Award.

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