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:
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.
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.
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 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 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.
As one tangible expression of your strategy, 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 architecture isn’t clear or aligned with your business strategy.
We believe that architecture should always align 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.
Learn More: 6 Disruptions Universal to Brands Today
4. You’re tired of hearing customers say “I didn’t know you 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.
In this instance, multiple elements of your 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.
Are you experiencing any of these situations right now? Have you identified a way that your architecture could be working harder for you? We’d love to dig in and see how we can help. Tell us more here.