by: Idris Mootee

to week four. This week we are introducing brand architecture. This is less
exciting previous sessions as the primarily focus of this one is on the
economics of brand management. So why do we need a brand architecture?
a clear brand architecture is to help structure a brand's position (both now
and for the future) and support management the task of developing that brand
and ensuring that everyone within an organization (from ad agencies to field
mkt folks) is working to a common and clearly understood goal. When do you need
one? Consider GM has 32 brand names, P&G has hundreds, BMW has 3 or 4, IBM
has 5 and Starbucks has 1. Obviously the more brands you have, the more you'll
need one. It gets more and more complicated as companies have multi-brands as a
result of merger and acquisitions, aggressive brand extensions due to pressure
for quick profits and increasing complex structures involving sub-brands,
endorsed brands and co-brands.

Brand architecture is
not an one-off effort. Often the task includes periodic regrouping multiple
product groups, brand families, reposition them to reflect their role in the
market and to create a structure for immediate successful marketing. The establishment
of a clearly understood and coherent brand architecture creates the structure
within which the vital day-to-day tactical decisions can be made. Without this
brand architecture in place, these tactical decisions become strategic and
long-winded in nature.

Architecture is the logical, strategic and relational structure for all of the
brands in the organization's brand portfolio. The objective is to maximize
clarity, synergy and leverage to maximize customer value and internal
efficiencies. The main advantages of developing a brand architecture:

1. It helps
everyone in the organization see and understand all the connections between
corporate brands, sub-brands and master brands.

2. It makes
decision making easier when it comes to allocating and sharing marketing
resources such as advertising and promotions.

3. Protect
brands by being over-leveraged and being diluted by over-stretching
communications messaging and graphic design options.

brand architecture effectively manage the relationships between product, brands
and market segments. Head and Shoulders dominates the dandruff control shampoo
category and Pert Plus targets the market for combined shampoo and conditioner.
Pantene is positioned as a brand with a technological heritage and the benefit
of enhancing hair vitality. The three brands basically optimizes their brand
coverage instead all products under a P&G product brand names. One
additional major benefit is to avoid a brand association that would be
incompatible with another offering and adversely affect the other brand's

The most
important strategic decision is to decide whether a company should adapt a "Branded House" or "House of Brand" strategy. I have
seen hundred of heated debates in the boardrooms on this and it is never an
easy one. Because it involves corporate strategy as well as many long term
views. Questions for debate:

1/ Should
Google employ a "Branded House" vs. a "House of Brand"
strategy when it expands into new areas even outside the internet search and ad

2/ Should
Yahoo gradually replace those brands that they acquired (Flickr etc) and
putting them under a Yahoo umbrella or let those companies continue to operate
under their own brands? If not, should there be any association with Yahoo? If
yes, what kind?

3/ Should
Virgin consider moving away from a Branded House and start creating new
extensions or co-brands preparing the brand for the next decade as there will
be certainties over succession issues as well as maintaining relevance beyond
certain categories?

Pls share
your thoughts. 

Original Post: playground/2007/09/advanced-bran-3.html

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