Brand Architecture – Types I

Similar to brand guidelines, the brand architecture provides a more holistic portfolio design for the entire business. A successful brand architecture enables a consumer to understand one’s entire portfolio through the access of one brand. The design is crafted as such that all brands while bearing different positioning share a mutual vision and offer a customer experience leading one brand after another.

Crafting a brand architecture takes a lot of hard work, time, and most importantly research. Tons of research! How your intended product interacts with its consumers is vital for your brand architecture. While some products experience a constant interaction with its consumers, other brands obtain the same opportunity in yearly intervals.

Customer Interaction Frequency
Figure 1: Customer Interaction Frequency Line

If we refer to the customer interaction frequency line example given above, observe how I have placed 4 common brands we have all been exposed to. With the two ends indicating high and low interaction frequency, it was quite easy to say that the Consumer Goods brands are bound to have a higher interaction frequency than the building materials brands.

An average customer interacts with the brand Benson & Hedges more than they would with BSRM steel. At close proximity to B&H would be Unilever’s Lux, while Berger Paints would be neighbours with our steel making example. This difference in interaction level can be deduced from the consumption behaviour of each product. If we hold an average consumer (who happens to both smoke and bath regularly), we can safely assume that the average consumption pattern for B&H could be daily to weekly, while for Lux it may be weekly to a monthly spike. Then what about the other end?

Now consider yourself to be this amazing individual who smokes and baths regularly. How long has it been that your home has been built or painted? Few months? A year? Several years? For some of us it’s been a decade. Personally for me, it’s been two decades my house has been built. So no interaction with steel for me. I’m quite sure unless you have recently built a home, your interaction with both steel and paint has been quite limited.

Let’s dig deeper into this thought process of our average consumer. Understand that the first two brands, B&H and Lux, can be easily bought, consumed/used, and leave a demand for more. The products in nature can satiate the instantaneous gratification nature and impulse for the consumer. Consider demographics regardless of age and income you are most likely to be a consumer of these products. If not a consumer, then a potential target. It makes sense of a marketer to continuously expose you to its brand message. But what about the other two?

Consumption Frequency
Figure 2: Consumption Frequency

For paint and steel, a consumer requires a special situation to be interested in these products. A man building his home or repainting for a special occasion, are just two examples of situation when a consumer might interact with the brands. Observe how these products can’t share the gift of instantaneous gratification or impulse buying for the consumer. The consumers do not need the products unless the actual need arises. Berger Paints and BSRM aren’t relevant to our average consumer’s life.

It’s important that we understand the relationship of the product’s relevancy/usage and its brand image. As I have mentioned before, a business’s key stakeholder is the consumer. Everything (and I mean everything) is crafted to cater to this specific group. So how does it all tie up?

Read more in Brand Architecture Type II.


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