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We have now completed the ve key steps of the Brand Stretch programme, designed to help you boost the chances of extension success We will nish off the book by addressing the important issue of brand architecture This process will help you ensure that as your brand stretches you manage to promote extension platforms while also protecting the overall masterbrand equity Such a strategy is crucial to ensure the best alignment of human and nancial resources
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Step Six: Brand architecture
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As a brand stretches it becomes a bigger challenge to manage and risks running off in too many directions A multitude of messages confuses the consumer and dilutes the image of the masterbrand It also leads to a loss of clarity on priorities within the company The organizing system of brand architecture helps solve these issues It structures the brand s extended product range to aid navigation for the consumer and drive the optimum alignment of organizational resources
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As your brand s product range grows, you can end up like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, when he played the Sorcerer s Apprentice He turned one broom into two, then four, to help clean
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Without clear leadership, each product team will adapt the masterbrand positioning, identity and communication to maximize appeal to their target segment If this is repeated across multiple extensions, the risk of brand dilution is obvious In addition, investment decisions become much harder How will you allocate the marketing spend Which teams should get your star managers Where should innovation efforts be focused This confusion then gets transmitted to the rest of the business, leading to uncertainty and inef ciency A critical area is the sales force, who often lose clarity on where to put their efforts A common response is to focus on what is new and different, as this seems an easier sale than pushing the core products that have been around for years
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On average shoppers spend around 30 seconds in front of a xture for a given category Making their selection process more complicated by having a confusing product range means that your brand risks losing this battle for attention Furthermore, if consumers receive too many mixed messages, the clarity of the masterbrand concept will be compromised
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Architecture for brands
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When building a house, architecture guides the whole construction process, starting with the foundations, designing the layout of rooms and working right through to the look of the exterior It plays a similar role in branding, only here we are organizing products and services into a manageable number of platforms (Figure 71) The objective of brand architecture can be summed up as follows:
Structuring and organizing the brand s offer to aid consumer choice and maximize organizational ef ciency
Helping the consumer
Consumers can more quickly and easily navigate the range and nd what they want Rather than being faced with a plethora of products or services, these are grouped together based on similar bene ts In addition, architecture helps ensure that the masterbrand concept is clearly and powerfully communicated, so that consumers know where they stand with the brand
STEP SIX: BRAND ARCHITECTURE
For the consumer
Aid consumer navigation Help consumers easily find right product at point of sale
Masterbrand concept Help consumers understand the brand idea
BENEFITS OF BRAND ARCHITECTURE
Identity coherence Ensure masterbrand identity is protected and reinforced
Boost ROI Ensure resources aligned behind the right products
Communication strategy Help balance needs of masterbrand versus extensions For the company
Figure 71: Brand architecture bene ts
Helping the organization
The most visible impact of brand architecture is on naming and identity Here, the objective is to protect and reinforce the masterbrand identity (colours, logos, visual devices) and only change this when really necessary However, architecture should also guide: Resource alignment: ensuring the best return on investment in both human and nancial resources Communication strategy: ensuring the right balance between the communication of the masterbrand and the extension concept Ideally, this process should of course be carried out before extension starts taking place However, in reality it is often carried out after building work has begun! Even then, it should help not only organize the existing offer but also guide new innovation and extension We will now look at the practical steps involved in designing a brand architecture, and the traps to avoid along the way