I recently did a speech on personal branding, and it got me thinking about the importance of brand architecture. The main point of the speech was around building your own personal brand purpose which is an element of most strong corporate brands. The brand purpose is the reason to believe, the reason you get out of bed in the morning, it is what you do and why you do it! The brand purpose, while it is arguably one of the most important elements of a brand it is only part of a full brand architecture. Nowadays, most enterprise business have replaced brand mission with brand purpose and many SMBs are following suit. Brand architecture is a set of content that is descriptive and unique to your business. There are many ways for you to go about developing your brand architecture. A simple approach includes an audit of your existing brand, research (internal and external),and finally aspirational thinking.
- Brand Essence – the ‘heart and soul’ of your brand
- Brand Purpose – what you do and why you do it
- Brand Promise – derived from brand purpose and manifests through every customer interaction with your brand
- Brand Personality – set of human characteristics
- Brand Reputation – set of attributes that you want your customers to feel when they think of your brand
Reasons to Develop Brand Architecture
It informs you brand identity
Your brand identity is your logo, or mark. It is the set of design elements that expresses and reflects your brand architecture. It should also include look n feel of your website, images that you select, icons, and other design elements/artwork that is used in your brand materials and collateral – be it digital or otherwise. It is your company’s first impression. It is what you look like to the outside world.
It informs written content
Anyone that writes for your company should be very familiar with your brand architecture; they should understand the value of the words that were selected for each element. The expression of these words should be reflected all written content produced by your company. Consistency in content and branding is key.
It helps develop a company’s key/core messages
Having a strong set of consistent clear messages to the outside world is important for any brand. Those messages are developed by using the brand architecture. They include content used in externally facing materials. Examples of key messages include – about us, Press Release intro, elevator pitch, boilerplate, company page content and social profile content.
It encourages employee engagement and supports recruitment
Having a strong story to attract, engage and retain employees is critical. Employees are your best brand ambassadors and should be living and breathing the brand architecture. Having a well-defined brand architecture is the north start for your employees. Without it – each employee is going in a different direction.
And it differentiates you from your competition
Having a strong brand promise to your customers that is derived from your purpose is what sets you apart from your competition. A lot of great companies fail because they have not properly defined their brand promise and without a clear promise it is difficult to execute on it.
Startups and companies that have been in business for 100 years benefit from having a strong brand – and building brand architecture or transforming your current one is the first step. Stay tuned this year, as we bring you a series of blogs and other assets related to branding. Our next set of posts will dig deep into each element of the architecture – sharing good and bad examples and actionable tips.