Brand architecture series: Strangled by convention ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brand architecture series: Strangled by convention

In an earlier post, I talked about how technology companies can get into a real mess by having no system for product naming. Eventually, these companies end up with so many inconsistent, unnecessary and confusing names that they are compelled to act.

The watch out in this next stage of architectural evolution is not to let the pendulum swing too far the other way and lose the ability to highlight products or technologies that deserve attention and marketing support or adapt the rules to deal with new market realities.

One example I've come across recently: a consumer electronics company realized that, by branding every single one of its products in the same category, it was not only confusing customers and its retail partners but also taking equity away from its master brand. Its solution was to mandate an alphanumeric system across the board. A neat, simple and clean solution.

However, as time passed and the company grew and launched products in adjacent and not so adjacent categories, it stuck to this self-imposed rule. It now finds itself lacking the ability to differentiate all these new products and competitively disadvantaged in some of its new categories where a sub-brand could help build its reputation and credibility. This company has now started the process of resetting its perspective and building a new architecture that takes into account its much broader brand territory.

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