Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
Brand architecture is a lens through which to look at everything your company does without necessarily having to consult professionals. It allows you to maintain the integrity of your brand, your strategy, and your trajectory moving forward without diluting it. Over time, a business owner might think, “Ok, you’ve told me what my brand looks like, we talked about the tone of voice, and I have a good idea of what it is.” But if you go down the road of making new pieces and marketing in different areas, over time your brand’s identity will be weakened unless you’re following a consistent guideline.
It’s a scientific process. Brand architecture eliminates the game of telephone, because you’re passing along clearly defined restrictions on the brand’s usage, instead of mere interpretation. From a strategy perspective, it just makes sense in every area. It saves time, it saves money, and it saves you from having to explain yourself. Most importantly, it maintains the brand identity you’ve spent so much time, effort, and research developing, until you actually make a cognitive choice to adjust it.
It’s like the Constitution: brand architecture rules can be amended, but they have to be amended intentionally, because as a company, you’ve decided this was the direction you needed to adjust for. A lot of established companies we work with might have 5 versions of their logo out there, depending on when their signage was built, when their vehicles were painted, or when their letterhead was printed. The logo changed, because every time it was used, a different person at the company said, “ I think this looks good,” instead of following structured rules. So now they have to adjust; and even if they have a logo they like, they have to change the other four, which can be a very expensive process.
Brand architecture gives you something to refer to so you can focus on running your business without having to think about these things. Take AnchorPoint Christian Schools. A group of administrators established a Christian school, and they wanted to succeed. They’re wonderful people, with all of the qualifications to be administrators and educators. But they weren’t sure how to put together a brand that created the feeling of trust that’s so important when convincing people to send their children to you for care and education.
Initially, we came in to help AnchorPoint develop their brand around the promise they were making; and to do that, we built them an architecture so they could maintain the integrity of what we created for them in our absence, due to budgetary restrictions. We educated them on how to handle it, and handed it off to them. They maybe come to us every so often for consultation; however, they don’t have to keep someone on retainer.
Right out of the gate, AnchorPoint achieved numbers 48% higher than what they projected, and they’re still a school of choice today, several years later. A lot of that success is due to providing a great service parents are happy with, but you could certainly attribute some of it to having defined brand architecture, and establishing those rules.