Do Small Businesses Need to Define Brand Hierarchy?

Any company’s branding strategy should intend to convey a positive and accurate message about the enterprise and its products to a target customer group. How potential and existing customers feel about your brand is communicated through focused messaging and advertising, often influenced by the appeal of a logo and subtleties such as company colors, typeface, and voice.

How a brand hierarchy structure will depend upon your company’s range of products. Should you have two or more products similar in general terms that appeal to different customer segments, it is essential that you structure your brand management team. This is so that your employees have a strong command of the different strategies.

Many companies develop different but similar products to appeal to varying segments of the population. For example, Volkswagen’s brand presentation is different for their Golf models than for their Audi brand.

In these situations, structuring the organization differently to assign new brand management responsibilities becomes necessary.

Any business, regardless of size, should organize itself appropriately to optimize its brands. The brand hierarchy or architecture depicts how your business will organize, manage, and market your brands.

Although smaller companies may not require the same complex brand architecture that major corporations do, having multiple products and services in your portfolio can mean trouble or lost clients if your company architecture is not aligned correctly.

Defining Brand Hierarchy

What is brand hierarchy? Imagine the personnel structure for a significant corporation or business establishment that specializes in personal computers. That enterprise may divide its focus into two separate groups: Laptops and Desktops.

While managing and marketing these two categories, it becomes clear that the Desktop group might be further subdivided between School and Gaming focuses. The brand architecture will demand staffing that focuses on specific business segments. Most importantly, each segment of the brand should have a unique brand identity.

Over time, even these categories may be divided further into individual brands that require the company to refocus personnel and resources dedicated to supporting those products.

While this is a simplistic example, growing enterprises such as SaaS and tech must be prepared to adapt to supporting each new product and product line to maintain a high level of customer support at high levels.

Levels of Hierarchy in Businesses

The hierarchy structure will depend on the size and complexity of a business. The configuration defines how decisions will be made, responsibilities delegated and distributed, and accountability.

To be efficient, companies must start with clear objectives, tight construction, and understandable decision-making protocols.

Organizational hierarchy in large companies with teams is often patterned after the shape of a tree or pyramid with owners or shareholders at the top and employees at the bottom. The company will have a chief executive or director who is responsible to the business owner(s). From that point, the hierarchical structure may consist of several department heads managing a group of employees with specific responsibilities.

In a small or startup company, the chief executive is often the owner with a small number of employees, each with a designated responsibility. As the brand develops and new products come on board, the marketing and brand development function will expand. One brand administrator may oversee the overall company strategy with individuals focusing on a single brand administration.

Why is Brand Architecture Important for an Organization?

Brand architecture is not only a challenge for just those big corporations like Apple, Amazon, and Coca-Cola; even small companies should work on developing their brand in order to support future growth and success.

How you structure your business to manage all brands within the company impacts how customers perceive your business. The structure will also determine how effectively you introduce and support new products and even ways to cross-promote with other products in your portfolio.

Creating a Unique Brand Identity

Brand identity should be the factor that raises your product above the general noise to allow your customers to recognize and recall your product instantly. Brand identity enhancement involves implementing a collection of unique visual elements that differentiate your business and products from the rest.

A weak or poor brand identity design, combined with inconsistent messaging, can cause permanent damage. Your brand identity should never be left to chance. Take control to shape your brand image and enhance the public’s perception in positive ways.

According to Cone Communications, 87% of the buying public choose products based upon their brand values. Strategic choices that support the brand’s values and public reputation are critical elements of brand identity.

1. Discovery

If your company has been around a while, you will need to evaluate your existing brand, including a review of your company Values, Vision, and Mission Statement. See whether you are on track with your original thinking and determine whether these need to be changed. If your brand identity and structure are failing, careful planning like a reassessment of your company’s mission may be in order.

Performing market research to understand how your company is perceived can be a key element for any strategy at this stage. Additionally, take the time to redefine who your target customers should be for each product

2. Brand Identity Recreation

With the information determined through your Discovery phase, consider your brand positioning and how your company and product may differ from your competitors.

What elements of your current brand structure are superior? Build a message about your unique selling proposition, and then develop a voice and visual representations to make your brand become more memorable. Elements such as content marketing, digital marketing plans, and packaging design changes can highlight your brand and make it more recognizable.

3. Successful Execution for Customers

Now is the time to put your newfound information and product identifiers in motion. Executing the plan online and in public still requires continuous evaluation and measurement to ensure consistency of message and design. You will need to continually assess how your target consumers are accepting the brand design.

Surveys are essential to determine how your customers receive your brand presentation and how they rate their most recent buying experience with your products.