Branding 101

Branded house

With a branded house model or “one brand” strategy, there is a tight connection with products or services – often carrying forward the company name with a descriptive sub-brand name or extension.

How companies execute on a branded house architectural model can be different. FedEx is perhaps one of the purest examples of a Branded House with its sub-brands sharing the FedEx name with a lock-up of a descriptive product/service name below in smaller text. In contrast, Microsoft moved to a Branded House model several years ago for its main brands such as Windows and Office, but also owns stand-alone brands such as Xbox, yet it still carries the Microsoft logo on communications and packaging.

Pros: With a branded house, you can increase brand awareness because consumers come to recognize the parent brand while the sub-brands feed off the reputation of the parent brand. It is also the most cost-effective and resource-efficient approach.

Cons: Any negative event associated with the company or an individual product can be attributed to the umbrella brand.

Reasons you should update your visual identity

Your visual identity or brand look and feel encompasses your name, logo, colors, fonts, imagery, and graphics. It is expressed in your website and other marketing communications from collateral and business papers to presentations as well as advertising. You should consider updating your visual identity if:

  • Your brand strategy indicates a need based on the examples above
  • It’s out of date – your brand look and feel is dated
  • It’s difficult to execute

Often, companies seek to do a brand refresh versus a brand overhaul to retain some equity in their brand look and feel. This can also be a more cost-effective option.

Naming as part of branding: to rename or not to rename?

It’s a big commitment to rename a business or product – because changing the name can be quite costly and you may have equity in your current name. Some of the most common reasons businesses change their name are that the name:

  • no longer reflects their business or product
  • is difficult to say so people turn it into an acronym
  • is not unique and causes confusion
  • has trademark issues

If you do choose to rename, be sure to identify naming criteria such as trademark and domain availability, cultural relevance, as well as creative likes and dislikes.

How to tackle a rebrand

Your brand strategy should be rooted in research. From this research and agreement on the brand architecture, you should identify naming criteria (if naming is required) and creative likes/dislikes. Once all parties are in agreement on that criteria, you can explore naming and tagline options. It’s in this phase that you should evaluate the names and tagline options against the criteria outlined as well as test the options with your customers. Once you have approval on the name and tagline, you can explore and finalize logo options. Then, it’s a matter of determining what’s involved in terms of implementation and launch.

Companies often find it helpful to work with an external branding partner to tackle a rebrand, name a product, service, or business, and create a logo and identity.

Need a branding partner?

Organizations often know where they want to go, but don’t know how – or don’t have the bandwidth– to get there. GA Creative takes our clients’ businesses to the next level by building brand awareness and generating leads—all to meet and exceed growth goals.  GA helps clients cultivate strategic brand solutions that resonate, drive awareness, and inspire action. Our branding work has helped clients in healthcare, technology, professional services, and nonprofit sectors to foster greater brand awareness, enhance perceptions, drive sales leads, and enable successful fundraising efforts.

We also help drive brand campaigns that help clients grow by outsmarting, not outspending, the competition. GA tells brand stories in ways that work harder by understanding the audience, unifying the message and amplifying the brand in a digital-first world.

Clients value working with GA because of our ability to bring new ideas forward, creativity that shines through in concepts and capacity to drive initiatives forward.

If you need help with branding your company or organization, reach out today!