Brand architecture is the structure given to the brands which are owned by one organization or business.We often use the terminology of human relationships by which to understand how the relationships between brands are defined, so we might say it is a ‘family tree’ of brands, or the master brand is the ‘parent’ brand. The topic of brand architecture has already been excellently explained in a previous Branding Strategy Insider post ‘Brand Architecture Strategy Guide’, so I won’t go into any further detail here aside from introducing the three commonly referred to architectures:

  • Monolithic or Branded House is an architecture…

Adidas and IKEA recently announced they were joining forces in a slightly surprising brand partnership. But is it such a bad idea for brands which don’t immediately seem natural bedfellows to team up?

Let’s remove ourselves from the world of brand for a minute, and look at the world of human relationships. The Gottman Institute was founded by Dr. John Gottman, and for nearly four decades he has conducted research on all facets of relationships.

Brand is used to appeal to peoples’ emotions, by creating meaning that has a value to someone. So why is there any surprise if people react emotionally when organizations (or their brand agencies) make changes to a brand?

Meaning And Self-Identity

Brands are laden with symbolism and meaning, and a large part of that meaning is the idea of identity. Of course, there is the identity of the brand itself — what the brand represents and how it appears — but a brand can also go to make up a constituent part of a person’s self identity. …

Why do people remain loyal to a brand? There are a myriad of benefits that brand experts claim people want from a brand — collaboration, service, innovation, relationships, and the current favorite, purpose. Obviously there are many reasons people are loyal to a specific brand, but what about when a brand is simultaneously extremely successful and unpopular with the people using it? Why would people remain loyal to a brand they didn’t like?

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for a few weeks I will fill you in — the Facebook brand has been taking a bit of a kicking recently. Without going in to detail (the plethora of issues are too confusing to be honest, but Cambridge Analytica and the misuse of 50 million sets of peoples’ information are pretty high on the list) it seems that Facebook haven’t been all that great at being a trustworthy brand.

People have essentially been giving their data to Facebook for years, but the lack of care Facebook have taken with this…

People don’t really care about logos anymore, do they? Well, over 18,000 page views might tell a different story.

I recently shared a post on LinkedIn, which showed the changes to four leading brands’ logos — Google, Airbnb, Spotify and Pinterest — which had previously been shared on Twitter by Oh No Type Company.

The recent rebrands of all these companies seemingly followed a trend of moving from characterful to clean, sans-serif styles. I compared this trend to 1960s corporate America, which reminded me of an article in the Guardian in 2014 on Helvetica’s use in that era.

It described the corporate branding world using the typeface like a “high-pressure hose, blasting away the preceding decades of cursive scripts, pictorial logos, excitable exclamation marks and general typographical chaos” and replacing all this with “a world of cool, factual understatement.”

This comparison is one example of a well-trodden view of how design trends follow patterns…

What is a brand? This is a question I’ve discussed many times with many people, and have had a myriad of responses consisting of various [interesting] definitions and theories. However, if I strip all of the responses back to basics, there are fundamentally two types:

  • the brand is the appearance, eg logo and visual identity
  • the brand is the feeling or the meaning, eg the values and purpose

So which of these is right? Well, they both are, and there is an issue here which is at the core of what I term ‘The dichotomy of brand’.

Brands are not…

It has become widely claimed that ‘Millennials’* are driving businesses and organisations to be more socially conscious and responsible. There are seemingly hundreds of articles regaling us with statistics which supposedly bear this out. But is it true?

What people seem to have taken from the statistics quoted in these articles is that, all of a sudden, people within a certain age range are more socially aware and demanding of brands (predominantly consumer brands) than previous generations at that same age.

I question this, and would like to put forward an alternative hypothesis (I have no evidence as such, so…

It seems to have become popular to talk about brand in terms of a story.

Let’s be as clear as possible with this, a brand is not a story — if it was then it’s created using William Burroughs ‘Cut Up Method’.

What have you got against stories?

Nothing, it is just that they don’t fit with how we need to consider brand. A story is linear and singular. There is a beginning, middle, and end, which every reader will experience in the same order. But is that really how we remember stories?

Think of your favourite story. Do you…

Introducing Charlie Mullins who is founder of Pimlico Plumbers, London‘s largest independent plumbing company.

We asked him our #5brandquestions

(When we talk about ‘brand’ here we refer to the ideas and attributes associated with you and what you do, as well as the ‘things’ such as logos and products. These are ideas or attributes such as who you are, what you do, how people experience you, what your defining characteristics are, what value might people get from it.)

Q1. Would you say that the development of your brand has played a part in your success? A. Undoubtedly — my success is so linked to the Pimlico Plumbers brand that sometimes it’s hard to tell where I stop and the…

A large part of a brand is the meaning which is shared between people and business.

So a new visual identity or strategic proposition is not a ‘rebrand’. Using ‘rebrand’ to describe a new identity or approach perpetuates the idea that the brand is simply the appearance or the one-way message from business to people. Which it isn’t.

You can’t Rebrand.

You can
Redefine your brand
Refocus your brand
Repurpose your brand
Refresh your brand
Revive your brand
Reinvigorate your brand

You can’t Rebrand.

Paul Bailey

Creative strategist | Brand consultant, commentator, educator and perpetual student| Previously agency founder

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