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Evolving Your Brand Architecture With The Market
Blue Canyon has begun to see a shift in the attention that business-to-business (B2B) companies are placing on brand. Brand has historically taken a back seat at many B2B companies, but a new spotlight on brand has been driven by trends in eCommerce, which has become a significant channel for many B2B companies over the past few years with no change in sight. Customers are now making some of the same demands of B2B companies as they do with B2C companies, such as: user friendly website, access to reviews, ease of ordering, on-demand chatting with customer service, etc. As more customers take their buying process online, traditional suppliers are challenged to present their offerings by effectively communicating their brand’s value and benefits across multiple marketplaces, both online and offline. In this era of eCommerce where there is greater transparency and a need for differentiation, B2B companies have been pushed to reevaluate their brand perception and brand architectures to remain competitive.
Compared to a set of features or specifications, a strong brand is more difficult for competitors—especially low-cost competitors—to effectively match. As such, brand has become a greater source of value for B2B companies. In addition, the greater the variety and complexity of offerings, the more important brand becomes in making customers feel confident in their purchase decisions. In an environment that requires a complex marketing mix, brand perception takes on a heightened role in customers’ decision making.
Download Blue Canyon’s white paper: B2B Brand Architecture: How to Build Value in a Changing Marketplace
However, brand architecture must be dynamic to evolve with the market trends. Recently, Blue Canyon worked with a client who had grown significantly through acquisition to become a leader in the window covering industry. As is the case with many companies that expand their offerings and geographic presence through mergers and acquisitions, brand proliferation becomes a challenge and a key consideration in brand architecture. This was the case with our client, which had a brand architecture that lacked coordination across brands, created confusion among customers and channel partners, and, ultimately, was not leveraged effectively to create value for the company.
In order to assist our client with refining its brand architecture, we advised executives to think about refining their position of brands across a “Good, Better, Best” spectrum to strengthen their corporate brand and enhance coordination across the various brands. A challenge we encountered was the diversity of channel partners, window covering dealers, that existed in the market. These channel partners had a variety of needs, served very different end-customers, and had access to many different brands from our client and their competitors.
In order to evaluate our client’s brand architecture, we needed to segment its customers. We conducted a needs-based segmentation of our client’s channel partners, to segment them by their unique needs and end customer profile. This helped us identify overlap among brands in the three categories above, which required our client to reevaluate its brand architecture. Some of the channel partners that needed a “Good” brand to satisfy the needs of their consumers, only had access to a “Better” brand that had too many bells and whistles that were not of value. Unsurprisingly, we also identified that online was the fastest growing channel. Through our extensive dealer interviews, we helped position our clients brand to deliver on the needs of online users, including having best-in-class educational content.
Download Blue Canyon’s white paper: Is it Time to Rethink Segmentation?
By reevaluating and optimizing the brand architecture, our client could maximize the value created and captured by its brands, effectively leverage its strong offering’s brand across its portfolio, emphasize areas of expertise, and enable portfolio selling. The client is currently reevaluating and reorganizing its business and making significant internal changes to position its brands for long-term success. In this rapidly changing world, companies must maintain a dynamic brand architecture. B2B companies need to conduct needs-based segmentation and reevaluate how their brands are perceived by their direct and end customers to determine the key steps to take to position themselves for success.