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BALANCE IS BULLSHIT:
A Solopreneurs guide to making f*cking decisions that matter

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3 Brandbaby™ Steps To Brand Architecture


A photo of a woman . She’s wearing an orange hardhat and a denim shirt . Her face is neutral . She’s holding a clipboard .

To grow and scale your business, you have to consider the architecture of how you build your brand. If you don't build the right way at the right time, all your shit could come tumbling down around you. You end up with low performing offers that could put you in a race to the bottom.


Based on my own previous experiences as a restaurant owner, retailer and coach, I admit not knowing about brand architecture. There is so much info about how to start a business and market a business. Not enough is shared about how to brand a business outside of marketing. This is especially true for solopreneurs. As I often say, there's levels to this branding game. Next level shit is brand architecture.


WHAT IS BRAND ARCHITECTURE

Brand architecture is about organization and management of your brand. Yes, your brand needs to be organized and managed. You shouldn't launch a new product or service unless it fits or complements the existing parent brand. As a solopreneur your parent brand is your personal brand. It is the ultimate endorser brand for everything that comes after.


The relationship between a personal brand and business brand architecture is that they should grow apart if you and the business are successful. If you don't plan for this brand growth, you will never be more than a business owner. If your personal brand endorses your business, you will make a name for yourself beyond the business. As the business brand grows and scales, it will resonate through others who are associated with it. They are both assets that add value to the bottom line.


From their every new offer should fit into the brand architecture as if it could be a stand alone brand. This is because the sum of the parts are worth more than the whole. For example, if you have a branded process, you could either license it out at a premium and still use it in your business, or you could sell it to the highest bidder.

There are pros and cons to both that I won't go into right now.


Brand architecture plays into how you market your brand. If you have only one product or service, marketing is easy. However, to generate other streams of income, brand architecture needs to be considered. Adding to your brand game can happen at least three other ways - branded house, house of brands, or multi-brand.


BRANDED HOUSE

A branded house is a monolithic brand architecture. It is the most common and everything is tied back to the parent brand. The brand identity, ego and image of the parent brand are built into all the sub-brands. Also, the sub-brands incorporate the parent brand name.


My former restaurant brand, Bigmista's, was a branded house. The original concept was Bigmista's Barbecue which also included Bigmista's Catering. The second concept was Bigmista's Morning Wood (barbecue for breakfast). Then there was Bigmista's Secret Sauce. The main identity, ego and image of the sub-brands came from Bigmista's Barbecue, which became the parent brand by default.


The parent brand was all about food, family, and fun. This vibe was carried through to the sub-brands that came after. Staying true to that reputation was the goal. There is even a video of me doing karaoke of Proud Mary at a catering event of a returning client.


Marketing the vibe of food, family, and fun was consistent but tweaked for various products. Are signature sammie of brisket, grilled onion and jalapeno and pepper jack on Texas toast had a different triple F vibe than our secret sauce. The product association hit different based on what the customer wanted.


HOUSE OF BRANDS

A house of brands is a pluralistic brand architecture. The parent brand may serve a purpose or it may just house the other brands. A new brand can launch under the parent brand and have no association with the other brands.


Since I started with food, let's keep it going with Union Square Hospitality Group. It is the parent brand of 15 different restaurant concepts not including Shake Shack along and its other business ventures. It all started with Union Square Cafe.


The success of a house of brands live and die but the various brands under its umbrella. Take for the Shake Shack brand. It started as a small hot dog stand in Madison Square Park. It became so popular that it went public in 2015 for $21/share. In 2021 the price went as high as $128.79/share.