Why is brand architecture so important for an MSO?
The concept of brand architecture isn’t new, but it has taken on vital importance where Management Services Organizations (MSOs) are concerned. The term was birthed two decades ago and since its inception, has played an instrumental role in guiding corporations on organizing the identities of diverse entities under one brand umbrella. Essentially, brand architecture is a hierarchical framework that describes how different entities, not only brands but also other sub-divisions, relate to their parent corporation, each other, and the unique propositions they offer. For MSOs and PE-backed healthcare service organizations with a plethora of brands to manage, a comprehensive brand architecture is a vital piece of the puzzle to achieving success in competitive and growing markets.
How brand architecture comes together
There are endless ways organizations and their entities can be organized, but most brand architectures fall under the following categories:
- Branded House: This structure is like an umbrella where one primary brand oversees various products or services. A few examples of this type or organization include, Apple, FedEx, Virigin, and Coca-Cola.
- House of Brands: Here, multiple individual brands operate under one corporate entity, each with its unique identity. Unilever and the VF Corporation (North Face, Timberland, etc) are great examples of a house of brands structure.
- Hybrids: This approach includes things like endorsed or sub-brands.
Different industries often require different structures, healthcare for example, becomes even more nuanced. Healthcare brand architectures might consider taking into account physical infrastructures (hospitals, retail facilities), service segments (oncology, cardiology), and broader organizations (medical groups, foundations) in alignment with a parent company. Then there is the process of mergers or acquisitions which may further inform a brand architecture and are one of the main reasons they become so important to MSOs and healthcare service organizations.
The benefits of constructing a robust brand architecture
As a hierarchical framework, an organizational brand architecture provides many benefits, including:
- Holistic Influence: Brand architecture doesn’t operate in a silo. It greatly informs other departments like operations and marketing about how brands should interact with each other and what resources can be shared.
- Setting the Tone: With a solid brand architecture in place, corporations can establish transparent expectations for customers and the market. Brands are far more approachable when the audience has a clear understanding of what they do and how they do it. This also lends itself to clear messaging which helps customers begin to trust and resonate with a brand.
- Scalability: Brand architecture provides a structure that can easily adapt to the growing or diversifying needs of a business. Most of the MSOs and PE-back healthcare service organizations require a brand architecture precisely because they are high growth or have completed a significant number of mergers and acquisitions.
The imperative for MSOs and PE-backed healthcare management services organizations to adopt brand architectures
MSOs and PE-backed healthcare institutions cannot overlook the potency of building a strong brand architecture. After years working with multi-location companies, MSOs, and high-growth organizations, the MDG team is adept at creating and deploying strong brand architectures that help marketing and sales teams alike.
“Brand architecture is more than just a design principle or an overarching brand personality; it dictates how consumers navigate the brand landscape, and more importantly, how they perceive and connect with it,” noted, Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG. “For our MSO and PE-back healthcare service organization clients, building a strong brand architecture allows them to scale quickly, gain more market share, and streamline operations. It’s been an impressive change for a lot of the brands!”
Some of the biggest benefits for MSOs and PE-backed healthcare service organizations include, cost efficiencies, operational precision, and the seamless integration of new acquisitions. With multiple entities under one umbrella, operations can be better orchestrated with a robust brand architecture.
Choosing the right brand architecture for your organization
Crafting a brand architecture is no simple feat, but it doesn’t have to be complex and difficult. As you think about how you’d like to structure your brand architecture, keep the following things in mind:
- Have a Deep Understanding of Your Market: Conduct a thorough market and competitor analysis to ascertain where your brand stands and what your competitors are doing. Consider researching brands that have adopted the structure you’re thinking of implementing to get a feel for challenges and best practices.
- Vision and Goals: Your brand architecture should resonate with your future growth trajectories and business objectives. It won’t make sense to chose an architecture that only works for the next few years, be ambitious.
- Assess the Current State of the Organization: Before looking outwards, understand your current organizational structure and its strengths and weaknesses.
- Marketing Muscle: Whether you have an in-house team or you’re relying on an external agency, the expertise of your marketing support will play a crucial role in shaping your brand architecture.
A robust brand architecture isn’t just about logos and names; it’s about creating an ecosystem where brands co-exist, thrive, and drive organizational growth, especially in realms like healthcare where trust and clarity are paramount.