A Hybrid Brand Architecture model is simply a blending of any of the strategies we’ve outlined in this book.
Hybrid Brands can happen over time through mergers and acquisitions, launching targeted niche products, spinning a legacy brand into its own Sub Brand (complete with several Line Extensions) and getting into various locations, events and venues. The truth is, you will probably never find a single, one-size-fits-all Brand Architecture system for your business.
Your Brand Architecture, like your brand itself, is a living, breathing thing. It should be revisited frequently to ensure there is no slack, redundancy or needless over-complication.
Brand Architecture decisions are rarely black and white. And often, one can make the case for one strategy as another. This brings up a larger point that will shape all beer and beverage alcohol branding over the decade to come.
We believe that, given enough time in the market, most breweries will end up using an overarching Hybrid Brand Architecture model.
What to do with this idea
You must carefully think through any planned extension before launch. Consider your parent brand’s importance and how this move can impact your overall positioning positively or negatively.
Know that some opportunities will naturally call for an architecture approach that differs from what you’ve traditionally done. As long as you can make a clear case for why your planned strategy makes sense, including a frank examination of any possible downsides, you should feel confident in your decision.
What not to do with this idea.
Don’t use this as an excuse to make sloppy Brand Architecture decisions. If you assume you’ll arrive at a Hybrid Brand Architecture approach over time, that doesn’t mean you should just launch new products without any forethought and planning. On the contrary, you should constantly work to minimize the amount of brands you oversee, only launching extensions when the context and market opportunity calls for it.
A lack of consideration will lead to wasted effort, poor sales performance and in extreme cases, the wholesale shuttering of a brand or portfolio. Move forward deliberately and decisively.
Brand Architecture is an important tool for scaling your business. It can help you quickly capitalize on new market opportunities, launch new products that delight your customers, and most importantly, help you build a more diversified and resilient business.
Go forth and grow. But don’t forget to protect your parent brand along the way.