Brand Architecture: Medical Device Manufacturer

The Problem: Ask The Right Questions First


Brandsymbol initially collected qualitative information from sixty-seven key stakeholders, across all six business units, and all seven global regions. Based on these insights, the perceived problem – seven very specific, and seemingly unrelated, naming issues – were correctly redefined as a three-part problem, comprising:

  • Deficient Brand strategies – product, marketing, and pricing – that provided unclear direction
  • Poorly defined, aligned, and controlled Brand architecture that confused customers and distributors
  • Unclear, inconsistent, and non-compelling Brand identity due to: 1) variable Brand strengths across portfolio, and 2) product name suffix constraints, conflicts, and confusion

The Process: Employ The Right Methodology


Using its proprietary CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS SCORECARD, brandsymbol analyzed existing numerical data and primary research data from its online survey, to verify qualitative feedback. This detailed, quantitative scorecard uncovered a wealth of meaningful insights, including:

Straight Insights
  • “Too many Company products” was strongest survey response; seventy-three actual products, NOT forty-three expected products
  • Names and some Brands cannot meet unrealistic expectations
  • More prices and products increases conflicts between alphanumeric suffixes and prices

Architecture Insights
  • “One Business Segment, One Brand” structure means new Brand permissible only with new Segment
  • Under 25% of sales in two key business segments comes from primary Category Brand
  • Process clarification and control needed to correct unclear and inconsistent naming

Identity Insights
  • Largest Company Brand diluted since over half the product portfolio carries this Brand name
  • Three of five product name suffixes are ineffective and inconsistently utilized
  • Numerical descriptors provide short-term evolutionary relief with little resistance, while word descriptors provide long-term, complete relief by eliminating all name-price conflicts

The Plan: Get The Right Answer Last


Based on key insights from qualitative and quantitative analyses, brandsymbol recommended an optimal Brand architecture that quickly generated client CEO approval and widespread executive support (described as “violently enthusiastic”) throughout the organization. This plan effectively and efficiently addressed all initial problems by:

Strategy Solution
  • Long-term product strategy definition proposal
  • Marketing strategy: Name identifies product, while Brand communicates benefits
  • Long-term pricing strategy definition proposal

Architecture Solution
  • Redefine and restructure architecture to include multiple, relevant dimensions
  • Realign architecture sectors and brands within multi-dimensional architecture
  • Standardize and streamline naming methodology: 145 product names reduced to forty-eight

Identity Solutions
  • Brand-specific development plans for established vs. emerging brands
  • Suffix standardization and simplification corrects:
    • Number-name conflicts: standardized, alphanumeric price tiers, and eventually word descriptors
    • Constraints: double-digit name suffixes and word descriptors increase capacity
    • Confusion: name suffix components consolidated and clarified