THINKING ON A BICYCLE: Building a home to live in

By Jonte Goldwater

I don’t think that anyone would describe my mother as quiet and retiring, but while she stood at the top of the stairs while taking in what my father had built over the past seven years, she was uncharacteristically subdued.

What became clear to me later, was that she was quickly running through the SARAH model, and right now she was at the first stage, shock.

My father is quiet, resourceful and very likeable. He is also very slow, very thorough and very stubborn. Back in the early '80s, he had the idea to build a 2nd story on our 100-year-old brick villa, and this was quickly followed with a brief from my mother. Two bedrooms and a bathroom, please.

What is important to point out here is that my father was a structural engineer who designed dams, stadiums and large-scale buildings. Make no mistake, if there was a nuclear war, you could be sure that the villa would have been swept away, but the 2nd floor would remain.

Front and centre for my father back then was structural integrity rather than the needs of a household containing five growing children, and only one bathroom.

So, after seven years of limited communication and no stair access, my mother was standing a huge cavernous room, and not much else.

Often, I get involved with successful companies who have grown over the years with an offer that has been pushed and pulled on the way through.

Brilliant and capable people have driven these journeys and often it is hard to see what the world will look like in 10 or 20 years. The best efforts at the time to make what is available work will sometimes put you in a corner as the world changes around you.

The trick to helping this process along is connecting the commercial realities of the business to the needs of the consumer. The role of brand architecture is to enable our current and future business needs in a way that is easily understood, and relevant for our consumers.

This is all about balance, understanding and a shared vision.

Nothing is perfect, but understanding why it is not perfect, and then allowing everyone to buy into that understanding is a big part of the magic sauce.

Much like building the 2nd story on an established house, understanding needs to be had across a broad spectrum to deliver a solution that will work for everyone.

Nothing is perfect, but understanding why it is not perfect, and then allowing everyone to buy into that understanding is a big part of the magic sauce.

The realities of business are that shared understanding and alignment of a future-focused business model is a complicated matter.

In the modern world of business, the way that we create value and the way that we judge value is changing.

Never has this factor been more relevant than it is now today in our post Covid19 future world.

Fundamentality, a business creates value by how its capitals are managed to deliver outcomes for both itself and the external world. All are resting on a business model and a risk framework which affects it's materiality.

Materiality is the effect of your cause, and this is a proof point for your vision and purpose.

Fundamentally understanding these concepts and components is critical when underpinning a brand structure that will carry your business services and/or products.

It is the ‘why’ to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.

In the modern world of business, the way that we create value and the way that we judge value is changing.

This starts you on your line of questioning to create a capable brand architecture:

  1. How does our business create value today, and how will we create value in the future?
  2. What is the business model that we operate and what is our strategy for how we are managing resources and capitals (brands are defined within capitals)?
  3. What is our risk framework?
  4. What is our overarching vision and purpose? How does this purpose define the scope for what should be in or out of our business model?
  5. What is our competitor set, and how are they positioned?
  6. Who is our target market or our range of targets, and what are their needs?
  7. How are our brands turning up at the moment and are they linked and aligned to our business model? How are they placed to carry our strategy moving forward?

It is taking a holistic brand, business and consumer view that will enable conversations with all the right stakeholders required to follow through.

From here, you can start, and this is where the fun begins. And believe me, no two architectures should ever be the same, because no two business are ever on an identical journey, much like married people who renovate.

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