Branding Mapping

I’m in the process of a brand mapping exercise. Your input would be helpful. There are many sub-brands that are producing a little fragmentation of Middlebury College’s core offering. How do sub-brands leverage and support “Knowledge without Boundaries.” The goal of brand mapping is to help identify missed opportunities in our communication with our Audience. I hope that discussions on this topic will help us enhance the quality of the interaction we have with our audience and help leverage what is available in Middlebury College for sub-brands.

Benefits of Mapping Sub-Brands:
•    Strengthen the brand experience for our audience and ensure it reinforces and builds the parent brand
•    Provide a framework for the sub-brands and products to adapt their offerings and positioning to their individual audiences
•    Provide a strategic framework to leverage the college’s core beliefs and offerings
•    Identify gaps or missed opportunities in the college’s offering
•    Identify core brands throughout the organization that should be high profile due to their potential to benefit the parent brand
•    Clarify the college’s offering to its different markets and avoid misperceptions or confusion



3 Responses to “Branding Mapping”

  1. I would be very interested to hear more about the ultimate goals of this exercise. I’m sure that the college views the restructuring of its web presence as an opportunity to refine and consolidate its brand, and the idea of providing “a framework for sub-brands to adapt their offerings” openly hints at this. I certainly understand the desire to minimize fragmentation of the college’s brand offering and to identify areas of misperception or missed opportunity. I would find it very helpful to have a better sense of how far and in what direction the college is looking to take this exercise.

    As the person who oversees the web presence for the museum — and I believe we represent a core brand that greatly benefits the parent brand — it is my job to think about how we leverage and support the concept of “Knowledge without Boundaries.” If there is to be a noticeable restructuring of the college’s brand offering as part of the web redesign it would be very useful to know that and to assemble the various brand and sub-brand stakeholders in one room for an open discussion about the questions and goals that you’ve posted above.

    Douglas Perkins ’94
    Administrative Operations Manager
    Middlebury College Museum of Art

  2. Thanks for the input.

    With this brand mapping exercise, I hope to discuss the goals of the “Parent” brand and the Sub-Brands. I would like to form a map of the audiences they target so the Parent brand can help channel the users/visitor to the sub-brand that best fits their expectations and needs. The idea is to have visitors view Middlebury’s parts as a matrix or facets of a diamond, with each brand-part contributing to the whole. I see fragmentation in some of the college offerings. Every point of interaction with sub-Brands should reinforce the core values and mission of the parent-Brand.

    Your suggestion of bringing brand leaders of the different sections together is a good one. I’d like to see discussion now about the audiences and how to improve the quality of the communications and interactions between us.

  3. While I agree that the stakeholders are key to the process of understanding your brand, there is danger if they are also tasked with identifying the brand attributes and representing the perspectives of outside audiences such as parents, students, alumni, and guidance counselors, among others. It is with these outside stakeholders where the Middlebury brand lives and breathes, and any work that is inconsistent with these perceptions will be less than optimal.

    Your brand and sub brands already coexist and have deep relationships with one another. Your analogy of a diamond is apt; each of your audience segments is looking at the same stone but from a different angle, so what they see appears to be different, but is actually just a change in perspective. The gem at the center of the discussion – your parent brand – is the same for all.

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