The elements of a brand strategy explained
Every time I start a new project I need to dive into my client's industry. While some sectors are easier to comprehend than others I oftentimes struggle with one thing, which is jargon. If you work in the industry, these specific terms have grown on you; you immediately know what they mean. Yet, consider what will happen if you start presenting these words to a potential customer who works in a different sector?
Honestly, I have never realised that we have our own jargon in marketing & branding. In conversations, I just start talking about vision, mission and tagline as if they are the most common things in the world. Some terms might be widely known, however, the actual meaning might be a bit unclear. For instance, what is the exact difference between a vision and a mission? My aim is to provide clarity so you will know what to expect when a brand strategy is presented to you.
An average brand strategy consists of
(Click on the item to immediately find the description)
And sometimes, a tagline is added. Together, these elements form the essential aspects of your 'being'. Your brand strategy clearly states who you are, what you believe in, how you behave and communicate. It is the summary of the strategic choices we will make based on proper research.
Your brand positioning
Owning a place in your audience's mind
What will your customers immediately think of when they hear your name? Why should they choose you instead of your competitor? Your brand positioning is a statement that shows how you are different than your competitors and that communicates your unique value. It will help customers perceive your brand as favourable, different and credible.
Volvo was able to differentiate itself from competitors like Audi and BMW by positioning the brand as 'the world's safest car'. And when you ask consumers to describe Volvo in one word, they will immediately say 'safety'.
Your vision statement
Where you want to be in the future
Your vision is a description of what you hope to be & achieve in the long term. It represents your dream and serves as a guiding light for the decisions you make. Your vision motivates employees and keeps your company focused & on track.
What is your dream; what are you aiming for?
Future aspirations; what inspires everyone
Can be changed over time
More internally focused
Ikea: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Your mission statement
Where you are now and why you exist
While a vision outlines where you want to be in the future, the mission describes how you will get to where you want to be. It presents an overview of what you do, how you do it and why you do it.
What is your cause, what do you stand for?
Current purpose; defines what, how and why
Does not change in a long time
More externally focused
Ikea: To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Your brand values
What you believe in
Every person has values; they represent what we find important in life, help us make decisions about the right things to do and make us unique as individuals. This works exactly the same for your brand. And since consumers are increasingly buying from brands that share their values, it is important to define what you truly believe in and to act upon it.
How you behave
Just like people, a brand has a personality. These are the human traits or characteristics that consumers can relate to. Your personality is the way your brand expresses itself. Are you sophisticated, a team player, courageous, straightforward, or...?
Your brand voice
How you communicate
Your brand voice provides the guidelines for consistent communication. Whether you are sending an email, presenting yourself in network meetings, posting on social media or communicating your message on your packaging, it is key to always 'sound like you'.
Your brand promise
A declaration of assurance
Your brand promise is a statement that tells your customers what they can expect when they purchase your products and services.
FedEx: Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed.
A short and memorable phrase
First of all, a tagline is not a slogan. Slogans are often used in campaigns to highlight a single product or service. A tagline applies to your entire business. It is a short and easy to remember sentence that tells what your brand is about. Please note: not all companies use a tagline.
Disney: The happiest place on earth.