The purpose of a Brand Strategy framework is to clearly and concisely articulate what your brand stands for. A strong brand strategy is critical for making focused, consistent, and effective marketing decisions. There are several different frameworks used by marketers to capture brand strategy. Most have some version of the elements listed in this framework: Essence, Values, Character, Benefits, and Attributes. One benefit of this pyramid-style version of the framework is that it reinforces the overarching importance of a brief articulation of Brand Essence (you can’t fit too many words in the top of a pyramid). It also helps you to ensure that all elements are aligned, from top to bottom.
What does our brand represent in the marketplace?
- Start at the top, and work down. Your Essence is the DNA of your brand. Ask questions like “why does this brand exist?” and “what does it promise?” Be single-minded and brief with your answer– 5 words or less.
- Your Values are your compass. They represent the principles that will guide your decisions and actions. Ask questions like “what does this brand believe in?” and “what does it stand for?” Capture up to 5.
- Your Character is your personality; traits that personify your brand and create mental associations with customers. Ask yourself, “how would the target customer describe this brand if it were a person?” Capture up to 5.
- Your Benefits are what you provide to your customers, functionally and emotionally. Ask questions like “what positive feelings do customers receive?” and “what utility does this brand provide?” Capture up to 7.
- Your Attributes are how you provide your Benefits. They are the features of your offering – the more valuable, distinctive, and provable the better. Ask yourself, “what makes this brand offering better than competitors?”
- Do not confuse your Brand Essence with your tagline, your tagline is an expression of your brand.
- Ensure your brand strategy is aligned and defensible – do your Attributes support your Benefits?
- Be as specific and concise as possible, so your framework can be used to guide challenging marketing decisions.
- Stress-test your framework up and down, ensure your Attributes align with your Essence (and vice versa).
Ries, A., Trout, J. “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”, McGraw-Hill, 2001