The six foundations to develop your brand strategy.

In order to create a brand built upon strong foundations, that are closely aligned to customer needs – it is important to develop your brand strategy.

We look in detail at what you need to do to develop your brand strategy and the six areas to examine and establish.

Although it is tempting to dive straight into the visual identity when working on a new brand, there are some crucial strategic research and development steps to take first.

The true benefits that come from any brand will depend entirely on a consistent experience wherever it is encountered. But before that, brand perception and engagement comes from who you are, what you do and how you show yourselves to the world.

By having a strong and consistent brand you are more likely to appeal to your target market. You brand strategy will provide you with the basis from which to communicate directly with your audience.

When we work with clients to help create a new brand or enhance an existing brand, we do so as a whole rather than working on individual elements. In addition, we help to establish and introduce your brand mission – who you are, what you do and why you do it – to your target audience.

For example the values, tone and personality of your brand are used to communicate your brand both internally and externally. But these work once your purpose, vision and essence have been established – no part can work in isolation and by building these foundations, it will help you to successfully deliver a clear and powerful brand message.

Here are the six main areas of your brand foundations:

1.  Brand Purpose
2.  Brand Vision
3.  Brand Essence
4.  Brand Values
5.  Brand Tone
6.  Brand Personality

When we work with clients we go through each area in turn with key questions to ask, which once answered, will help identify and then build a distinctive, authentic and relevant brand strategy.

The findings are then used as the basis of your brand and will be used to drive the brand creation and brand application phases that come further down the line.

Brand Purpose

This is really straight forward – why does your business exist?

If you can succinctly explain what your business does and why and then how this benefits your customers, you’re on the right track.

Ask the following:

1.  What does your business do?
2.  What products / services do you offer?
3.  What problem[s] does the use of your products / services solve?

Brand Essence

Here we look at the very essence of your brand… what does the business stand for?

Once you have established what your brand stands for, you can then begin to share it with those who hold or aspire to hold similar values.

Ask the following:

1.  What does your business value?
2.  Does the business have a standpoint… something it believes in above all else?
3.  Does the business have a heritage?
4.  What story does the brand have to tell?

Brand Vision

The brand vision isn’t about where your brand is currently, instead it looks to the future.

It relates to where the business is heading, what your overriding intentions are and how you are going to achieve your goals.

Ask the following:

1.  What does the future hold for your business?
2.  What future do you want to help create?
3.  What does the future look like with your business in it?
4.  What is the overriding objective for the future that drives your organisation?
5.  How does your business plan to achieve this goal?

Brand Values

Your core brand values are what you want your audience to know you for.

Think about how your values dictate everything you do to support the pursuit of your brand purpose, essence and vision.

Ask the following:

1. What are your core brand values?
2. What values do you want to be known for, or known as being?
3. How do these values apply within the business and how you work with clients or for your customers?

We provide our clients with a brand values work book to help establish definitive brand values.

Brand Tone

Your brand tone relates to what happens when people interact with your brand.

How do you want them to feel? Describe the way your brand should sound and the response[s] it should evoke.

Ask the following:

1.  What should your brand sound like?
2.  Who do you want to be and how do your want to talk about yourselves?
3.  Who don’t you want to be – what do you want to avoid sounding like?
4.  How is this different from how your competitors communicate?

Brand Personality

The kind of experience your brand creates for your audience comes directly from your brand personality.

Are you more formal or casual? Modern or traditional? Energetic or calm for example?

By accurately describing your personality you can establish your customer experience.

Ask the following:

1.  What is the personality of your business?
2.  What personality traits describe your brand?

We provide our clients with a brand personality checklist that helps establish a definitive personality positioning statement.

We provide our clients with a brand personality checklist to help establish a definitive brand personality statement.

Once you have completed these questions you should be in a much stronger position to begin working on your visual identity. This is the brand creation stage which is the point at which you can begin to work on the visual appearance of your new brand.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward building your brand so that you are ready for the challenges ahead, then we’d love to discuss your objectives with you.

Carter Branding Founder Daniel James
Daniel James is the founder and creative lead at Carter Branding.
With over twenty years’ experience, he is equally at home working on branding and design projects for major international PLC’s as he is supporting ambitious businesses and innovative start ups.
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As an award-winning boutique branding  agency, we create brand identities for ambitious organisations.