The Brand Wheel: We use The Brand Wheel model to help clients understand the brand storytelling elements they need to create. The center of the model and the rings adjacent to it define the inputs for an internal brand story: brand purpose (mission, vision, values), position, promise, pillars and personality. The middle rings define the components of an brand expression: brand name, brand narrative, marketing messaging and visual brand identity. And the outermost ring outlines ways to activate a brand story and take it to market.

Completing the elements of The Brand Wheel will help you clarify your brand messages and codify your brand culture to align expectations and improve execution.

Following are brief descriptions of each of these contributing factors and how they work together to create a successful brand story for your business.

The Brand Wheel, as described below
Applied Storytelling Brand Wheel™ concept used with permission.


The first five elements of The Brand Wheel define your internal brand story. These elements include the following:

Mission/Purpose Statement: The centerpiece of The Brand Wheel is your organization’s Purpose or Mission Statement, along with your Vision and Values. A mission statement defines the difference you want to make in the world beyond making money. A well-crafted Mission or Purpose Statement summarizes why your organization exists in a simple sentence that informs everything you do. A clear purpose statement is your brand foundation.

Vision Statement: A vision statement articulates how you’ll know when you’ve accomplished your mission in this era or time frame. JFK mobilized public support for the moonshot when he said “We will put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before this decade is out.” Articulating your moonshot will give your organization a shared goal to work towards.

Values: Your organization’s shared way of doing things defines your brand culture. Codifying the beliefs and behaviors you live by will help your employees make decisions and prioritize their work consistent with your goals and brand promise.

Brand Position: Customers make mental maps of product categories to simplify the buying process. Where customers position your brand on their mental maps depends on their perceptions. Brand perception equals brand position. If your company has outgrown current perceptions or if your brand creates more value than it’s getting credit for, we can help you close those brand perception-reality gaps.

Brand Promise: The value you deliver to customers defines your brand promise. Otherwise known as a “value proposition,” your brand promise summarizes how you make life better for your customers. It’s the essence of why they should buy. Our proprietary Brand Ladder customer interview methodology helps to elevate your brand promise from features and benefits to feelings and values.

Brand Pillars: Brand Pillars are major themes from your brand DNA. These themes help to shape your brand story by focusing on your market-facing beliefs and values.

Brand Personality: Your brand personality defines your brand in terms of human characteristics. Once you know what your brand personality is, other decisions get easier to make such as your brand voice and your brand image.


Customer Personas: A customer persona describes a group of customers who buy your products and services for the same reasons. Having a clear understanding of your customers’ problems helps to clarify how you message your solutions to them. To inform this process, we conduct in-depth interviews with customers—in addition to interviewing internal company executives—to uncover existing brand perceptions compared with desired perceptions and how to close that gap.

Naming: Given the number of constraints and emotional opinions involved, the process of naming a company, product or service can be challenging. Whether you opt for a Branded House or House of Brands approach—or something in between—developing a well–thought-out Brand Architecture can help to guide the naming process today and anticipate future needs.

Messaging: Marketing messages quickly answer the question "Why you should buy" for customers who are searching for solutions to their problems. Backstory's Message Market Fit™ process clarifies, articulates and refines messages that resonate with each of your audiences and produces a Message Map™ that gets everyone on the same page and empowers them to be effective brand ambassadors.

Brand Narrative: Everybody knows they need an elevator pitch that is clear, concise and compelling. Mapping out a brand narrative builds on your initial 3-second statement to include a 30-second statement and a 3-minute version of your story. Building out all three versions will help you convert initial interest into engagement and conversion.

Visual Brand Identity: Your visual brand identity is a visual representation of your brand. Your visual brand identity may consist of a logo mark (a symbol that doesn’t contain the name of your business) or a wordmark, a logo that uses typography (letterforms) only. Other elements of your visual brand identity include the typefaces, colors and patterns that express your brand visually.

Once you’ve created your visual brand identity, you’ll want to define guidelines for using it correctly in a Brand Style Guide or Brand Book. A Brand Style Guide stipulates correct usage for your logo, including white space and color treatments. Whereas, a Brand Book goes beyond these graphics standards to include an overview of what you stand for.


Brand Activation: Once you’ve developed your brand story, it’s time to activate it and bring it to market. Activities that can help you achieve this goal include creating a website, sales presentations, social media campaigns, content marketing plans, advertising campaigns, PR programs and marketing collateral.

How many of The Brand Wheel elements has your company built? Schedule a free consultation to talk about it at the link below.

Let's Talk