Brand Strategy: Brand Strategy is the process of defining and creating the words, images and experiences that will create the brand perceptions you want customers to have.
The Brand Wheel: We use The Brand Wheel model to help clients understand the brand storytelling elements they need to clarify and articulate. The center of the model and the rings adjacent to it define the inputs for your Brand Platform: brand purpose, position, promise, pillars and personality. The middle rings define the components of your Brand Expressions: brand name, brand narrative, marketing messaging and visual brand identity. And the outermost ring outlines activities and deliverables for activating your brand and taking it to market.
Completing the elements of The Brand Wheel will help you clarify your brand messages and codify your brand culture to fulfill customer 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 at scale.
We organize this work into four phases: Brand Discovery, Brand Platform, Brand Expressions and Brand Activation. Each phase builds out a new dimension of your Brand Wheel.
The focus of phase one, Brand Discovery, is to uncover insights into your current and desired brand perceptions. We gather insights using qualitative research methods like in-depth interviews with internal team members and external customers, partners and industry experts. As appropriate, we also use quantitative market research tools like statistically significant surveys. Then we audit your current brand messaging as found on your website, social media pages, presentations and collateral, along with analyzing your competitors’ brand messaging. From there, we synthesize all of our findings using cultural anthropology methods.
The first five elements of The Brand Wheel define your Brand Platform. These elements include the following:
Brand Purpose: The centerpiece of The Brand Wheel is your Brand Purpose. It defines the difference you want to make in the world beyond making money. A well-crafted Purpose Statement helps everyone on your team consistently make decisions that are on brand.
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: Your Brand Pillars define the values you share with your customers. Articulating the beliefs and behaviors that define your culture helps you attract like-minded customers, partners and investors.
Brand Personality: Your brand personality traits defines what your brand looks like, sounds like and feels like. Once you know what your brand personality is, other decisions get easier to make such as your brand voice and brand image.
Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs): For B2B companies, ICPs codify the characteristics that define your best customers, including firmographics that segment customer groups according to shared characteristics like industry, product and service categories, annual revenues, number of employees, geographies, etc.
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 complete your own Brand Wheel checklist.