You want your brand to tell a consistent story to your audience across all channels and assets. Ensuring your logo and imagery look the same across all marketing materials is just the tip of the iceberg in building a cohesive brand. Genuinely ensuring your brand is adding value and living up to your company's mission takes discipline.
It's easy to get off-track when creating a marketing campaign and focus on the mission of acquiring new customers or promoting a specific product or service. But it's essential to consider best marketing practices before getting tactical. Utilizing the principals of a brand platform will help you create a reliable roadmap for building your brand value. It will also serve as the guide for any future campaigns.
Not sure where to start? Here's a step-by-step guide that makes it simple for building your brand platform.
Start with your company's values
A company's values are the foundation of any organization. They define your company's purpose and style of delivering your products or services. If your business doesn't have core values or a mission and vision statement, I recommend you take some time to discuss with your executive leadership team. It's not only important that your marketing partners understand your values and mission so they can deliver the proper messaging to your audience, but it also helps to define your company culture.
Define your value proposition
One of the best exercises your company can use is to define your value proposition in the market. While a marketing professional should write the actual words of what makes a company unique, the value proposition should be established by someone who understands how to deliver your products or services.
Whether your company focuses on serving top-level professional athletes, is the first provider to perform cataract surgery or has the best pricing on French cooking products – this advantage should be communicated as a part of your brand platform so you can weave it into the messaging in all your materials.
Once your value proposition is defined, you can then determine how to communicate your position in the market, or establishing your brand story. Often, a company's brand story and personality have similar traits to the owner or founder of the company. Virgin Group's brand values appear to have been influenced by their founder, Richard Branson. Consumers consider the Virgin Group brand to be distinctive, fun-loving and innovative. Virgin Airlines is admired for its qualities of friendliness, intelligence, and integrity.
How does your brand personality look and sound? Take the time to consider what is relevant to your target audience and service before creating these attributes. Keep in mind that specific personality attributes don't match up with some service or product offerings. For instance, you wouldn't want a humorous tone for a serious subject like life-altering medical treatment.
Create the tone and visual rules around your brand
The final step in creating your brand platform is to build brand guidelines. These guidelines are included in a document that outlines the brand's visual identity as well as messaging guidelines. Branding guidelines are excellent tools to provide to any marketing partners or new employees that join your organization. The rules defined in this document establish the colors to utilize, the style of imagery, and tone of voice in your marketing materials. This document helps to wrap up everything there is to know about your brand and how it should be promoted.
Your brand guidelines should not be something that you create once and sit on the shelf for years. Brands evolve and change as services and products do. They should be adapted to fit your company's needs. It's good practice to review your brand platform at least once a year.
It may seem intimidating at first to go through this process for your brand. But I promise if you put in the work, it will be well worth it. Brands like Apple, Disney, and Coca-Cola would likely attest to the value of defining your brand platform.
If you need help building your brand platform, contact Harrison Creative Group for guidance through the process.
About the author
Stacey Harrison is an experienced B2B, B2C, and healthcare marketer. She leads Harrison Creative Group as the lead creative strategist. Partnering with small, medium, and start-up businesses, she operates as an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer to develop and implement growth marketing strategies that include branding, paid search and social, content marketing, direct TV, social media marketing, email marketing, and public relations and strategic communications.
Contact Stacey today for a no-obligation consultation about your content marketing strategy.