The most powerful brands in the world all have one thing in common. They are trusted. That trust comes from people believing that what they are saying makes sense. It comes from believing that the brand has their best interests at heart. And it comes from believing that what they’re saying is true. Logic, empathy and authenticity – the three building blocks of trust.
To make sure those building blocks all stack up (and stay up) a brand needs solid, well thought-through foundations. Over many years we have tried, discarded, adapted and developed a system for creating what we call a living brand – one that is alive within an organisation, that reaches right through it and out into the market.
Your back story tells people where you’ve come from and how you got here.
It can be led by either the founder or the business. In long form, it tells the key milestones in the development of the business, both good and bad.
It describes adversity overcome, showing your resilience and character, as well as your achievements and success.
Your back story plots a trajectory that points to where you’re headed.
Here’s the short version of ours
A brand archetype locks down your persona, and creates clear expectations of behaviour. It reflects your brand’s attitude and informs your tone of voice. You can establish primary and secondary archetypes for nested brand architectures to reflect company structure and the individuality of teams within the business as a whole. Understanding how these archetypes interact with and inform one another is key to success.
You can use your archetype to create a clear competitive position in the minds of people out there in the market.
Purpose provides meaning to people that transcends financial incentive. It is a statement that connects with your vision, mission and values to create a belief system. Typically a purpose starts with ‘We believe….’
It engenders conviction and loyalty. Your purpose is what both attracts and motivates people to work for you and with you.
It is the flag you wave and people march behind.
Your vision describes the future state you are working towards.
Using the terminology of the Shoreditch glitterati, this is your BHAG, your big hairy audacious goal.
Your vision connects with purpose and the potential in your differentiated brand proposition. It is summed up in one succinct statement that typically begins with ‘We will…’
Vision guides strategy, enabling your senior people to plot the direction for the organisation.
Create your own self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your mission is your immediate objective.
While your vision is what you’re working towards, your mission is what all the people in your organisation should be working on, right now.
Mission connects with the augmentations in your differentiated value proposition.
It is a statement that begins with ‘To be…’ Your mission forms the foundation for decision-making autonomy. It describes what you’re going to do to get things done. It enables your people to make tactical management decisions, so that the organisation progresses as one.
Your values form the foundation of your brand. They create unity and build momentum.
Values guide what your people do every day. They harmonise the individual efforts of all your people. They show what good looks like, enabling everyone to get better and better in the mastery of their individual roles.
To maximise performance, align your values to behaviours and incentives that deliver on your business strategy.
Your brand value proposition defines what you’re selling.
It establishes the core and expected features your brand offers.
It identifies your augmentations and the advantages your offer brings. These are what differentiate you in the market, and deliver on your mission.
And it pinpoints the potential your brand vision promises, and how the customer benefits.
Your messaging is encapsulated in a strapline or positioning statement.
It can provide an over-arching concept that binds all marketing communications within a single, unifying idea.
It is everything you are trying to say that’s special and different about your organisation, boiled down into one key, headline message.
Our core message is
Your brand identity is the visual articulation of your brand.
Much more than a logo, font and colours, your identity incorporates not just everything people see, but includes everything they experience.
The further you go, the more impact it has. For instance, you can design the behaviours your brand dictates by extending it as far as your office environment.
Getting the thinking right behind your brand anatomy gives the creation of your identity its power.
It’s what makes you stand out.
So you can grow strong.
Sometimes called an ‘elevator’ pitch, a clear, concise and punchy 20-second pitch can equip every person in the company, across the globe, to go and sell.
Your pitch is what ‘weaponises’ your brand for all your people. Every person can put it into their own words to use it in every interaction, everywhere.