This article has been contributed by Andy.
Some business owners overlook the importance of a brand. They think that because they don’t manufacture a unique, ground breaking product, they can’t be considered a “brand”.
Any business out there can be a brand though – right through from massive names like Coca Cola and Nike, to Wholefoods and Tesco. To put this in perspective, the majority of the items sold by Wholefoods and Tesco are purchased from other companies and brands, but those two supermarkets are still brands within their own right.
Your business can be its very own brand too with a carefully constructed brand platform behind it.
What is a brand platform?
A brand platform is comprised of various components, they come together to form an overall image or perception of your company or brand. Here are five core components that together form a brand platform:
1. A brand vision:
This is a short insight into what your brand is hoping to achieve. A quick internet search turns up hundreds of thousands of brand visions from some of the biggest companies out there. This article at topnonprofits.com summaries 30 brand visions for some of the USA’s most popular non-profit organisations.
You’ll notice they’re all short, sharp and straight to the point. A brand vision doesn’t have to be a 1,000 word essay! The best, most powerful brand visions are just a few words long (in fact, according to the article, the average word count of the 30 visions is just a shade under 15 words!)
- Oxfam: A just world without poverty (5 words)
- Feeding America: A hunger-free America (4 words)
- Human Rights Campaign: Equality for everyone (3)
2. A brand mission:
Once you’ve defined your brand vision, your brand mission should fall into place. Your brand mission offers an insight into how your brand vision will be fulfilled and realised. Again, brand missions don’t have to be lengthy – the best brand missions are short and simple.
- Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. (10)
- Feeding America: To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. (22)
- Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. (15)
3. Brand values:
The best brands define a code of conduct and behaviour – perhaps even their own moral code. These values work to back up the brand mission and help the brand vision to be achieved. Famous brands that employ and enforce strong ethical values include Hotel Chocolat – they only source raw ingredients for their chocolate products from their own team of farmers in St Lucia. Their farmers are all paid a very fair (above market) price for their harvest in a timely manner. These brand values serve to backup the firm’s overall stance as an ethical, sustainable supplier of fine chocolate.
4. Brand personality:
Companies often assign human attributes to their brands so that they’re easier for people to relate to. Supermarkets tend to adopt a thrifty personality, perhaps offering customers lots of money off deals and special offers. These deals resonate with thrifty shoppers looking for bargains, to save as much money as they possibly can. If brand traits are upheld consistently customers are able to identify with a specific brand, thus making them more likely to transact with that brand.
Having a brand personality helps to differentiate.
5. Brand tone of voice:
Most branding contains words – whether it’s a radio advert, a television commercial – or even a full page spread in a national newspaper. Your brand’s tone of voice is conveyed in the words that it uses. If you’re trying to achieve an upmarket, respectable brand personality then the tone of voice is likely to be more formal, whereas brands looking to connect with their audience in a less formal manner may be more likely to use “chattier” prose.
A brand platform isn’t something a company can come up with and implement overnight, as it takes time to create the ideal platform for your business, though in the long run once set up it will help build a sustainable pool of customers and brand loyal followers for your company.
- What is your brand’s vision?
- What is your brand’s mission statement?
- What are your brand’s values?
- What is your brand’s personality?
- What is your brand’s tone of voice?
Andy works as a Creative Director in the London based creative agency that specialises in various branding services like press advertising, corporate literature, product packaging and much more.