How can you best use a brand building plan?

A house, a bridge, a business… to build anything of value you need a plan.

Brand guy

Building a valuable brand needs a plan too. Whether your brand is centuries old, or just a burst of excitement in a startup deck, you should be able to articulate clearly and consistently what it means, where it’s going and why people should care about it.

A thoughtful brand plan aligns your organisation’s strategy and advances its agenda. It’s your blueprint for developing simple, strong campaigns that engage and persuade your audiences, and deliver high ROI.

But unlike plans for houses, bridges and businesses, there’s no universally agreed standard for brand building plans. So how can you make a brand building plan work for you?

Just get one from the web?

Googling brand plan returns more questions than answers. Should we build a brand message house? Write mission, vision and values statements, brand stories and brand manifestos? Might a brand key unlock our brand door?

All brand building plans aim to help you to define a unique overarching narrative that will express your offering in a powerful and sustainable way.

Should we erect a brand pyramid or brand pillars, climb a brand ladder, colour a brand spectrum or paint on a brand canvas? Or perhaps get academic with a brand identity prism and brand kernel? Could psychological archetypes or the literary monomyth show us the way? Let’s mint a shiny golden circle… Why? How? What?

The logic of building emotion

All brand building plans aim to help you to define a unique overarching narrative that will express your offering in a powerful and sustainable way.

Yet a brand is a set of experiences both tangible and intangible. These experiences seek to appeal with both logic and emotion. Logic is much easier to document than emotion. However the emotional dimension of a brand is often more valuable in terms of power to persuade. A logical-sounding plan may not inspire the strong emotional idea that may be highly effective for the brand.

Brand enlightenment can come quickly in a flash of inspiration. But most seekers will find the guidance of a master helpful to reach that goal.

Who will show you the way?

Developing a solid brand foundation for your product, service or organisation is more like planning a journey than building a structure. A map is helpful, but for deeper insights an experienced guide is even more useful.

Prominent brand builders are often called gurus. It’s an accurate description. Crystallising a brand’s elusive core idea is a bit like seeking nirvana. Much is written about the many paths to the truth. Brand enlightenment can come quickly in a flash of inspiration. But most seekers will find the guidance of a master helpful to reach that goal.

Wholehearted brand builders therefore aim to achieve enlightenment by filtering the brand owners’ depth of knowledge through the insights and experience of a guiding team.

Simple, flexible and open to new ideas

From this collaboration emerges a one-page document that balances reason with emotion. The brand model defines…

  • A brand’s purpose, the goal which justifies why a brand exists and how it contributes to society
  • A brand’s promise, what the brand can confidently guarantee and gives others reason to believe in it
  • Key characteristics, whether tangible or abstract, logical or emotional, that authentically distinguish the brand
  • The brand DNA — a single, simple idea that expresses the essence of the brand in a short phrase. The brand DNA might appear as a tagline locked to the logo to help position the brand in people’s minds

After applying our wholehearted methodology to over 100 brands and counting, one thing is striking. No two brands are alike. The key insight that captures the unique and often elusive spirit of a brand is more likely to come with guidance from a simple, non-dogmatic, flexible approach that allows wholehearted brand builders to draw from a wider set of ideas.

Key takeaway: Uncharted territory is best explored with a guide


Would you like to know more about mapping your brand? Send us an email to let us know

Previous: Odd couples make for successful teams

  • linkedin
  • copy
    Copied