A well, thought-out, brand could be the difference between failure and success. If you’re looking to re-brand your company, or creating a brand for the first time, you first need to understand the difference between a brand, brand strategy, and brand identity.
With time, market trends change, and companies grow - so do their values, goals, and missions. When this happens, companies will re-brand, so their brand can authentically reflect their updated values.
Before the Brand Strategy
Behind every great re-brand is a great brand strategy informed by thorough research, audience segmentation, and designers deciding between the meanings of orange or burnt orange. When re-branding – you need to have a comprehensive brand strategy.
BUT, before you dive in– there is one big step you need to take first – developing the BIG Strategy.
What is the big strategy? Here at LENS, we coined The Big Strategy as the “pre” phase. During this phase, you will conduct a SWOT Analysis, Internal Assessments, Market Assessments, Research Opportunity trends, and create an empathy map – all of which will inform your Value Proposition and Core Values. Once you have your Value Proposition and Core Values, you’ll be ready to tackle the Brand Strategy.
Even if you’re confident in your Big Strategy, it’s a good idea to revisit and workshop it with your stakeholders and team members before moving on to ensure you’re all on the same page before starting your rebranding efforts. The Big Strategy is crucial as it will inform your brand strategy, and your brand strategy will inform your brand, right down to the typeface. ____________________________________________________________________________
Many brand strategists in the industry don’t start with the big strategy. The result? A disorganized process that delivers poor results. If you don’t start with the big strategy, you’ll neglect the process that leads you to discovering what your value proposition actually is, rather than what you think it should be. This process of discovery is crucial as it will deliver insights from data, and subsequently be the foundation your entire brand is built around. If your value proposition doesn’t align with what your brand claims it to be, it will be inauthentic. People will be able to tell.
You don’t want to get halfway through the process only to realize that your brand is misaligned. It’s a waste of time and resources. You’ll be forced to either change your business to mold into the brand strategy or try to force your brand strategy to fit into the big strategy. Neither are good options. Every step in this process should be intentional. (disingenuous)
The Big Strategy
Step One: Conduct an Internal Assessment and Market Assessment
Step Two: What are the Future trends?
Step Three: Swot Analysis and Empathy Map
Step Four: Identifying your Value proposition and Core Values
Think of your favorite brands, why are they your favorite? Is it because they have a nice logo and a warm color pallet? Probably not. While a brand identity is important and can be a factor in customer preference, it’s more likely you’ve chosen your favorite brands for the value they provide you with. Whether this value is status, comfort, quality or some other, it’s a value that other companies can’t give you. This competitive advantage is your company’s value proposition. Identifying your company’s value proposition is the last step in the Big Strategy and is informed by research done in steps 1-3. Your Value Proposition and Core Values will be the foundation for your Brand Strategy.
(EX: Take Chick-fil-a; good chicken and their cow mascot probably come to mind. But why have you bothered to remember Chick-fil-a vs any other fast food chain. What sets Chick-fil-a apart? Sure they have great chicken and I would kill for some waffle fries, but their value proposition lies in their customer service. Chick-fil-a has a stellar reputation for customer service that sets them apart. Memes were even made about it. Their value proposition informs their mission statement, which has nothing to do with chicken:
“To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”)
Your brand strategy will lay out the foundation and be the compass for how your brand looks, how your brand speaks, and how your brand will be experienced. A brand strategy consists of identifying your brand messaging, brand positioning, and brand architecture. This should be a collaborative effort done with employees of your company and stakeholders.
When starting your messaging, start with your mission statement. What is your companies objective?
For this, the LENS team used the SWOT analysis and research done in the Big Strategy to developed the mission statement. “Mission Statement”
The Big Idea & Key Messages:
Next come up with the Key takeaway you want to leave your clients with.
Vision Statement: This differs from the mission statement/ The mission statement is your companies objective, the vision statement is where you want to see your company in 5,10, 15 years.
The culture will be informed by your core values. Questions you should ask yourselves are:
What personality will fit well in our company? Personas
How should one handle problems in the office?
Professional or Jeans?
Collaborative or Private?
1. Your Brand Positioning Statement is your value proposition crafted into 1 or 2 lines that will be digestible and attractive to your audience. There are four components to your Brand Positioning Statement:
1. Target Customer: What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand is attempting to appeal to and attract?
2. Market Definition: What category is your brand competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers?
3. Brand Promise: What is the most compelling (emotional/rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition?
4. Reason to Believe: What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise?
Tone & Crafting your Message:
Brand: A brand is essentially the perception of your company. It’s how other’s see, experience, and interact with your company in their mind. Brand strategy and brand identity inform the brand.
Brand Strategy: The brand strategy is the foundation and roadmap for your brand, it informs your brand and brand identity, all the way down to what typeface you use. During the Brand Strategy phase of the re-branding process, you will develop and identify your brand positioning, brand architecture (if applicable), audience, messaging, values and mission.
Brand Identity: A brand identity is the sum of all the consistent unique elements that mark the brand. This includes visual elements (logos, typography, color schemes, and photography style.) and can include auditory elements (a jingle or the sounds mac computers make on startup). It could also be a unique writing style specific to the company
A case study of us.
When LENS Strategy was first created, we had a template brand to get us out the door. Our main objective was to foster relationships with clients and get to work. As we’ve grown, our work and amazing clients have helped inform us on our vision, values and value proposition. We’ve rebranded to reflect our design-forward strategy and our unique value proposition.