Build Your Brand Platform First

Today, the “shiny object syndrome” is more than a distraction – it’s become an unfortunate way of life, and the endless information we constantly have access to doesn’t help.

Branding is not immune from this. We have more ideas than time to implement them. More marketing options than budgeted money. We have more outlets, devices, information, and definitely more opinion than ever regarding what we ought to do next.

Why do we pay more attention to trendy tactics than timeless principles?

Foundational principles seem less fun. They lack novelty. They may be outright boring… and we probably feel inadequate to tackle with them. Sending out another tweet or posting a new video to Facebook feels a lot more rewarding. Within a few seconds, we’ll know that someone liked, shared, or retweeted our little sacrifice to the social media gods to their own tribes. With every drop of dopamine we’re less interested in the importance of establishing a solid foundation for our brand and more addicted to instant rewards.

Let’s fix that. The rules of Branding might have changed, but the players are the same, and so are the tokens we use. What has stood the test of time is the process of gaining trust, achieving clarity, the elegance of simplicity, and truth that doesn’t change as often as your social media cover or your Facebook status.

Starting next month, we’re launching a 7-part series about practices that are time-fitted to business today.

Before that, though, let’s look at the foundation that can support it all:

Your Brand Platform

If your Brand is a house, your Brand Platform is the foundation. The stronger the foundation, the more secure the entire structure built on top of it will be. Your Brand platform is not your business, but rather what your business is built on.

If your Brand platform is strong and adequately built to sustain your business activity, then every one of the 7 lessons will help you grow in relevance, adjust for current conditions, and continue building your Brand. If, however, your platform is weak or poorly defined, these practices will mean less than applying a coat of paint to a sinking ship.

The actual components of the Brand Platform can differ depending on your type of business or organization, but the following 2 criteria will help determine what makes up your Brand Platform:

  1. The Brand Platform answers the why, who, what, and how of what you offer. Everything else can come later.
  2. The Brand Platform addresess the essential touch points in the customer journey. Touch points are where your Brand intersects with your audience during the stages of exposure, awareness, engagement, and purchase decision.

Typical components of the Brand Platform:

Brand Strategy

[answers the Why, Who, What, and How questions]

“In order to do things right you have to first think right”.

Brand Strategy involves focused thinking and thoughtful decisions about who you are, what you do, and ultimately, why it matters to your audience. It unveils your Brand DNA (your brand essence), articulates the audience you will serve, and defines how you are different from others who offer a similar service (positioning).

Brand Identity

[answers the Who question]

At the core of your Brand Identity is your logo, the mark which represents you and your organization more often than anything else. Beyond the logo, the Identity System includes things like: business card, letterhead, envelope, note card, presentation folders, email signature, etc.

Brand Interactive

[answers the Why, Who, and What questions]

Your online presence confirms who you are, what you offer, why you’re doing it, and why it matters to your audience. It might also articulate how you are doing it, implying a process or method. This includes your website, social media outlets, online forums and permission marketing services you may use.

Brand Collateral

[answers the Why, Who, and What questions]

Materials that help you convey who you are, what you do, and why it matters play an important role in connecting with your audience. Although much of this type of communication has evolved to be electronic in nature, the more traditional examples help strengthen the bond. 10 years ago, brands who went digital gained an advantage over the competition. Today, brands who maintain a non-digital side of the communication have that advantage.

Although not final, this list includes the components relevant to most businesses. Your specific type of organization may require other items; feel free to add to this list.

The Brand Platform is the foundation you build upon. It reveals who you are, what you offer, and why it matters to your audience. It provides a set of values that informs all behavior, communication and customer experience.

If you have not yet built your Brand Platform, or you’re not sure whether it’s adequate, contact us for a complimentary Brand Audit that reveals the Strength Factor of your Brand. Build your Brand Platform before you do anything else.

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