“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
– Jeff Bezos
Yes, it's hard to earn a reputation – and even more so as a company, as it's just not one person working on the business. The outcomes are dependent on the collective efforts of all stakeholders involved. But efficient planning helps achieve the hardest of things you do as a business professional.
In the case of building a solid brand identity – you can use brand platforms. Read further on how you can create a brand platform for your company.
What is a Brand Platform?
A brand platform is a foundational document containing ideological, design, and voice elements that make up your business. It helps you pinpoint a personality to your brand that interacts with your customers every day as you run your business operations.
Some of the things that make up an ideal brand platform include brand vision, imagery, and positioning.
Why is working on a Brand Platform important?
The importance of a brand platform in an organization cannot be overstated. Here are some of the advantages that a brand platform adds to your business –
Enhances your brand communication
One of the key elements that make a business stand out while communicating with an audience is consistency, and a brand platform helps you achieve that. With important concepts such as brand identity and market position identified, communicating the brand’s ideas and justifying decisions won’t be difficult. Employees of the company can also get an idea of what the brand’s vision is and how they can contribute to achieving the same.
It sets your business apart
A strong brand platform will help you build a unique business brand in an overcrowded market niche. Customers are gradually tilting toward brands that they can resonate with. A brand platform helps you identify the competitive differentiator strategies that will enable you to position in the market and get closer to the target audience. Having a brand that is not generic helps you to attract the right audience and turn them into loyal customers.
Ideal for market expansion
Good foundations for brand-building efforts will also help you to design your brand marketing strategies for expansion. By being consistent, the brand will be resistant to temporary changes like market fluctuations, changes in geographical culture, or technological advances. Any effort to expand won’t lead to an overhaul of the brand’s strategy.
What makes a good brand platform?
Here are three aspects that make up a solid brand platform:
Clear brand position
Brand Positioning involves creating a list of words designed to describe your brand by your set standards. These words are the same as what your customers will think of when they think about your business.
To put this into perspective, think of two different brands in the same industry. For instance, in the automobile industry, there are Volvo and Tesla. Both companies make cars but for different customers and different words come to mind when you think of them. When you think of a tesla, you think luxury and futuristic but when you think of a Volvo, durability, and sturdiness come to mind. This is how you know that both companies have different brand platforms that serve different purposes.
Clear Value Proposition
The phrase “what do you bring to the table” is quite popular, and more so in the business world.
The value proposition in the business context refers to what you have to offer. In this part, you should focus on the value and advantage your business brings to your customers. Do you work on increasing the status of the business? Or are you affordable yet useful?
A good brand platform helps you decide how you intend to improve your customer’s life.
Hone your value propositions by conducting a benefit segmentation analysis to understand how your customers perceive the benefits of your product.
It’s easy to appeal to an audience when you have a relatable and genuine story to share. A brand platform helps you create this very same story in the form of your brand story. A brand story helps tell the world your brand’s reason for existence.
A brand story should normally include how the business started, how it has evolved and its plans for the future. A good brand story evokes emotions in the heart of its target customers.
How does building a Brand Platform help build a brand identity?
A good brand platform, as discussed above, helps you set the foundation of a perfect brand identity that consistently stays with your business as it grows. Working on one helps set up how you communicate, how you present yourself, and your role in the life of your customers.
Together, the efforts you put in by working on your brand platform get added to form a persona. This means, your business is no longer just a capitalistic legal entity – it's like a human that has its voice and is capable of showcasing emotions that everyone associates with.
For example, Patagonia is known to be a purpose-driven apparel company that advocates clean and green living. From their famous 1995 image of a family in mountains to its founder donating all shares to fight climate change - their actions are consistently directed to their defined mission. This appeals to their audience who tend to not think twice before purchasing their products.
Brand platform elements to focus on
A brand platform should carry the business’s vision statement. A vision statement is usually a sentence or a group of sentences that summarize what the business wants to achieve. It helps describe the business’s goals in the near future such that one can understand how the business will look if it's at its peak. A vision statement answers questions such as “where are we going” “how do we get there” and “when do we get there.”
The brand objective is closely related to and similar to the vision statement but a difference exists between both. Brand objectives can be end goals such as achieving profit and they can also be short-term goals that lead to end goals. A brand objective is more actionable and measurable than a vision statement. It is one of the first few things that must be stipulated when creating a brand platform.
Core brand value
This part of the brand platform creation process talks about what your brand stands for. A business’s core value refers to the principles it will uphold in the process of carrying out its everyday business. The core brand value is what guides the business while you attempt to achieve the decided mission and vision, and it should be included in the brand platform.
When creating your business’s brand platform it is important to also consider how the brand will fit into the market. A critical assessment of the market should be done and conclusions should be drawn based on this. Brand positioning also involves the customers’ perception of the business. Hence insights from interviews should be gathered and included in the brand platform.
A brand promise, as the name suggests, is a one-liner that states what the consumers can expect from the business when they interact with them. It’s the promise of a customer experience that you want everyone to associate your company with. For example, people associate Amazon with being a customer-centric brand, because they promise a customer-first approach to how they run their platform operations.
A company should strive to ensure consistency with its brand promise to create a long-lasting brand that people remember.
The brand voice is sometimes referred to as the brand tone. It has to do with the way a business communicates to its customers. Depending on the services and industries, businesses choose different brand voices such as fun, authoritative, advisory, etc.
The value proposition is a set of statements that help you present the features of the product as its benefits to the consumer. It helps turn your product from a mere set of features into a solid ‘solution’ that your customer seeks for their problems.
Example of a good brand platform – Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a great example of a good brand platform strategy. They have successfully convinced the world that sugar water can lead to collective happiness among friends and family. That’s the power of repeated messaging of ‘Open Happiness’ with consistent imagery of a group of people sharing a ‘good time’ for decades. One simply associates Coca-Cola to be ‘refreshing’, ‘an add-on to happy times’, etc.
Get started with building your brand platform
Brand platforms can be difficult to create but they serve a business beyond words can describe. If you’re a business owner, spend time learning more about building a brand platform or hire an expert to help you. It’s an investment that truly can help you build a business that can thrive for decades.