Brand Strategy

Let's start with the core. In order to define what this can be, it helps to think of it as the core purpose of a company, brand or organization, simplifying it to following six questions (and one statement):

The Six Key Brand Model Questions

• Why are we here? - A simple statement that sums up your core purpose, usually relatively emotional in tone, and often simplified to just a few headline words.

• What do we do and how do we do it? - These are usually descriptive, nuts and bolts, functional, 'doing' and 'process' statements.

• What makes us different? - This helps to position our brand away, in customers minds, from what others offer, and to enhance any unique properties.

• Who are we here for? - The key audiences / customers for the product, service or organization (linked to this are the 'messages' that fit with each audience).

• What do we value the most? - The core beliefs and universal truths that are shared... Which, in turn, affect how a brand, its founders, directors and employees behave.

• What's our personality? - How we express ourself to the outside world, our brand's character, the tone of voice we use, and how we communicate.

• Our Ambition: The long-term aim - either linked to legacy 'mission/vision" statements, or written afresh.


Understanding this step is vital to a project's success. Brands across the world are discovering that their overall strategic and verbal approach is what glues them together and drives who and what they really are. Identify your brand’s farthest-reaching business goal: its Ambition. Stretching into the long term this ambition should be simple, challenging, compelling — and underpinned by clear KPIs. The resulting ambition will command commitment, demand measurement, and stand powerfully as an act of leadership.

This step is critical to the future health of any brand and any branding project. Without a strong verbal basis, a clear brand strategy and across-the-board agreement, a project is in danger and visual work could be critically undermined before it has even begun. What this step illustrates is that with powerful definitions, manifestos, values and brand strategy, the stage is set for the creative work. And as we will see, it often inspires and drives what comes next.

What we will cover in this step?
- How to put a statement if "why we are here" at the core of a brand
- The six key questions that our brand model has to answer
- How to use scenario writing to help the process and the rise of the manifesto
- How some brands take what they do and their 'product' as their reason to be
- How clarity about what makes a brand different, and who it is aimed at, is key
- How to turn boring old 'brand values' into powerful and usable tools
- How narrative and strategy are intertwined
- How we can begin to broaden out our brand model

Narrative / Bridging the Gap

This step wouldn't really exist if branding was always a linear, logical process. But projects can take a twists and turns, and the line between stages can blur. The strategy should have a direct effect on following creative steps, but sometimes the design process prompts new ideas. So, how do you bridge this gap?

If Brand Strategy defines and Brand Experience creates, than Bridging the Gap helps translate, for both sides. And there are definitely a few key issues such as naming and 'brand architecture' that fall into the blurred area of this step. It is all about the interface between the verbal and the visual work, and, increasingly, they are happening together.

What we will cover in this step?
- The key conundrums faced when merging narrative and design
- How narrative sometimes follows the design stage
- How studying brand architecture models informs both strategy and design
- How to create names that work for 21st- century branding
- How the blur between narrative and design can help - and not hinder - the process