If you have a business, you need a brand. Period.
That’s the only way to gain the trust of your audience and grow consistently.
A brand platform ensures that all your business decisions adhere to your brand and that you have a solid brand identity recognizable across all channels.
In this blog post, I’ll explain what a brand platform is and offer tips on how to craft one for your brand story.
What is a brand platform? Definition.
A brand platform is a document that includes all strategic and visual elements of your authentic brand story.
It’s the foundation for your entire identity. A strong brand story is essential for creating and maintaining a unique, memorable identity that resonates with consumers. The best way to ensure a powerful brand story is to create a comprehensive brand platform.
A brand platform serves as an internal guide to help ensure that all aspects of your business—from marketing campaigns to customer interactions—represent your overall brand identity and the messages you want to communicate.
Why do you need a brand platform?
There are many reasons why you need a brand platform. But here are the most important ones:
1. Ensure brand consistency
Crafting a detailed brand platform can help ensure consistency across all facets of your brand and business, enabling you to stay true to your mission statement while allowing room for growth over time.
It ensures that your purpose, mission, and brand imagery are being represented accurately in all activities, marketing initiatives, and customer touchpoints.
A brand platform also ensures that your brand remains true even when you work on brand evolution exercises.
2. Drive better teamwork and alignment
A brand platform outlines how information about the brand should be conveyed and is great for streamlining internal processes.
It gives your team a shared understanding of your small business brand, which can help to align your marketing efforts and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Additionally, external partners also get clarity on how the brand should be perceived and represented.
Not only does this make things run more smoothly from start to finish, but it helps keep all of your brand strategy moving in the same direction.
3. Guide decision-making
A brand platform is a tool that can help you make decisions about your marketing strategy and execution.
A brand platform also helps guide strategic decisions such as product lineups and marketing strategies, creating a sustainable brand identity that resonates with customers.
3. Stand out from the competition
One of the most vital benefits of a detailed brand platform is that it enables youra brand to stand out from a competitive market by highlighting its unique value proposition (UVP).
With clearly defined visual and strategic elements, you create a recognizable brand image that easily attracts and retains customers.
What does a brand platform include?
The first step in creating your own brand platform is to create a brand platform model and framework and decide what elements should be included.
Here are some key points you should always include in your brand platform:
1. Target audience
Your target audience is the group of people who fall into your ideal customer segment. These people are most likely to buy from you, even with little or no persuasion, as they identify your products or services as the perfect solutions to their problems.
When segmenting your target audience, create a buyer persona with specific demographics that illustrate your ideal customer. These demographics include age, gender, location, income level, behaviors, and interests.
2. Brand purpose
Your brand purpose is the reason your brand your brand exists beyond just the products and services you offer.
Your brand’s purpose helps create a deeper connection with your audience, as it proves to them that there are more important reasons why you’re in business than to make profits. This endears them to you, making them loyal and strong advocates of your brand, which ultimately rubs off on your profit margin.
3. Brand mission statement
Even the most light-weighted brand platforms have a mission statement as one of their key elements.
Your brand mission is a declaration of what your business does and why. A good mission statement should be clear, concise, and understandable.
4. Brand vision
Unlike your brand’s mission, your vision is aspirational. It looks at what your business aims to achieve in the future.
A solid vision statement should be ambitious yet achievable, and it should be aligned with your company values.
5. Brand Values
Your brand values are the guiding principles that inform your actions, interactions, decisions, and everything you do as a business. They should be reflective of your mission and vision, and they should be something that you are passionate about.
6. Unique value proposition
Your brand’s unique value proposition states the distinct advantages and benefits that come from purchasing, using, or interacting with your brand.
It illustrates the unique value they gain by buying from you instead of your competitors.
7. Brand positioning
Your brand positioning statement is a map of where you stand vis-a-vis your competition. It should be based on your competitive differentiation and target market, and it should be reflective of your brand personality.
Your brand positioning also helps you clearly define your USP and identify your target audience.
8. Brand messaging
Brand messaging is the overall message a brand and business conveys about the brand, products or services, with the goal of creating an emotional connection with its target audience.
Your brand messaging includes 4 major components
- Brand promise
- Brand tagline
- Brand messaging pillars
- Brand story
9. Brand personality
Your brand personality described by a few brand adjectives is the way that your brand presents itself to the world. It is one of your most important brand attributes and should be consistent across all touchpoints.
10. Brand voice
How do you want people to perceive your company through its messaging and communication strategies? Do you prefer a formal or informal tone in all communications, both internally and externally?
How to create a brand platform? Development and template
Creating a brand platform can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start or what elements to include.
Here’s a step-by-step process to help you create a successful brand platform:
1. Research the market
The first step in creating a brand platform is conducting thorough market research, focusing on your target audience and competitors.
To understand your target audience better, create a buyer persona that captures your ideal customer’s demographics, including age, gender, location, interests, and needs. Also, examine their preferences and how you can get them to choose your brand.
Furthermore, identify your industry and its key players – your competitors. Research their brand strategy by conducting a detailed SWOT analysis. This helps you identify opportunities to leverage when building a solid brand platform that gives you a competitive advantage.
2. Define your brand elements
Think of the personality you want your brand to portray and how you want your competitors, customers, and target audience to perceive it. Then consider all the elements you need to build this desired brand personality.
Define your brand elements, such as your mission, vision, core values, brand purpose, etc., with your target audience in mind.
3. Define your brand positioning
After researching the market and defining your brand elements, the next step is to define your brand’s position. Here, you’ll use factors like price, product or service quality, target audience, and market perception to determine your brand’s position in the market.
Furthermore, determine your unique value proposition, identify what differentiates you from your competitors, and why customers choose your brand. All these will help you create a platform that effectively communicates your brand.
4. Craft a compelling brand story
Make your brand story compelling enough by sharing how your brand came into existence, how far it has come, the challenges faced, and the successes it has attained.
With a relatable and empathetic brand story, other elements in your brand platform will align accordingly, ensuring you build a solid brand identity that resonates with your target audience.
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story
5. Create your brand messaging and communication
Your brand story greatly influences your brand messaging and communication style by providing the context for how your brand interacts with your audience and communicates your values and offerings.
You can’t tell the story of a brand that has overcome many challenges with the assistance of its loyal customers and still assume a tone of authority when addressing them.
Therefore, with your brand story as a solid foundation, create your brand messaging and communication style, especially as it concerns your tone and voice.
6. Design your brand platform
Design your brand platform once your brand story and communication style are defined. Start by choosing a good storytelling software like MS PowerPoint, then use it to create the sections or pages of your brand platform, including each brand platform element on a different page.
Ensure your brand platform aligns with your brand’s visual identity by using relevant imagery from your brand kit during the creation process.
7. Integrate and implement your brand platform
Once you’ve designed your brand platform, the next thing to do is integrate it into your overall strategy. Ensure your brand’s visual identity, messaging, and communication guidelines are applied to all marketing materials.
Brand platform examples
Understanding how brand platforms work can become so much simpler when you have some examples to work with.
But before I share those, here is something to note.
Most brands create a complete brand book or brand guidelines that include two key sections of a brand story:
- Brand platform: The complete DNA of the brand and the principles that guide it
- Brand kit: The visual and design guidelines of the brand, including how colors, typography, and other brand attributes are to be used.
So once you create your brand platform, make sure you create your brand kit as well!
Here are 3 brand platform examples to inspire you!
Slack starts its brand platform by defining who they are, followed by its values and personality.
It explains in clear terms the key challenge they’re trying to solve, the solution they have in place, and the result of their solution.
It also includes their mission, vision, core values, and personality.
There’s also a detailed description of their design elements and how they’re to be used.
Check out the full Slack brand guidelines
Carrefour rebranded in 2010 and assumed a new brand identity, prompting it to refresh its brand platform with new objectives, beliefs, and expressions.
Check out the Carrefour brand platform and brand kit.
The Walmart brand platformstarts with the brand identity guidelines and principles, including its mission, strategies for success, initiatives, and design philosophy.
Tips to create a brand platform that strengthens your brand storytelling
Crafting a brand platform is essential for business success in today’s tight competitive environment; it serves to not only differentiate your company from the competition but also helps to tell the story of your organization.
Here are some tips that you can keep i mind while creating your brand platform:
1. Adopt a customer-centric approach
Your customers are why you have a brand; therefore, every brand action should be structured with them at heart, including creating your brand platform.
Create a brand platform that highlights how your brand plans to address the needs of your target audience.
2. Share your brand platform with all your stakeholders
Ensure you share your brand platform with your key partners and stakeholders, such as your employees, external marketers, distributors, etc.
This ensures they understand how to represent and effectively work with your brand.
Share your brand platform with your partners so they know what core guiding principles you stand by so they can work with you more effectively.
3. Update your brand platform when applicable
The brand platform is one element of a brand that rarely changes completely, as it is vital even during brand evolution processes.
However, it can evolve over time while maintaining your core values and identity.
Ensure that you update your brand platform if your brand story has evolved from where it initially started out.
4. Don’t change it too often
A brand story takes time to be perceived by your audience and retained, so don’t change your brand story and brand platform too often. For example, with every trend in your industry.
Do it only when there’s a big reason for it or when there have been major changes to your brand story.
5. Keep the platform accessible
Always keep your brand platform easily accessible so anyone can refer back to it if they need clarification on any aspect of their role in representing the company.
Conclusion: Give your brand a solid identity with an extensive brand platform
A comprehensive brand platform enables you to build a brand and business that delivers on all its promises, places customers at the center of its operations, and is recognizable across all platforms.
It ensures consistency in all your branding efforts, helping you build a brand that resonates with its target audience and meets business goals. So definitely think about creating one for your business!
Do you have a brand platform for your story? Which elements do you include or leave out? Share in the comments!