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Brand Strategy Playbook

Your brand is an essential part of your business. Your vision, your offer, and your team are the foundations of the company. They create the starting point for the conversation. Your brand is the chance to turn that conversation into a meaningful connection with your audience.

Brand Strategy & Verbal Identity
Your brand identity and verbal identity are intrinsically linked and both are important aspects of how your articulate your brand.

What is Brand Strategy and Why Does it Matter?

Your brand is not your website, your logo, or your name - it is all of the above, and more. It is an ecosystem of verbal and visual frameworks that create a specific feeling, a defined memory, and a tangible mark.

Brand strategy is at the core of it all: it is the foundation of your brand lives in the world, guiding all communication.

Without a clearly defined brand strategy, your differentiation becomes difficult to communicate, and your messaging - vague and generic. 

Brand strategy identifies what your brand stands for and what makes it defensibly unique. Building on top of this foundation, you can then clarify and amplify your brand message to engage with key target audiences. 

How internal tools inform your external brand strategy.
Focusing on internal tools - like brand foundations and brand positioning - inform what the external output will be for your audience.

What are Brand Pillars? 

At the core of any brand and business sits your vision and mission: your key brand pillars. The two parts of your brand that capture your fundamental reason for existing, are what you want to offer the market and how you serve your audience. 

Vision:
An articulation of the ultimate goal you want to achieve. This is your north star that guides everything your business does.

Mission: A statement that captures your purpose, what you do for your audience, and how you plan on reaching the goals of your vision. 

The two work in combination with each other as tools to give your business and team long-term direction and clarity on the actions you take right now. 

Effective vision and mission statements should define the focus of the business, helping you prioritize and maximize impact on your target audience and enable clear decision-making and goal setting between where you are today and where you want to get to.

Learn how to articulate your brand strategy through vision and mission statements.
Your mission and vision are two very important yet different things that work together to build the foundation of your brand strategy.


A few questions to help you think about your own vision and mission:

  • Think back to why you started your business, what did you hope to achieve?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the value you bring to them?
  • What is your 2, 5, 10 year goal?
  • What makes you different from anyone else?

Explore some examples of vision and mission statements from leading companies and Wunderdogs clients.

Vision Statement Examples

  • Google: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”

  • IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

  • Intel: “If it’s smart and connected, it’s best with Intel.”

  • Samsung: “Shape the future with innovation and intelligence.”

Mission Statement Examples

  • TED: Spread ideas, foster community and create impact. 

  • Microsoft: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

  • JPKF: Building a future where the IDD community is empowered to thrive.

  • Ecocart: We’re on a mission to make commerce less harmful to the environment.

What is Brand Positioning?

Your brand pillars capture your ambition, your overall goals, and how you reach them. They are broad, aspirational, and inspiring. Brand positioning starts to turn those goals into action. 

Through the creation of value propositions and a positioning statement, you define the unique aspects of your brand, your product, your company culture, or values that are relevant to your audience and unique to the market.

Value propositions:
Statements and supporting proof points that capture the benefits of your product that bring value to the audience, aligned to their needs. 

Positioning statement:
Your positioning statement translates your value to your audience into a description of your product and target audience and explains how you fill a market need. 

A few questions to help you think about value propositions and positioning statement:

  • What gap have you identified in the market?

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?

  • What benefits does your product offer?

  • What makes these benefits valuable to your target market?

  • What can you offer your audience that no one else can?

What is a Brand Persona?

Brand Persona is the lens through which positioning is communicated. It is a tool that helps define tone of voice principles which in turn guide your messaging and communications. The personality of your brand should be derived from everything you’ve learned and the company culture you have built. 

Usually, a brand persona includes a set of personality traits and tone of voice characteristics that are linked to define your brand perception in the minds of your target audience and team. A brand persona is used as the filter through which you translate your positioning into external communication and key messages.

An overview of creating a brand persona
Having an identified brand persona is key to understanding to whom your brand appeals.

What is Tone of Voice?

This is the distinct personality a business curates to communicate with its target audience across mediums. It includes a unified approach to tone, style and messaging to build brand recognition and nurture connection with the audience. It is the personality your brand takes on in all of its marketing communications. Your TOV voice serves as a guide of what to say and how to say it. Your voice should be unique to your company and reflect company values. 

Messaging Frameworks

With your positioning and persona in place, messaging can be developed to translate your value as a business into the things you want your audience to care about. Messaging frameworks set the structure. They are your brand on a page, for a specific audience. Building on positioning means identifying key messaging pillars and the benefits you bring to the specific audience you’re talking to.

Built through an overarching message pillar, headline benefit, and proof points - the actions you take to make the benefit true, the message framework identifies what you are going to communicate. 

Messaging takes those benefits and turns them into distinct key messages that connect with your audience's needs. As a structure to build out the most useful tool for your business, you can develop messaging in different formats. From headlines to short-form descriptions of services and tools to elevator pitches and manifestos, messaging can come together in a number of different ways. But always consider where the message appears, and what channel you’re using and adjust messaging that takes advantage of the channel to connect more deeply and deliver a stronger message. 

“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

Conclusion

By developing your brand strategy to include key pillars and positioning, you have created the basis of your brand. Your brand pillars and positioning give you consistent tools that provide your team and business with purpose and clear direction for growing and meeting the needs of your audience. These are essential components that can be translated into customer-facing language and messaging that communicates your value in a way that customers will understand. 

Strong pillars and brand positioning give you consistency, so no matter what audience you connect with, where you connect with them, and through which channels, they experience your brand and the company in the same way. It helps you build recognition, brand preference, and positive sentiment that leads to improved acquisition, purchase intent, and loyalty.

To learn more about brand strategy and its value check, out the recommendations below.

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