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. 

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


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.


How do vision and mission statements impact a company's long-term direction?

Effective vision and mission statements should ideally constitute important tools in formulating a company’s strategy. They should largely remain unchanged through the years, though a significant pivot may bring about new vision and mission statements. Together, they work to define the focus of the business and how it impacts the world. 

The vision statement is a representation of your company’s view of a better world. The mission statement reflects how it sets about to achieve this vision. They work together to create internal alignment and help with strategic decision making. When planning for the future, developing new products, or experimenting with new strategies, teams can perform a quick check against the vision and mission statements to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with the essence of the brand. 

In short, the vision and mission statements are powerful tools which can and should impact decisions across the organizations, making them important factors in a company’s long-term direction.

How does brand strategy influence the overall success of a business?

Your brand strategy reflects how your brand sees the world and its role within it. It is the framework that, ideally, should guide all your communications (both external and internal) and audience touchpoints, i.e. each interaction an audience member has with your business. 

Having standardized communication across all channels and touchpoints makes business processes smoother and positively influences your client relationships, ensuring you develop strong, long-term connections with your customers. It also simplifies strategic decision-making and aligns your team. All these factors are vital to the success of a business.

How do messaging frameworks help communicate your brand message effectively?

Messaging frameworks are structured guides that outline the core messages, value propositions, and differentiators of a brand. They ensure consistency across all communications, from marketing materials and social media posts to customer service interactions. By defining key messages that resonate with the brand's target audiences, messaging frameworks help ensure that a brand’s communications are clear and memorable. 

They also help organizations stay aligned internally and ensure that each member, regardless of their role, understands what the brand’s key message is and how to communicate it effectively. This internal alignment is crucial for presenting a unified brand image to the outside world.

What specific elements contribute to a brand's verbal identity?

A brand’s verbal identity should align your team on how your brand communicates and how this communication changes depending on the situation. It defines a specific and recognizable language through which your brand can deliver its message to your audience or audiences.

Typically, a verbal identity includes some, or all, of the following elements:

Brand personality: This captures the human traits or characteristics that your brand embodies, such as being adventurous, sophisticated, or reliable, which help shape how your brand is perceived.

Brand voice: The brand voice reflects how your brand reflects its personality across all communication channels.

Brand tone: While the brand voice remains consistent, the brand tone can change depending on the context of the message and the audience being addressed, ranging from formal and professional to informal and friendly.

Messaging frameworks: These are strategic tools that outline the key messages your brand intends to communicate to its different target audiences, ensuring that all messaging is aligned with your brand's mission, vision, and value propositions.

Messaging examples: These provide specific examples of how your brand's messaging might be applied in various scenarios.

Style and grammar guidelines: These outline your preferred spelling, grammar, and style, ensuring that your communication is consistent across the board. 

What are some key considerations when developing a tone of voice for a brand?

The first and most important consideration is the brand’s personality. While businesses are functional, they still communicate with people – and people primarily connect with stories and personas. Your brand’s personality will define a set of human characteristics which reflect how it sees itself in the world. By giving your brand these human attributes, you are making it both distinctive and easier to identify with. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality.

It’s also important to consider your target market and your audience’s expectations. While having a distinctive tone of voice is important for memorability, there is such a thing as being too different. If all brands in your segment adopt a serious, professional tone, and you would like to be fun and playful, there is certainly space for that, but consider very carefully why you are doing it.


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How do brand guidelines ensure consistency in visual identity across different platforms?

Brand guidelines are a key tool for maintaining a consistent visual presentation across various platforms. These guidelines typically outline the main use cases where the brand's visual identity will appear and provide comprehensive rules and standards.

The guidelines include detailed instructions on how to use the brand’s assets, such as logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery. This ensures that anyone using these assets, whether they're designers, marketers, or external partners, can apply them correctly and consistently. 

It’s crucial that the entire team is familiar with these guidelines. It’s important to get team buy-in on the visual identity and ensure that the guidelines are easily accessible. When the whole team understands and follows the guidelines, the brand's visual identity remains unified across all touchpoints, enhancing brand recognition and trust.

How does visual identity differ across industries, and how can a brand ensure it stands out while remaining authentic?

Visual identity varies significantly across industries, shaped by both the industry norms and the unique aspects of each brand. Understanding where your brand stands in the competitive market is essential when crafting a visual identity that both stands out and remains authentic.

Industries have distinct visual trends that are often expected by consumers. For instance, financial services brands typically adopt a reserved, traditional look with a color palette dominated by blues and greys. In contrast, skincare brands often go for a lighter, more colorful approach with pastels. Being aware of these industry-specific trends is important because it helps to decide how much your brand should differentiate itself from these norms. This differentiation should be based on your audience's expectations and your brand's unique value propositions.

For example, a financial services brand that emphasizes its use of innovative technologies might choose a more digital-oriented visual language. Similarly, a skincare brand that focuses on scientific innovation might benefit from a more science-based visual language.

How does competitive benchmarking influence the development of a visual identity?

Competitive benchmarking is important in developing a brand's visual identity as it provides insights into the market environment. By examining the competition, a brand can better understand its unique value proposition and strengths. This understanding is crucial in identifying what sets the brand apart from others.

With this knowledge, a brand can lean into its unique strengths when crafting its visual language. This approach ensures that the visual identity not only looks appealing but also reinforces the brand’s distinct point of view and competitive edge.

What are the key considerations when creating visual concepts for a brand?

The visual identity of a brand should quickly and clearly reflect its strategic positioning. Designers begin the process of creating visual concepts by immersing themselves in the brand’s strategy to extract key narrative themes. These themes are then translated into a visual language that employs both emotional and aesthetic elements to communicate the brand's messages. This translation is crucial as it shapes how the audience perceives and interacts with the brand.

When developing visual concepts, it's important to make sure they align with the brand's strategy and fit well within the competitive landscape: demonstrating key differentiators, but still fitting into the industry at large. The visuals should also be suitable for the mediums they will be used in. Whether for digital, print, or physical applications, the choice of medium can greatly influence how the visual concepts are designed.

How does visual identity contribute to brand recognition and trustworthiness?

Visual identity is key to boosting brand recognition and trustworthiness, especially in busy markets. When a company maintains a consistent visual brand across different platforms, it becomes easier for customers to recognize and remember it. This consistency is crucial for standing out among competitors.

Having a consistent visual identity also shows professionalism and attention to detail. These qualities make customers more likely to trust a brand. When a brand looks the same across all touchpoints, from websites to products and ads, it tells customers the brand is reliable and serious. This builds trust and makes customers more likely to pick this brand over others that may not look as professional or consistent.


What are the advantages of having a well-designed and user-friendly website for a business?

The business landscape has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Now, your digital footprint is definitely at the center of most business growth strategies. A well-designed website allows companies to connect with users in an effective manner, ensure customer loyalty, and expand business - among other benefits.

Website design is the key ingredient to digital success, alongside well-functioning SEO tools, connected backend, and user-friendly strategy. A user-friendly website for your business will:

  • Increase user engagement and conversion rates
  • Improve SEO and searchability of your business
  • Improve retention rates
  • Make your business more credible while making your brand more memorable
How does the design of a website impact its accessibility to users, including those with disabilities?

In website design, "accessibility" refers to whether a site is designed in a way that is inclusive and usable by everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. 

This may include important site characteristics such as text-to-speech functionality, video captions, alternative text tags for images, enhanced with good design practices of intuitive navigation, straightforward copy. and others. Accessibility is integral to website performance and user experience.

How can businesses ensure consistency and credibility across their website, brand, and marketing materials?

To achieve consistency and credibility across all your collateral, you need to ensure that the brand message - both verbal and visual - is compliant with your brand guidelines. This can include:

  • Using the correct tone of voice principles across all communication channels to differentiate your brand personality

  • Communicating consistent messaging and key differentiators on all platforms

  • Ensuring that key visual elements (logo, color palette, typography, imagery) on your website, marketing, and sales materials are aligned with each other

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when designing and developing a business website?

According to a 2024 web statistics report, a staggering 75% of business credibility is attributed to various web design decisions. In order to improve your website’s trustworthiness, avoid the following common design mistakes:

  • Not prioritizing accessibility: One of the biggest design mistakes out there is overlooking web accessibility principles on your website.

  • Not investing in responsive design and customization: With the majority of global traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, lack of responsive design and customization can break a business.
  • Prioritizing aesthetics over function: Compromising user experience in favor of flashy aesthetics will dilute your brand message and user journey to the required call to action.

  • Lacking clarity in messaging and navigation: Clear navigation and messaging will reduce the friction users may experience when landing on your site as they are trying to get a clear picture of what your business is.
How does website copywriting contribute to user engagement and conversion, and what role does SEO play in this?

The goal of web copywriting is to guide your users through their web journey while providing information, engaging with and converting them into buyers. Each section of your site shapes the visitor perception about your brand and affects their buying decisions. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a practice of creating engaging and persuasive content that not only appeals to your users, but also incorporates relevant keywords and techniques to attract organic traffic to your site.

To start writing SEO-friendly copy for your site, you can:

  • Manually conduct keyword research by checking what competitors are ranking for
  • Use SEO software like SEMRush to investigate new keyword opportunities
  • Make sure to review keywords frequently as their popularity changes often and you want to keep ranking for competitive terms.

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