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Branding & Identity Development

How to Determine Your Corporate Brand Identity

Developing a brand identity is a five-step process that aims to clearly define what your brand stands for -- its goals, its personality, the emotions you want people to experience when they come into contact with your brand, and a clear conveyance of that identity through a positioning statement. Here's what you'll need to create to do that:

1. Vision Statement
A vision statement describes what you want your company to become in the future - hence the name "vision" statement! It should be aspirational and inspirational. Ideally, the statement should be one sentence in length and should not explain how the vision will be met. Don't worry, that'll come later. When developing your vision, keep these questions in mind:

What are your most important products and services?
What products and services will you never offer?
What is unique about doing business with your brand?
How would your customers describe your brand?
Where do you want your company to be in five years?

2. Mission Statement
A mission statement defines the purpose of the company. It should be simple, straightforward, articulate, and consist of jargon-free language that's easy to grasp. It should be motivational to both employees and customers. When crafting your mission statement, keep these tips in mind:

What are the specific market needs the company exists to address?
What does the company do to address these needs?
What are the guiding principles that define the company's approach?
Why do customers buy from you and not your competition?

3. Essence
Say, what? That's right, your essence. Talk about fluffy. But seriously, you need to develop an "essence." The essence of the company speaks to the intangible emotions you want your customers to feel when they experience the brand. A brand's essence is the representation of the company's heart, soul, and spirit, and is best described with one word. When defining the essence of your brand, consider these points:

When your customers experience your product or service, what emotions does the encounter elicit?
If your brand was a person, how would you describe their personality?
Check out this SlideShare, The 9 Criteria for Brand Essence.

4. Personality
Just as with humans, a brand's personality describes the way a brand speaks, behaves, thinks, acts, and reacts. It is the personification of the brand -- the application of human characteristics to a business. So, what personality do you want to put forth when people experience your brand?

Are you lighthearted and fun?
Are you serious and all-business?
Are you down-to-earth?
Are you playful or matter-of-fact?

5. Position or Value Proposition
A brand positioning statement is a one- or two-sentence statement that clearly articulates your product or service's unique value, and how it benefits customers. The positioning statement must define the audience, define the category in which the brand exists, cite a clear product or service benefit, set your brand apart from your competitors, and instill confidence the brand will deliver on its promise. When crafting a positioning statement, consider:

To whom are you speaking? (Target market, demographic, and persona)
Which market segment does your product or service serve?
What is your brand promise? (Both rational and emotional)
Why is your product or service different from the competition, and why should your customers care?