The Brand Map: 4 Elements of Brand Strategy

Written by | @stickybranding

Brand Map
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Growing a remarkable brand is a journey. It’s filled with obstacles and opportunities, but that’s the point. The steps you take to reach your destination will shape your brand.

To create a brand strategy, I use the metaphor of a ship sailing to a destination. The Brand Map demonstrates the 4 key elements of a brand strategy:

  • Vision
  • Outcomes
  • Values
  • Journey

Vision: Where is your company going?

A vision statement is the destination. It clearly and concisely communicates your company’s objectives.

Use this exercise to dream big and construct an ideal future.

Thinking in the present tense, imagine it is 5 years from today. What is your company doing? Who do you serve? What impact is it achieving? What has your company accomplished?

Describe your vision of the future in detail. Try to construct a bold yet realistic view of what your company has achieved.

Document your vision in a short statement that can be shared with anyone: employees, customers, and partners.

Outcomes: What do you want?

Outcomes are your goals, and they help to give your vision statement structure. By clearly defining the outcomes you can measure performance, and plot how you are making progress to arrive at the destination.

Using a defined timeframe — 1, 3, or 5 years — document up to 5 specific, measurable outcomes. An outcome can be a clear goal like market share or revenue, or an intended impact like helping to improve energy efficiency or employee engagement.

Avoid generating more than 5 outcomes. According to research by Booz and Co., as a company’s priority list grows, revenue growth declines

Values: What do you believe?

If you ignore your values, you risk crashing your brand.

Your company’s values are static. They don’t change, because they’re part of the DNA of your organization.

Values are powerful guidelines to help navigate your brand to its destination, and help you make decisions in a crisis.

Your values are more than trite words like integrity, respect, and excellence. An effective way to discover your values is considering what morals or beliefs you would adhere to in a crisis. These are guiding principles that direct you and your team on how to act.

Journey: How will you reach the destination?

Your brand strategy is your plan to achieve your vision and outcomes. It forces you to consider how you will reach the destination without compromising your values.

Ask 3 questions to plot your Brand Strategy:

  • Where are you today, and where does your organization need to move towards?
  • What’s working, and what isn’t working?
  • Who here is part of the team moving forward, and who has stopped growing and cannot keep up?

If you have bold vision, you will be guaranteed to face challenges. It will stretch you and your team, and force growth. And it’s in the process of transformation to reach your destination that you grow your brand.

Your brand is based on what you’ve done, but branding is driven by what you will do. Plot your journey to transform your brand.