Three Steps to Frame the Heart and Soul of Your Brand

(I’d like to introduce you to my colleague, Sarah. She joined Sticky Branding in February, and has quickly been leaving her mark on the business and brand. I asked her to introduce herself with a guest post. Let us know what you think! -Jeremy)

When you’re launching a new business your Pinterest board obsession may go into overdrive. It’s tempting to go straight to the pretty stuff — the logo, the colors, the website layout — but it’s essential to first establish the core purpose and mission of your brand.

A gorgeous visual brand identity without a clearly defined purpose is like a perfectly wrapped gift that’s… well, empty. And how disappointing is that?!

Have you ever worked for a company that has their values splashed all over the office walls but no one can tell you how the company differs from competitors’ brands? It’s a serious problem! Informed and engaged employees are the cheerleaders for your brand.

The best way to build your brand is to start from the inside out. It’s like constructing a building: you need a strong foundation. The following three steps will help you to frame and nurture the heart and soul of your brand.

1. Craft Your Mission Statement

What makes a great mission statement? It should be clear, provide some strategic direction, and inspire. When creating your mission statement, think about your business goals, whom you serve and how you will be doing business moving forward. Ideally, your mission will also be clear enough for people outside your organization to understand and simple enough for you — and your team — to remember.

For example:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
  • Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.

Look at each of these statements compared to what you know about each company. Can you see their missions reflected in your perception of their brands? Try to do the same for your business.

2. Become a Visionary

Think about the biggest impact of the product or service, and focus on the benefits of what you offer. What is the benefit of those benefits? Keep digging until you have a clear picture of what the future will look like and what success looks like to you. Above all, think big.

Bill Gates and the Microsoft team did this brilliantly back in the 80’s. They said their vision was to “put a computer on every desktop in every home.” Back when desktop computers were rare, expensive and nerdy — this was an audacious statement. But it happened.

3. Choose Your Core Values

Think about what you stand for and never compromise on it. Think about what beliefs and qualities you have that are unique and meaningful to your business. While there’s no key number for how many brand values an organization should have, it should be practical: more than five can be difficult to remember and internalize; and less than three doesn’t really present the full picture of your business.

Values are key. When you ignore your values you risk crashing your brand. Just remember what happened at Volkswagen. Your company’s values give you the structure to build a brilliant brand.

This is your opportunity. How will you build and nurture the brand of your dreams?