- Vanessa Rowley-Matthew
The Key Elements of a Successful Brand Platform: What You Need to Know
Updated: Feb 16
Your brand messaging is, in large part, your brand platform. Therefore, brand messaging should not be confused with brand messages when creating your brand platform.
Brand messaging is the overall strategy brands use to communicate their brand’s value and benefits to a target audience. It includes the language, tone of voice, and personality a brand should use to convey its key brand messages and value.
Brand messages are the specific points that a brand wants to communicate to its target audience, which are commonly ideas, statements, or claims that a brand makes about itself or its programs, products, or services communicated through various channels, such as advertising, social media, email marketing, or public relations.
Here are the following components of a brand platform:
Your brand’s purpose is its reason for existing. While best embedded in reasonable goals, your purpose could be a culture-shaping or aspirational idea, such as solving an environmental problem or curing a disease. You need to know your brand’s purpose before defining your brand's mission.
Your brand vision represents the ultimate objective of your brand’s journey. It needs sufficient truth and emotional enticement to serve as a rallying call to inspire your target audience and other stakeholder groups to support your brand. Examples of some great vision statements include the following:
Microsoft: “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Google: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Airbnb: “To help create a world where you can belong anywhere.”
IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for many people.”
McDonald’s: "To be our customers' favorite place and a way to eat and drink.”
Essentially, a brand vision statement communicates the brand’s aspirations and long-term goals. It should inspire your stakeholders and be a guiding light for the brand’s future growth and success. A well-crafted brand vision statement should also be clear, concise, and easily understandable, aligning with the brand’s values and goals.
A brand mission statement is a short statement that answers how you plan to achieve your vision statement. For example, IKEA’s vision is to “create a better everyday life for many people.” But its mission statement is “to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” Although the statement starts with “to offer,” if you say instead, “by offering,” you can see how the mission statement is an answer to IKEA’s vision statement.
Brand values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide the behavior and decision-making of a brand. They should be easily identifiable, validated, and supported throughout your business but not generic. Your brand and the people behind it make it special because specific values are present. Ask yourself what yours are. For example, your brand and the people behind it could all naturally be innovative, and because they are, so is your brand. If this is the case, innovation is a true value for your brand. However, it’s never wise to claim values that aren’t naturally true to your brand, especially since people truly do value authenticity.
A brand promise is a statement that communicates the unique value that a brand offers to its target audience. It is a commitment that a brand makes to its audience about what they can expect from a brand.
A brand promise should be specific, relevant, and meaningful to a brand’s target audience and based on the brand’s core strengths and capabilities. It should also be aligned with the needs and desires of its target market.
For example, the brand promise of Volvo is “Safety.” This brand promise is based on the core value of safety that the brand has championed for many years. This promise communicates to customers that when they buy a Volvo, they can expect a high level of safety and reliability.
Another example is the brand promise of Nike “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” This promise is based on the brand’s core values of innovation and empowerment. It communicates to customers that when they purchase Nike products, they can expect the latest and greatest athletic gear that will help them achieve their goals.
A brand positioning statement is a concise statement that describes how a brand wants to be perceived in the minds of its target audience. It outlines the key benefits, unique selling points, and values that distinguish the brand from its competitors and communicates a clear, compelling message about what the brand stands for.
A typical brand positioning statement includes several key elements, such as the target customer or audience, the brand’s unique value proposition, the key benefits that the brand offers, and the brand’s personality or values.
For example, a brand positioning statement for a high-end fashion retailer might be:
“For discerning women who appreciate luxury and quality, our brand offers exquisite, handcrafted garments made from the finest materials. With a focus on timeless elegance and impeccable attention to detail, we provide our customers with an unparalleled shopping experience that reflects their impeccable taste and discerning style.”
A well-crafted brand positioning statement helps to guide all aspects of a brand’s communication and marketing efforts, ensuring that messaging and branding are consistent and aligned with the brand’s overall goals and objectives.
Your brand's value proposition is the value your audience will receive from the brand. It is one of the core tenants of your competitive advantage and should answer the question, why support your brand?
These are the human characteristics that a brand embodies, which help to create an emotional connection with its target audience, shaping the characteristics and tone of your brand. Assigning human attributes to your brand makes it easier for people to relate to it. These might consist of applicable human traits such as confidence, trustworthiness, friendliness, a sense of humor, modesty, etc.
Tone of Voice
Your brand’s tone of voice incorporates the characteristics and directives that shape how your brand’s messages are written and presented.
Example: If you’re aiming for an upmarket, highly-respected brand personality, a more formal tone of voice will be more suitable. However, if you want to connect with your audience more casually, then a “chattier” approach will serve you best.
Tone of voice works in conjunction with your brand personality. They don’t necessarily have to mirror each other, but they should work together.
For some examples of tone of voice, click here.
A brand story is typically a key component of a brand platform and is a narrative that tells the history and evolution of a brand, how it came to be, and what it stands for. It is an essential part of the brand platform because it helps to create an emotional connection between a brand and its customers. A brand story provides context for a brand’s values, beliefs, and personality and helps to create a compelling brand identity that resonates with its target audience.
In other words, a brand platform defines the broader strategic and messaging aspects of a brand and provides a clear and consistent framework for all brand communications. The brand platform also ensures that all marketing efforts are aligned with the brand’s overall strategy and objectives. It can also help to establish a strong and recognizable brand identity, build customer loyalty and trust, and differentiate a brand from competitors.
Keep Your Brand Platform Alive
Business environments are subject to change, and your brand platform may need to change, too. The frequency of updating brand messaging can depend on factors such as market trends, audience preferences, brand positioning, or business goals. However, in general, it is a good practice to review and update your brand messaging every year or every few years.
For instance, if your business is going through a major change, such as launching a new product, entering a new market, or rebranding, it may be necessary to update your brand messaging to reflect the new direction.
Another factor to consider is customer feedback. If you notice that your customers are not resonating with your brand messaging or if there is a shift in their preferences, it may be a good time to update your messaging to better meet their needs.
Ultimately, the frequency of updating your brand messaging will depend on your specific business and industry. It is important to regularly evaluate your brand messaging to ensure that it accurately reflects your business and resonates with your target audience.
Your Brand Platform: Final Thoughts
A brand platform should not be put together in a hurry. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to many months to create, depending on how complex your organization is and how much research you need to do. However, once you have your brand platform in place and using it to inform all your business decisions, you are on your way to building a brand with a greater chance of being supported, promoted, and evangelized.
A brand platform is also one of the two parts that make up a brand book. A brand book typically includes a brand platform and rules and specifications for visual brand elements. A brand book also provides various contexts and media to ensure consistency and cohesiveness in a brand’s visual identity.