Strategic Insights: Branding part 3

By now you’re aware that branding strategies are distinct from marketing strategies, even thought they are closely related (and as designers, I know you are aware of how visual identity is different from brand). Last week I reviewed at a high level how to build a coherent brand platform, but how do you even get to the point of being able to build the platform? It starts by looking to your organizations vision statement, of course. This is where branding really taps into existing marketing strategies, and it’s how your design work relates to the overall corporate strategy.

Building a brand from a vision

A good marketing plan starts with a mission and vision statement. The mission of a company is often shared publicly (you can find it on most company websites), while the vision is often shared only internally. Together, these statements help drive decisions related to product/service offerings.

Starting with a well-defined vision clarifies the organization’s unique and intrinsic value. Which is helpful in developing a position and value proposition in the marketing place (getting back to marketing strategy there for a moment).

Put very simply, vision is where you want to be in the future. Your brand however is the external expression of your company’s unique value, driven by the vision. Below illustrates how the strategic elements in a vision, are translated into the brand.

You can see how closely related marketing and branding efforts are based just on the importance of expressing internal drivers into that idea of who your brand is. As designers it is as vitally important that we understand who our brand is, as it is to understand the visual identity systems that identify products or services.

But it’s when you start using them together that you will bring strategic value as a creative solutions partner to your company.