Developing strategies for brands is an intricate discipline and a complex process. What if there is a formula that can help you better understand this complex concept?
Well there is, at least for our firm, we developed on overarching guide for how we approach brand strategy.
The formula: S= P (A + VPS + USP) + BP (A+N)
I know this looks algebraic but I’ll run you through with it.
Let me define the variables first so we can have the context right.
S stands for Strategy.
P is Positioning while the first A is for audience.
VPS means Value Proposition Statement and USP is Unique Selling Proposition.
BP stands for Brand Personality and the second A is Archetype while N is narrative.
This Brand Strategy formula has two components – the first one finds the answer for the Positioning while the second part finds the answer for Brand Personality.
The Positioning Component
Positioning is a term that represents how a brand establishes a stake within the minds of its target consumers. With that being said, the first consideration in identifying your position is understanding your audience.
Having a focus on the audience will allow you to be clear in terms of how you want to be perceived by the market that you are serving. And so P (A).
Looking at your target audience, you need to be able to figure out what is the main value that your brand is offering. This is a function of the Value Proposition Statement or your concise claim of value that your product or service has. This leads us to P (A + VPS).
With your Value Proposition in place, the next thing that you need to look at is how does this fare against the competition. This is the purpose of your Unique Selling Proposition or identifying the “onlyness” of your brand.
This completes the first frame of the formula i.e. P (A + VPS + USP).
In a nutshell, the Positioning in a Brand Strategy is a result of understanding your audience, pinning down the value that you are proposing to the market, and how unique your offering is relative to the competition.
The Brand Personality Component
Brand Personality is humanizing your brand by integrating characteristics, voice, and story into your product or service.
In our formula, this is represented as BP (A + N).
The A here means Archetype or the generally accepted types of personalities that can be attributed to brands. There are several archetypal mix, which I’d skip for now but some examples of Brand Archetypes would be a magician, a leader, an outlaw, or an authority.
So BP (A) is a representation of how you dissect a brand to assess the personality that fits it through the mix of its applicable archetypes.
The next variable for this is N or the Narrative. The story that you tell about your brand must be in alignment with the voice, the character, and the approach that fits your brand archetype.
The reason this is a connecting formula from the first component is that the audience must still be influential on how you build the personality and narrative of your brand because your audience needs to be able to resonate with it.
In essence, Brand Personality can be pinned down by figuring out what is the archetypal mix of your brand, which should guide how your brand narrative must be told based on your audience.
This formula explains that Brand Strategy is mainly a combination of the Positioning and the Brand Personality of your business.
On one hand, Positioning is a function of understanding your audience, providing them with value, and differentiating your brand against the competition.
On the other hand, Brand Personality is an outcome of your brand’s archetype and the narrative behind it.
The formula: S= P (A + VPS + USP) + BP (A+N).
Leonard is the founder and CEO of The Vineyard, a brand development company that looks at branding as a discipline for perception management and emotional registry. Follow him at LinkedIn and Instagram @leonardgrape for more of his thoughts on branding