Google has made information universally accessible and we are beyond thankful for it! Nevertheless, this phenomenon has caused some negative consequences… Just think about it: if you were given the task to create a brand platform, how would you learn to get the job done right? Would you turn to brand consultants, universities, books, or Google? It’s most likely for you to go for the latter like many-many others!
There’s no shame in doing so. In this article, we will get you through the propaganda and show you how a brand platform is actually developed. For this, we will draw examples from our own experience of developing a brand strategy for Galileo Exchange – an innovative day-trading platform.
What Is a Brand Platform?
In a nutshell, a complete brand platform is all that makes your brand special, conveniently packed into one document. It is worth mentioning that brand development doesn’t start from contracting a brand platform. To get to the meat of it, you have to do a tone of market and audience research. A constructive analysis will grant you an understanding of what is really relevant, effective, and downright forbidden within your niche.
A brand platform is not a triangle, a wheel, a key, an onion, or whatever… It’s simply a coherent, relevant system of attributes that complete your business identity.
No, you don’t have to develop a brand pyramid
A successful brand platform will fill your communication and even products with meaning and character that distinguish your brand amongst others. Although, it is sometimes tricky to succeed. Many marketers fall for articles with good SEO and bad examples. Such examples limit brand platforms to a variety of strictly situational corporate practices. Don’t rush to develop “a brand wheel”, “a brand pyramid” or any other kind of similar nonsense. Such models might not fit your particular case, they are not universal, but rather specific to particular clients.
Brand Components: The A’s, B’s, and C’s of Branding
You might use a preferred brand platform model or create an entirely new one later on, but we suggest starting with a simple set of brand components:
- Functional Advantage
- Emotional Advantage
- Brand Purpose
- Brand Essence
- Brand Character
Let’s not waste any more time and dig into these brand platform essentials!
Reason To Believe
Before embarking on your brand development journey, you would need to distinguish the bare bones of what your brand can offer to its client. Put yourself in the shoes of your client and distill your service or product to the most catchy and interesting features. Everything else that would be developed later on has to be directly derived from these Reasons To Believe. Without a reason to believe, you would basically develop a bunch of false promises that would only frustrate and even enrage your clients later on.
For example, while developing a brand strategy for Galileo Exchange, we located a couple of RTB’s. Two of which were highly volatile price action and a commission-free trading experience. This is unique enough to set the tone for the rest of the brand platform.
Some products may not have an obvious RTB statement. For example, what would be so special about a bottled water brand? There’s almost no difference between one and another. There are a lot of oversaturated markets these days. Competition makes it hard or downright impossible to be different at a base level. Given this, you should be mindful of the fact that your RTB’s may be nothing special and consider developing a Brand Promise as a build-on of the brand platform. That would be the easy way out.
The most effective and exorbitant solution would be to invest heavily in R&D and trend-watching in order to spot a free seat on the hype train before your competition does.
A special product or service feature becomes pointless if it has no practical use. Established RTB’s have to bring some functional advantages to clients in order to be relevant. Let’s go back to the Galileo Exchange example. The two RTB’s that we’ve highlighted in this article have two different functional advantages:
- Highly volatile price action creates an environment full of profit opportunities, where traders measure gains in the thousands of percentage points.
- Commission-free trading is almost alien to the financial market. It goes along with the high-speed price action as all of the significant profits will fully belong to the user.
If you can’t develop a functional advantage, you should reconsider your selected RTB’s. There might be no functionality to them. Don’t go for a politician-like brand!
Speaking of politicians, feelings and emotions mean a whole lot when it comes to branding. That is why you should determine the emotional impact of your RTB. Try to answer the question of how would your client feel while using your product or service? This information will be especially useful for the art director and the designer crew. An emotional load heavily influences any kind of communication, especially visual types.
In the case of Galileo Exchange, the emphasis was on adrenaline, excitement, and engaging fun, as well as the altruistic and humane attitude towards the users. It perfectly inlines with both RTB’s and their Functional Advantages.
Key Brand Equity Components
By establishing the ground base of your brand: the RTB’s, Functional Advantage, and the Emotional Advantage, you set the stage for the creation of the actual brand equity. The three previously mentioned brand components serve as a skeleton for the following development. This skeleton should gain muscles (brand purpose), a look (brand character), and, of course, a heart (brand essence)!
A brand purpose seems like a must-have component given the preferences of modern society. According to the Aflac report on Corporate Social Responsibility, 77% of consumers are more willing to purchase a company’s products or services if the company demonstrates a commitment to addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. This should serve as a legitimate reason to fill the brand communication with reasons that actually concern the customer. The Brand Purpose is a concept of your brand, the reason behind its existence.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t limit yourself to social, economic, or environmental issues. Find out what really bothers your customers and try to solve their problem.
Going back to the Galileo Exchange example, the mission was more of a socio-economic nature. We have noticed the obvious fear of the risk and boring, over-sophisticated trading interfaces. That is why we’ve created the following mission statement:
“To aid the world with the most active and fair exchange”
Brand Essence is literally the answer to the Brand Purpose. In a way, it should really capture the soul of a brand, the very thing that drives its purpose. It has to be plain and simple but yet extremely relative and to the point.
Galileo Exchange’s brand essence was “Trader’s Paradise”. It captures the exclusivity of the product features and their user-centered nature.
Having a Brand Character comes especially in handy to create a Brand Tone for social media communication later on. A quality brand character has to masterfully describe the role of a brand in the customer’s life. For example, Galileo Exchange has the role of an “ETO – Engaging Trading Officer”.
While developing a brand character, keep in mind that it is absolutely NOT required to limit oneself with character archetypes. No professional brand strategist actually uses those in their working process. It is a web hoax.
Form your Brand Purpose, Essence, and Character in the most simple and universally understandable way possible. In the case of a creative approach to the idea wording, the statements might be perceived subjectively. Your task is to create word combinations that will always mean what you’ve intended, regardless of whoever reads them.
Brand Promise – The Answer to Generic Products
We won’t use a Galileo Exchange example in this block. Considering the fact that GE has but one unique product feature, its brand simply doesn’t need a Brand Promise.
As mentioned above, a Brand Promise is essential when it comes to dealing with completely generic products on an oversaturated market. For example, take a look at the soda market. How different could one soft drink really be from another? A brand promise creates that difference by overselling a product by loading it with additional emotional value.
Coca-Cola’s Brand Promise is “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.”
Does sugary water really inspire? No, but by successfully communicating this message enough, coke transforms into something much greater than just a drink.
But don’t rush to develop a Brand Promise. It is extremely dangerous for brands to have their fake promises being unveiled. It’s better to avoid using this method without a clear need for it.
Practice Your Newly Learned Skills in Our Brand Platform Template
We really hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the right way to create a brand platform. Start practicing your newly acquired branding skills on our custom Brand Platform template! We’ve distilled the entire article into a short table for the starting out brand strategist’s convenience. Subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss out on legitimate branding and marketing insights.