What is a Brand Platform, and How Can it Help Your Brand Succeed?
When you're running a small business with just a few employees or contractors, keeping your marketing, messaging, and branding streamlined and cohesive isn't unmanageable. But once your business takes off, your team begins to grow, and your marketing strategy expands, maintaining your brand identity becomes nearly impossible without a strong brand platform guiding the way!
A brand platform is one document that collects all the elements of your brand in one easy-to-access place.
And it's essential for growing brands!
A detailed brand platform combines all the elements of your brand, including your...
- brand image
- positioning statement
- target audience research
- brand history
- visual identity
- brand values
...into one easy-to-access reference point. This brand document should be read and understood by everyone in your company because it's the foundation of your business!
You can create your brand platform on your own, based on your brand guidelines and other key company details. Or you can use a branding service to establish your brand platform.
At this point, it may seem like your brand platform is no different from the brand guidelines you've already created for your company. But these two documents differ in a few key ways.
Brand guidelines: Define how your brand's story is told, including your visual identity, values, and voice. This document also includes examples of how not to present your brand. It's best utilized by your in-house branding team.
Brand platform: This is your brand's story and strategy, told in a simple way that every member of your company can absorb and embody. It focuses on the "what" and "why," inspiring your team to reach your company's vision.
See the difference? A well defined brand platform provides value to every member of your company— from your marketing department and sales team, to your product development and frontline employees.
When everyone on your team is on the same page, aligned by a strong brand platform, your business can move forward exceptionally fast. It's a tool that keeps your core brand values front-and-center, streamlining your decisions and aligning your entire brand.
Your brand platform is as unique as your business. But most documents include— at a minimum— these four key elements. Here's how to include these particulars in your own brand platform:
Brand vision and mission. These are the unwavering values your brand commits to, no matter what. And they should be at the top of every team member's mind.
Brand personality. This section defines your tone of voice and how you engage with customers. It helps your brand feel like a real person your customers can relate to and connect with.
Brand positioning. This crucial section should define both your market position and your target audience. When your team understands how you fit in and who you're hoping to reach, they're better able to support that goal.
Key personas. Lastly, this section describes the ideal customers your brand hopes to reach. What do they value? What are their motivations and desires? How do they act? This section defines it all, so your team can reach more of your best customers.
So you've drafted your brand platform... now what? Use your defining document to build a brand that stands out!
Did you know it now takes 5-7 impressions before a potential customer recognizes your brand? That means your brand has to show up on multiple platforms, several times, with the same visual identity, just to be noticed!
Your brand platform not only tells your team what your business is all about, it helps keep your brand's positioning, brand voice, and message consistent throughout your marketing. And that consistency is exactly what builds stronger relationships with your customers.
Every company's brand platform will be different. But the top benefits that come from using this document effectively are the same: Aligning your team, improve your brand's positioning in your customers' minds, standing out in your competitive landscape, and clarifying your brand identity.
Ready to do all this (and more!) with your brand platform? Start with these three action steps:
Use your brand platform to evaluate your business decisions. Instead of basing your business decisions only on budget, timing, convenience, or instinct, bring your brand platform into the conversation. Remind yourself and your key stakeholders of your brand's vision, mission, and values. Refresh yourself on your target audience and their needs. Review your brand's messages. Then you're ready to make major decisions that prioritize your brand's values.
Plan new initiatives that align with your brand platform. Whether your company is looking for a community outreach opportunity or planning a new campaign, use your brand platform to guide the initiative. With your clear vision and brand promise in mind, you'll find initiatives that better align with what matters most to your company.
Present your brand platform when developing partnerships. Before you engage a new partner, make sure they're agreeable to your brand's core values. This can help protect your brand from a negative association— or one that distracts your target audience from your main mission.
It can be challenging to encourage your team to read, understand, and live out your brand platform. Even if your employees are on the same page, it may take time for them to grasp the vision and begin expressing it in their day-to-day activities.
These tips will help you familiarize your team and accelerate the adoption of your brand platform:
- Introduce your brand platform at a special event
- Use e-learning modules to share your company vision with your team
- Review your platform at every company event
- Incorporate your brand platform into the onboarding process for new employees
- Bring your brand platform into every major company discussion and decision
- Include elements of your brand platform in external communications
Your brand platform may not be adopted overnight, but with frequent reminders and easy access, you'll start to see this document reshape your business!
At ZeBrand, we understand creating your own brand platform can feel overwhelming. That's why our comprehensive Brand Guidelines Builder breaks the process down into simple, guided steps any entrepreneur or business owner can follow— no marketing experience needed!
If your business is already established, this brand guideline builder is still an immensely helpful tool to review your branding. Fill out the guided templates with your current company information. As you work through the steps, you'll start to notice your brand's key strengths— and areas of opportunity.
Because your brand platform is a combination of the dozens of elements that make your brand unique, it's best to create your brand guidelines first, then use those guidelines to develop your platform.
Remember, your set of brand guidelines is a comprehensive document that includes your:
- Brand strategy. Including your mission statement, vision statement, values, target market, and story.
- Visual identity. And your logo, typography, and color palette.
- Messaging. Plus your brand tone, brand personality, positioning, and tagline.
By filling out these key details first, you've got all the content you need to create a robust brand platform. But don't just take our word for it. Give our brand guideline builder a free try!
Our experienced team of coaches and full suite of user-friendly brand tools break complicated branding objectives down into simple, guided steps. With ZeBrand, anyone can build a successful brand. No design, branding, or marketing experience needed!