Brand Strategy Canvas
A one-page brand strategy tool that helps you develop a structured, tangible and relevant Brand Positioning Statement, Brand Essence and Brand Personality for your business and connect these with your company values and key messaging for your brand.
Why we like it
It lets you capture your brand story succinctly on a single page, which can be readily shared internally so all team members are using the same information to describe, promote and measure the brand.
How to use it
The Brand Strategy Canvas is great for getting creative with. Print it out on A1 or A2 and use sticky notes to capture your ideas, or sketch out your thoughts freehand - whatever works best for your team. You can also use the Google Slides template to do the same on a big screen.
STEP BY STEP
1. CUSTOMER / USER INSIGHT
Your brand strategy should always start with your customer. If you already have a persona/s defined, use these uncover the most important insights about your customers.
What do people think and feel regarding the category you're in?
How are you relevant to those needs or desires?
What problem(s) do you solve for them?
What benefits of your company/product are most valuable to them?
What most strongly influences their decisions in this category?
2. COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
Next address the competitive environment in your market.
What concepts and conventions define the category?
Consider your direct and indirect competitors - what defines them?
Where is there a strategic void in the market?
Are you disrupting the category in any way?
3. COMPANY / PRODUCT FEATURES
Describe your company, your products/services and what they do for your customers in the simplest terms possible. What aspects of this are different from everyone else?
4. RATIONAL BENEFITS
What are the tangible benefits of your products and services? The functional, visible difference made in your customer's life. Which benefit is unique or most important to the customer?
5. EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
What are the intangible benefits of your products and services? The emotional and social difference made in your customer's life. Which benefit is unique or most important to the customer?
6. BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT
Now that you've captured the building blocks on the left of the canvas, it's time to use these to develop the Brand Positioning Statement for your business.
There are five sections to define - audience, description, benefit, proof and payoff. These should come together to form a sentence that becomes your brand positioning statement.
Use the numbered circles (A through E) to draw on relevant information from the building blocks on the left.
The key to a great brand positioning statement is that it must meet all of the following five criteria:
Describe in a few words who it is you exist for and what their most important psychographic need or desire is, as it relates to the brand’s category?
What is the simplest description of the product? Or what is the broader, more strategic frame of reference for your company, offering?
What is the unique, primary benefit or point of difference of the product?
What are the factual, meaningful and provable reasons to believe the primary benefit or point of difference?
What is the ultimate emotional payoff for the customer or user? Does it answer the need in the audience section (A)?
Take a step back and review the relationship between the building blocks on the left and their corresponding blocks in the brand positioning statement. Is there strong alignment between each?
Does your brand positioning statement form a complete sentence that flows? If it is a bit clunky, try refining it further. Less is more.
Once you're happy, more onto the next section.
13. BRAND ESSENCE
The brand essence is a short catchy summary of the brand positioning statement - the essence of who you are, why you exist.
Consider what the core idea or defining concept of the brand is. Is it tangible or attitudinal? The brand essence should be unique, succinct,
pithy, and ideally 2-4 words long.
It doesn't have to be your slogan for external customers (though it can be) so don't get hung up on it sounding right for that purpose. Rather it should be primarily for internal use, as a guide to shape all brand strategy decisions.
14. COMPANY VALUES
Once you've got your Brand Essence done, it's a good time to review your company values, brand personality and key messages. These elements need to be aligned if you are to effectively implement your brand strategy. Use the following questions to capture what values are most important or to review your existing values.
What are the values of the company - usually expressed as nouns?
How do the values of the founders influence company values?
How do company values influence your product, culture, or customers?
15. BRAND PERSONALITY
What are the brand’s human characteristics - usually expressed as adjectives? What do you want customers to feel when they see, hear and engage with the brand? How does the brand personality connect with the emotional benefits you described in section “E"?
16. KEY MESSAGES
What’s your story? What are the most important and differentiating aspects of the brand? How can you define them as quickly and interestingly as possible? Remember to keep this at the brand/company level - you will have more specific key messaging at the individual product and service level.
Does your Brand Positioning Statement create a fluid sentence that can make sense to anyone within the company?
Is your Brand Essence short and punchy?
Are your key messages relevant to your brand and readily implementable in your marketing content?
Use the Progress Board to test and validate any assumptions.
Go out of the building to talk to current and potential customers. Does what they say resonate with your brand positioning statement and brand essence or do you need to update it?
Use the Brand Strategy Canvas in conjunction with the 5 Bold Steps Vision Canvas to shape a clear future direction for your company and actionable steps to achieve your vision.
Put your key messaging to use with the Storytelling Canvas.