This helpful guide will teach you how to articulate your Brand Soul (e.g. purpose, vision, mission, and values) so that everything related to your brand is connected with the core beliefs at its foundation. Your Brand Soul direction impacts all aspects of what you do as a brand- from representing yourself in the world around you to how customers and employees are treated alike.
But before we dive any deeper, let’s explore why uncovering your Brand Soul is so important.
What Is a Brand?
People tend to think of a “brand” as merely a logo or physical symbol imprinted on something. But in reality, it is so much more than that. For people, a brand signifies an emotional experience that can be enhanced or weakened depending upon their interactions with that organization.
At its core, we define brand as what people think, say, and feel about your business – this is different from marketing which is what you say about your business.
The Secret to a Strong Brand
Constructing a solid brand requires providing customers with a positive and consistent emotional experience. The more you accomplish this, the more people rely on your products and services as well as trust in your business. That dependability is why we frequently keep returning to our beloved brands; it’s that familiar feeling which gives us immense satisfaction – from unboxing fresh Nikes or wearing slick Pit Vipers!
Cultivating an emotional connection is crucial for your brand’s survival in today’s world; it is the factor that motivates people to choose your brand instead of its competitors. How can you achieve this connection?
You cannot make people trust you. Their trust will depend on their perception and opinion about your brand’s fundamental characteristics.
- What you stand for: Your purpose, vision, mission, and values.
- How you communicate: Your voice, personality, messaging, etc.
- What your brand’s products, services, and content look like: Your logo, colors, fonts, etc.
While you may not be able to control others’ perceptions of you, you can present yourself consistently and authentically in every aspect. By doing so, others will better understand you and find it easier to trust you.
Unfortunately, this is exactly why so many businesses struggle. Their employees know how to sell their products or services, but don’t understand their brand identity or its purpose. As a result, they struggle to market their products genuinely or provide a consistent customer experience, leading to a subpar brand experience.
How can you avoid this and ensure that your beliefs and actions are aligned to create a cohesive brand experience? With a brand strategy.
What Is a Brand Strategy?
A brand strategy is a blueprint to help a business present itself to the world authentically and consistently. It’s comprised of three things:
- Brand Soul: The core of your brand (why you exist, what you do, how you do it).
- Brand Messaging: The way you talk about your brand.
- Visual Identity: The look of your brand.
Having a strong brand strategy can connect your brand with your business, create a meaningful relationship with your intended audience, and increase the likelihood that they’ll view, experience, and talk about your brand in the way you want.
If you have a business, you already have a brand. However, you can improve by intentionally identifying and documenting the elements of your brand. This ensures that everyone involved in your business understands who you are and what you aim to accomplish. With this understanding, you can communicate more honestly and authentically at every point of contact, which builds trust and helps your business succeed.
It is not uncommon for some brands to lack a proper brand strategy. While they may have some aspects of it documented or a vague notion of it, they haven’t created a comprehensive strategy yet. If you find yourself in this situation, there’s no need to worry. We can help you get started on the right track, whether it’s your first time developing a brand strategy or your first time doing it correctly.
This exercise will help you create your Brand Soul, which is an essential part of your brand strategy. By going through this process, you will be able to define and explain your identity, purpose, and significance. This will provide you with a clear plan to establish a strong brand.
Building a strong brand requires a plan, patience, and focus. It may not be an easy task but it is necessary. It’s like building Rome, it cannot be done in a day. If you are ready to take up the challenge, let’s begin.
What Is Your Brand Soul?
Every brand has a set of core beliefs called your Brand Soul that influence everything they do. It’s important to understand what these beliefs are and why they matter because they can either help or harm your business. The Brand Soul consists of four elements.
- Purpose: Why do you exist?
- Vision: What future do you want to help create? What does the future look like?
- Mission: What are you here to do? How do you create that future?
- Values: What principles guide your behavior? Here’s a big list to get the wheels turning.
The elements of a Brand Soul are intentionally ordered in a logical hierarchy to guide you from your high-level “why?” to the actionable “how?” This makes articulating each element easier.
Purpose & Vision
Combined, these elements give you the foundation you need to…
- Make better business decisions. Your Brand Soul serves as your guiding North Star when making tough business decisions. By prioritizing your values, you foster trust and accountability with your team, employees, and customers both current and prospective.
- Build stronger customer relationships. It is important to express your beliefs in a genuine and consistent manner as this can help you connect with individuals who share similar values. Building such relationships is especially vital for your lasting success when facing competition.
- Create a stronger, happier culture. Having a shared vision among employees leads to better collaboration, commitment, and engagement, resulting in a positive work environment that helps attract and retain talented individuals.
Your Brand Soul can greatly assist in aligning every aspect of your business, including product offerings and content creation. It’s important to remember that a strong Brand Soul leads to a more trustworthy brand.
How to Articulate Your Brand Soul in 6 Steps
We have developed a clear and easy-to-follow procedure to assist you in determining your Brand Soul based on our previous experiences. Upon completion, you will have a comprehensive description of your Brand Soul in terms that are easy for everyone to comprehend.
Note: You may already have a version of these elements documented, in which case the work of creating, retrofitting, or updating your thinking is about (re)creating and (re)articulating your intentions.
A few more things to keep in mind throughout this process:
- Tackle one element at a time. Please make sure to follow the established hierarchy. Begin by clearly stating an ambitious and inspiring purpose and vision that explains the reason for your existence. Next, examine how your mission aligns with your purpose and vision. Finally, determine how your values will support your mission and aid in its success. Note that if the future you aspire to create is also the reason for your existence, you may combine your vision and purpose statements.
- Keep it short. Write concise mission statements instead of long ones. Simplify each answer into a sentence or two.
- Schedule enough time. Scheduling time for stakeholders to participate in the process can be challenging at some organizations, but it is crucial for their investment. Allowing for more time results in better work, making buy-in easier when sharing the Brand Soul with the rest of the organization. The necessary time depends on variables such as business size, maturity, and stakeholder involvement, and may take days to months to complete.
It is crucial to remember that this work requires significant effort. Therefore, make sure that all members of your team can allocate the necessary time.
Step 1: Download your Brand Soul Workbook. (Included in the Brand Strategy Toolkit)
Start with our free workbook, included in our Brand Strategy Toolkit which includes a template and examples for each element.
Step 2: Assemble a core team of 3-5 stakeholders.
This is the crew that will discuss, identify, and documents each element of your Brand Soul.
Step 3: Have each stakeholder articulate their individual versions first.
With this approach, each person can work independently and give their full attention to the task. After completion, everyone will share their work with the rest of the group. You can use your own workbook, and we’ve included real-life examples from existing companies to help you understand what the elements should look like.
Step 4: Hold a group brainstorm.
Bring everyone together in a room to collectively review the submissions. This will enable healthy discussions and help identify common threads or themes that have been utilized. Through this process, the most effective versions tend to emerge naturally.
Step 5: Consolidate and iterate.
Your goal is to create a final articulation that is powerful and meaningful. Everyone should agree on both the messaging and the phrasing. Throughout the process, keep digging and asking questions like a child eager to understand why grass is green, or the sky is blue: Why? Why? Why?
Step 6: Share it with your entire organization.
After finishing your Brand Soul, it is recommended that you share it with everyone. It would be particularly significant if the company’s leadership presents it in a Town Hall meeting that includes all employees. By doing this, they can explain its purpose, answer any questions, and make sure that everyone comprehends and is motivated by the Brand’s Soul.
How to Use Your Brand Soul Once You’re Finished
Now that you have a fully articulated Brand Soul, you can use it to align your business and brand at every level. A few ways to get started:
- Make it accessible. Store your Brand Soul in an easily accessible location and document it in your brand strategy, along with your brand messaging and visual identity.
- Audit your current messaging. Once you have developed your Brand Soul, make sure to communicate it externally through your website and content marketing, in addition to sharing it internally first.
- Share it publicly. Raising a flag signifies that you are committed to being accountable and setting a standard. Although it can seem daunting, it is a significant act of goodwill towards both your staff and those who wish to endorse your brand.
- Look for opportunities to bring your Brand Soul to life. It’s possible that your company already has internal initiatives that match your Brand Soul, but it’s crucial to follow through with your beliefs whenever possible. This could mean promoting volunteer opportunities that match your vision or implementing employee programs that support your values. There are various ways to align your actions with your beliefs.
It’s important to understand that you cannot manipulate people’s opinions or emotions toward your brand. However, if you stay true to your Brand Soul, you can ensure that you are presenting your brand in the best way possible, and increase your chances of succeeding.
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