As the name suggests, a brand platform is the foundation upon which an enduring brand can be built. Just as with an engineering project, it is the solid base upon which an enduring structure can rise. And if you think of a platform in a train station, that’s where you begin your journey.
The branding platform takes into account the various factors that affect a brand. These factors may vary according to industry, product category(s), available supply chains, etc.. And of course, the platform will vary if you’re branding a company, a product, a service, an event or a destination. There is no generic brand platform. But for the most part, the “planks” of a brand platform are these:
· Company: Here we establish the internal aspects of the brand. Its vision, mission, core values, business model, personality, promise to stakeholders, corporate culture and heritage, and the basic brand story.
· Stakeholders: A statement of who these groups are, their relevance and importance in the brand picture. Define markets and market segments by the most important characteristics. Then identify suppliers, partners, employees, unions, investors, professional advisors and their roles in the success of the brands.
· Industry: A description of the industry’s infrastructure, practices, legal/legislative climate, technological trends, barriers to entry.
· Product category: Defines the specific business category in which you will compete, and defines a desired and unoccupied position in the collective mind of your most important stakeholders within that category. This is the positioning process.
· Competition: Identification and description of the positioning strategies and SWOT of the major players. Identifies niches in which competitors are most valued and least respected.
· Differentiators: Describe both strategic and tactical differentiators you plan to exploit, i.e., your value proposition, business model and practices, product/service attributes, product/service delivery, product/service messaging.
The brand platform should be built prior to the company becoming a “player”. But even companies with decades in the trenches can benefit from developing a brand platform. Existing companies have the advantage of knowing competition and markets already. And with limited research and lots of interactivity between marketing, sales, human resources, customer service and executive level participation, the brand platform can usually be completed in two-three months.
The following video suggests the way to begin developing the brand platform.
So why would you want to build a brand platform?
The brand platform allows management to consider the many elements that can influence, and finally delineate, a brand’s uniqueness, credibility, robustness and longevity. These elements will help establish a brand that is different from competitors, perceived to be of value in the marketplace, and provide a structure for consistent, cost effective messaging to all stakeholders. It also helps brand management make informed decisions, directs creative people to relevant solutions, and employees to represent the brand with all stakeholders.
It’s your guide to a consistent and powerful brand.