The anatomy of a good brand
I was the youngest child growing up, which also meant being the shortest in our family of four. When we were out and about, I was at eye-level with most people’s bellybuttons; I constantly had to crick my neck to keep track of where we were going. That is, until I learned a handy trick: to follow my dad’s trademark blue jeans and boots.
In fact, I was so convinced that his signature look would keep me on course, I once blindly trailed behind the wrong pair of blue jeans and boots, attached to the wrong pair of legs, and found myself lost in the Glendale Galleria!
It was one of the more traumatic experiences of my young life… but little did I know at that age that I was learning a key lesson in branding: Your brand – whether it be of a person or a company – is a vital and valuable asset. And while brands can share components, if branding isn’t fully defined for an audience it can result in confusion (like a little girl following someone else’s dad around a shopping mall).
What is a brand?
Years later, I’ve now spent the majority of my adult life working to create, communicate, and manage brands. I often find myself in conversations trying to distill what a brand actually is, and (by extension) what it is not.
My dad is more than a pair of jeans and boots – and likewise, your brand is so much more than just a logo. It’s how your customer service representatives answer the phone. It’s how you lead team meetings or give constructive criticism. It’s the way you make clients feel at the end of the day, and how employees talk about their job to friends.
In short, it’s a living, breathing representation of your organization’s identity… and it’s supported by a complex ecosystem not unlike the anatomy of a person.
When executed well, your brand’s job is to create distinction and clarity in a busy marketplace…. but only if all the elements are working together. So what are the components that make up the anatomy of your brand, and how do you use them to differentiate your company from a competitor?
The anatomy of a brand
Mission / Soul:
We’ve said this before and we’ll likely say it again – your company mission is the soul of your brand. It is the truest representation of who you are, and the intangible embodiment of your organization’s core purpose. Your mission should be the unchanging constant throughout your business evolution, the “why” behind everything you do.
Vision / Brain:
Your company vision is the brain of your brand – the logical force that points every action toward a singular destination. A vision keeps you focused on the direction you’ve set for your company, helps to solve complex challenges, and acts as the guidepost that leads you down the right path.
Values / Heart:
If your mission is the intangible essence of your brand (the “why”), your core values are its corporeal, throbbing heart (the “how”). They are the manifestation of your brand every day – a beating drum that pulses through how your employees make decisions, interact with one another, and deliver on your promise to customers.
Remarkability / DNA:
Your remarkability is the DNA of your brand. It’s the key element of your organization that differentiates you from others in your industry. On the surface you may look similar, but your DNA makes you unique – allowing you to stand out in a sea of sameness.
Brand Story / Personality:
Your brand story is the personality of your brand. This is informed by years of experiences and connections that we curate into the story we put out into the world.
The brand story informs the voice and tone of a brand’s written content, as well as the tone of your workplace and customer interactions.
Brand Identity / Wardrobe:
Think of your brand identity as your wardrobe. These are the layers that you can customize to visually display your brand story. You can choose the level of embellishment through visual content, fonts, and even the colors that represent your brand.
Logo / Trademark Wardrobe Piece:
Your logo – like a favorite scarf – is the at-a-glance, quickly identifiable mark that tells your customers it’s you. Your logo is that hat you wear every day, your glasses, those plaid socks that you love so much – or in my dad’s case, blue jeans and boots.
Your brand is not one but all of these elements, working together constantly to form a cohesive whole. Which is why when a company undergoes a “rebrand” with Kinesis, it means much more than swapping out the logo on their homepage or printing brochures in a new color scheme… Marketing From the Inside Out® means thinking strategically and holistically about identity, brand, and purpose.
To learn more about our comprehensive approach to brand positioning, view our Case Studies.