Brand marketing Minidegree notes

Community member @violet.maftei created course notes for the Branding course from the Brand marketing MD.

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Brand DNA: The foundation for creating iconic brands

  • Your brand is not your logo
  • Your brand = The experience through your organization or product/service or an individual experience.
  • Consumers have a big impact on a brand. Do not ignore them

-The brain is wired to reject any form of change. A great brand can give people a sense of security. So a brand creates clarity in the mind of the consumer.
-A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.

  • The 6 elements to building an effective Brand DNA :
  1. Vision
  2. Purpose
  3. Values
  4. Personality
  5. Position
  6. Products and benefits
  • The formula for creating an iconic brand (the DAC system) : distinguish, attract and convert.
  1. Distinguish = Strategy (position)
  2. Attract = Identity (present yourself)
  3. Convert = Growth (continuous marketing, digital, and sales activities)

Brand soul: The importance of brand purpose, vision and mission

Find the soul of a brand, or the foundation needed to:

  • Develop a brand that connects emotionally
  • Attracts and retains customers and stakeholders (employees, customers, prospects, and the press)
  1. Understand the difference between purpose, vision, and mission
  • Brand purpose = your impact on the world.
  • Brand vision = your drive .
  • Brand mission = the actions you need to take every day to fulfill that vision and purpose.
  1. Define your brand purpose (creates a very strong, emotional connection to your brand):
  • Why did you start your business? What is your purpose? What do you believe in?
  • What impact do you want to make in the world that goes beyond what your business does?
  • What is a problem you want your business to solve? How can your business uniquely combat this problem?
  • What issues are important to your target audience? The better you understand your target audience - > the better you understand how to impact them - > the more likely you are to find a purpose that makes sense for your business.
  • This is your purpose, stick to it, align with it, and communicate about it regularly.
  1. Define your brand vision (so all your employees understand they are working with you for a bigger picture):
  • Where are you heading? Where do you want to be in the next 5 or 10 years? ( go national, be known in a specific sector)
  • A vision is what your organization is striving for, an ambition to achieve.
  • A vision sets the overall direction of your organization.
  1. Define your brand mission:
  • How will you achieve your goal? What are the actions you need to take?
  • A great mission statement establishes your organization’s purpose and raison d’être.

Brand positioning: Distinguish your business in a competitive market.

  1. Build a strong positioning with relevance to engage your audience and stand out from the competition.
  • Positioning = how you want to be perceived in your customer’s mind, ex. luxury, affordable, innovative, traditional, etc.
  • You can’t use for positioning what people expect from you as a brand: the fact that you have a great service and a great product.
  • You need to find your brand relevance: only differentiate your brand with attributes that your prospects value.
  • If your brand was a person, what would it look like?
  • Everything about your brand, even the way your employees dress, will define how you present your positioning. All the touching points of your brand need to align with your positioning.
  • Ways you can differentiate yourself:
  1. Price (avoid it unless you are a multinational company)

  2. Product innovation

  3. Brand experience

  4. Expertise

  5. Values and purpose

  6. Technology innovation

  7. Find the sweet spot of what your unique, strong selling points should be. This is the thin line where you need to sit, and it has to be of value, and relevant for your customers.

  • Your sweet spot is between:
  1. What your clients expect from you.
  • The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.
  • You need to speak to your customers to find exactly what they want and value. Sometimes what they value is not always what they articulate. It’s in your ability to research to find this out.
  • Value positioning has three layers:
  1. Rational (functional) benefits

  2. Emotional benefits

  3. Self-expressive, status benefits

  4. What you do that your competitors do not do .

  • Find positioning opportunities in:
  1. Complaints
  2. Issues
  3. Changes
  4. Clients reviews
  5. Innovation
  6. Regulatory change
  7. Innovation in technology
  8. New systems
  9. Transferable knowledge to new markets or new clients
  10. Product enhancements
  11. Innovative businesses you can replicate in your country

Brand positioning exercise:

  1. What do you do? List your services.
  2. Who do you serve?
  3. What do they value?
  4. What do your clients/prospects expect you to do for them?
  5. Why/how are your services different from the competition?
  6. How does your industry deliver the products/services you offer?
  7. Is there an issue with the industry?
  8. What has happened in your market?
  9. What hidden opportunities can you find?
  10. How do you currently carry out your services or product delivery?
  11. Where can you add to the industry?
  12. What experience do you want to create in the mind of your clients?
  13. How do/can you create this experience?
  14. What do you see as an advantage to this approach?

Position statement

Our company serves (W audience) by providing (X products, services, or expertise.) We are unique because we have (Y unique values) so they can have (Z benefits.)

Brand messaging: Create an engaging brand narrative and experience

Messaging = the essence of your company culture, how you will sound, and how you want to be.

  • Think about the target you want to attract
  • Your brand story should always align with your brand purpose to connect the heart and minds of your stakeholders
  • Brand messaging should be:
  1. Authentic
  2. Shared
  3. Held
  4. Applied
  • Core elements of the brand messaging story:
  1. Brand core values = your culture
  2. Brand voice = you’re tone
  3. Brand visual association = your attributes

1. Brand core values

  • What are the things that you would not compromise?
  • Qualities and virtues that you care most deeply about
  • =How you’re going to communicate internally and externally
  • =How you’re going to attract better employees, customers, and other stakeholders
  • Avoid talking about values that are a “given”: honesty, reliability, integrity, or respect
  • Distinctive values:
  1. Maximizing service vs Minimizing price
  2. Focusing on tradition vs Focusing on the future
  3. Concerned with privacy vs Promoting sharing
  4. Empowering the individual vs Empowering communities

2. Brand voice

  • The voice that you want to use for all your communication, internally and externally
  • Tones of voice you can adopt in the content you write:
  1. Serious
  2. Practical
  3. Contemporary
  4. Humorous
  5. Passionate
  6. Warm
  7. Inspirational
  8. Formal
  9. Informal
  10. Concise
  11. Calm
  12. Traditional
  13. Punchy
  14. Flowing
  15. Cheeky

3. Brand visual association

  • Attributes you want to associate with your brand:
  1. Affordable
  2. Comfortable
  3. Successful
  4. Wealthy
  5. B2B oriented
  6. Youth
  7. Creativity
  8. Happiness
  • Storytelling:
  1. Your way into your audience’s heart and mind
  2. How you felt and want people to feel
  3. Good stories are universal
  4. Your story needs to be framed inclusively
  5. It has to be something your audience identifies with
  • Write your story:
  1. Think about the reason why your company came to be
  2. What motivates you to wake up and come to work every day?
  3. How your products/service came to be
  4. What type of customers find value in working with your brand and why?

Brand identity: How to align with brand positioning to develop a brand

Your brand identity needs to always align with your brand strategy :

  1. Who is your audience? (baby boomers, millennials)
  2. What emotion do you want your brand design to evoke? (safe, happy, approachable, wealthy, techie, environmentalist)
  3. What is your brand positioning? (luxury, discount)
  4. What is your business scope? (local, international)

Conceptualize a memorable and attractive brand logo

  • A logo is important for brand recognition
  • Choose a font and color that align with your brand strategy and appeals to your target audience

Different type of logos:

  1. Font only (top brands such as Visa, Microsoft, eBay or Braun)
  2. Handwritten (Kellogg’s, Disney, Lee)
  3. Font with a meaning (Pirelli, FedEx)
  4. Initials (cK, CNN, hp)
  5. Fonts in shape (BLOCKBUSTER, MARTINI, Fisher Price)
  6. Abstract graphic (Pepsi)
  7. Silhouette (Camel, Puma)
  8. Geometric symbol (Shell)
  9. Illustrated symbol (Wella)
  10. Detailed illustration
  11. Seals and crest (Mini cooper)
  12. Mascot (Michelin)

How to choose your logo:

  • Look at the type of logos that work in your industry
  • Don’t be exactly the same, but don’t try to be too different, just find a way to differentiate yourself
  • When creating a new brand: do a combination of font with symbol, and as your brand grows, your logo or your font can disappear
  • If you just have a symbol, it makes it really hard for your brand to be recognized

The psychology behind fonts and colors:

  • The shape of fonts has impact on your emotion
  • We make a decision about how we feel about a brand within seven seconds based on colur alone
  • Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%
  • A color can have a different impact depending on the tone, or the shade

Colors and their meaning:

  1. Red: energy, war, danger, power, determination, passion, desire, courage
  2. Yellow: sunshine, joy, happiness, intellect, energy, honor, loyalty, associated with food as well
  3. Green: environmentalism, health, veganism, growth, harmony, freshness, fertility, stability, endurance
  4. Blue: sky, sea, depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, even heaven, sincerity. Popular with traditional brands, brands in finance as well
  5. White: light, goodness, innocence, purity, trust, faith, coolness, cleanness. Used in advertising
  6. Black: elegance, formality, mystery. Popular in the luxury sector because it never gets out of fashion
  7. Purple: wealth, royalty, novelty, luxury, power, ambition,wisdom, independence, creativity, mystery
  8. Orange: happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, stimulation. Often associated with discount
  9. Grey: cool, neutral, dullness, dirty. If you want to play safe choose grey

How to choose your brand color:

  1. Pick colors that align with the emotions and values you want to communicate
  2. Pick the most important attribute of your brand
  3. Think about how bold or reserved you want your brand to be
  • If you want your brand to be bold, choose as dominant strong colors
  • If you want your brand to be more reserved, choose as dominant subtle neutral colors
  1. Choose a combination of three colors or less
  • Traditional or established company:
  1. Typography: classic (Times, Helvetica)
  2. Colours: conservative, rich hues
  3. Copywriting voice: formal
  4. Don’t rebrand very often
  • Modern and high energy brand:
  1. Typography: modern
  2. Colours: vivid and trendy
  3. Copywriting voice: friendly and approachable
  4. Rebrands often

Go Beyond approach: Create a community of loyal clients and expand the lifetime value of each client

Why the Go beyond approach?

  • Providing something better and convenience make you remarkable.
  • If you use your existing customers to grow your tribe, you will grow much faster and in a much more effective way
  • Improves the lifetime value of your clients
  • Makes them stay for longer
  • Minimizes your marketing budget
  • Reduces the cost of acquisition of each single prospect

The Go beyond approach:

  1. Go Beyond the expected
  • Your clients don’t choose to buy from you because of what you do but because of the things that you do that they don’t expect from you.
  • What are the things that you do that your clients don’t expect you to do?
  • Keep clients interested
  • Keep adding value
  • Clients will be loyal and become your brand advocates
  1. Go beyond to support clients ultimate goals
  • What are their ultimate goals? What benefits do your clients expect from you?
  • When somebody chooses to buy from you, they have a bigger purpose behind the action, ex. fit in a tribe
  • Understanding their ultimate goals is key to adding services relevant to them
  • Innovation must be part of your company culture to keep your customers engaged

“So what” exercise:

  • What are your clients ultimate goals?
  • Ask yourself “so what” until you can no longer say “so what”
  • What can you do beyond your core products and services to help clients fulfill their ultimate goals?

Apply the go beyond approach differently depending on your brand journey and the phases of the customer journey:

  1. When you launch/Creative discovery phase > Build awareness and understanding > Provide facts and value, educate, be an expert in your field
  2. When you scale/Customer service excellence > When they’re a client > Caring and commitment to support their needs, define success metrics, deliver beyond
  3. When you expand/Partnership and innovation > Bonding, advocacy, involving people, success stories, reward and recognition

:point_right:Logo is super important for brand recognition.
:point_right:Choose the right logo- right font, right colors for amassive impact.
:star_struck:Brand strategy needs to always align with your brand identity.
:star_struck:Choose a font and color that align with your brand strategy and appeals to your target audience.


Thanks @ognjenkasukalo for the input here.

@tania Which branding course was this one link to? I was wondering if @ognjenkasukalo took the same course

Updated - This course is from the Brand marketing MD :slight_smile:

Thank you for the contribution @ognjenkasukalo. Did you take Brand marketing MD as well? Or a specific course from it? We’d love to know. :beers:

Hello :blush: I took Branding course from Flavilla Fongang.


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That’s great! Thank you :raised_hands:


Thank you for sharing. :slight_smile:

And congrats, @violet.maftei. Excited to see the response from the community.

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I just read an interesting LinkedIn post on brand voice and AI writing and I’ll leave it here
The forgotten art of brand voice