Branding Inside Out

Branding Inside Out

The gap between strategy and identity is the central challenge most organizations face when defining and articulating the complexity of their brand with simplicity.

The importance of building the brand from the inside out tends to be overlooked. Often, when people talk about brand, they are referring only to the visuals, “what it looks like” (name, logo, website, packaging…). Confusing cause and effect, they restrict brand development solely to marketing efforts and thus restrict the effect it can have on the organization.

In fact, the areas that tend to have the greatest impact on an organization tend to have little or no visual presence. These intangibles center on focus and differentiation as the core drivers for the brand. Our “Brand Spectrum” (shown above) ensures that people both inside and outside the organization can understand and relate to the brand. It illustrates the relationship between:

  • Vision: What does the future look like?
  • Mission: How will the organization capitalize on that vision?
  • Position: What position must the brand occupy to fulfill its mission?
  • Articulation: How does the story need to be framed to take this position?
  • Implementation: Consistent delivery on the brand position at every point.

The questions above may be obvious, and that’s the point. They are fundamental questions that must be answered but are often overlooked by business leaders simply because they are so obvious. So organizations continue to divide strategy and identity, cutting meaning out of their brands and wondering why consumers cut these brands out of their lives.