Our experience teaching brand strategy and working with brand strategy clients tells us the answer to form a consistent brand image is to integrate much of the work into a coherent framework, grounded in common principles, terms and frameworks. The work begins with understanding the necessity of Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning.
Some elements of a brand are relatively constant while others need to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. As a result, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning are all essential components of a comprehensive brand platform. Of the three components, the most constant is the Value Proposition. A Value Proposition articulates what is most enduring about a brand, its enduring benefit across all audiences. The statement speaks to higher outcomes and results the brand aspires to deliver in the future. Value Proposition is the brand’s North Star that guides everything in the product development roadmap.
Positioning is the most adaptable of the three elements. The concept of Positioning is perhaps the best understood element as well, as it specifies the target, frame of reference and key benefit. Positioning defines the alternatives available to customers and the context in which the brand competes.
A powerful Positioning enables consistent, short-term communications, but is limited to just one or two ideas. Value Proposition does not speak to a higher order purpose or explain how a brand will connect emotionally with the values, culture and needs of its audience, both internal and external. The Brand Identity fills in these missing pieces. Brand Identity is more enduring than Positioning, and more adaptable and multi-faceted than Value Proposition. It defines how marketers desire customers and others to view the brand in the foreseeable future.
Together, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning provide a complete brand platform that can serve as a roadmap for brand development over a 3-5 year period. When combined with clear business objectives, a careful brand audit, and a profound understanding of the target, these tools provide a powerful guide for brand development.
The Brand Insider