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Building Beautiful Brands



  • Jennifer Holm

Why You over Your Competitors?

Building the Key Elements That Define Your Brand

Having a small business is about more than the products and services you offer. Every action and reaction your company makes help to shape your brand. The co-founder of Intuit, Scott Cook, defined a brand not as what a company tells its consumers it is, but rather, what consumers tell each other it is. A brand is the emotional and mental feeling that people have when they interact with your business.

You know McDonald’s by the Golden Arches, Nike by the swoosh and Twitter by the little blue bird. Having a recognizable logo increases the probability of a customer remembering your business. However, a brand is more than just your logo, colors, and website. There are many aspects that go into building the story that consumers tell each other. So, what else contributes to your brand identity?

The Corporate Brand Identity Matrix

Mats Urde, Associate Professor at Lund University, and Stephen Greyser, Professor at Harvard Business School, have developed the “Corporate Brand Identity Matrix” framework (“Figure 1”) that helps companies break down their identity into three layers. And, within those layers, are nine critical elements:

Foundation - Internally Focused Elements:

There are three components that act as the foundation of a company’s brand identity: the vision and mission which inspire and engage the organization’s members, the corporate culture of its people, and the core competencies and distinctive capabilities that the company brings to the table.

Google, known for having an incredible corporate culture, is an excellent example of a company that understands the power of these internal branding elements. They ensures that employees not only understand the brand but that they can apply it to decision-making processes. By applying these principles, they have developed a culture where employees are engaged with the brand and “live” the mission and vision of the company everyday.

Top - Externally Focused Elements:

The elements on the top of the matrix focus on how a company desires that its brand is seen by both customers and stakeholders. Through business relationships, brand positioning, and communication of its value proposition, a company can work towards developing a reputation that it wants to be known for.

Lyft is a company that implements a highly effective approach to their external branding. The company targets two distinct personas at the same time. Each with its own clear and concise value proposition: "Rides in minutes" (the riders) and "Take the wheel" (the drivers). This has enabled them to establish solid relationships with both riders and drivers by communicating their position in the market.

Center - Bridging Elements:

The middle layer of the matrix is where the “brand’s personality” shines. Through the way a company expresses itself, the values ingrained in its core, and the characteristics that define its personality, the corporate brand identity becomes coherent.

Nike's iconic "Just Do It" slogan helped the brand spread from the fitness world to becoming a household name. The mantra clearly expresses the brand's personality in a way that resonates with just about everyone. It’s actionable and communicates performance, resilience, steadfastness, character, and endurance.

In Conclusion

By combining both internal and external elements, you can establish what your company stands for and its underling promise to customers – otherwise known as your “brand core”. The BoBella team uses several tools and workshops to help you work through each of the elements above and uncover your corporate identity.

Let us help you differentiate your company from the crowd so that you can flawlessly answer the question: : Why you over your competitors?


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