Brand brief: how to write one & get great results

What is a brand brief?

What should a brand brief include?

  1. The business, your objectives and goals
  2. Your vision statement
  3. Your mission statement
  4. Your target audience
  5. Competitor analysis
  6. Aspirational brands
  7. Your brand’s promise: what do your customers deserve?
  8. Your brand’s proposition: how are you unique?
  9. Your brand’s premise: what’s your brand’s story?
  10. Your brand’s persona: what archetype character is your brand?
  11. Tone of voice
  12. Project specifications

1. The business, your objectives and your goals

  • Acquiring or merging with another company
  • Changing markets, products or core proposition
  • Having an outdated image
  • New leadership changing the company’s direction
  • Poor reputation
  • Rapid growth or expansion
  • Increase sales by 20%
  • Become the leading brand in your sector
  • Or gain a regular flow of new clients

2. Your vision statement

3. Your mission statement

  • In what ways does your brand add value to its audience?
  • What is the larger impact you want to achieve by offering this help?
  • Are these goals attainable and realistic?
  • Can the brand embody this mission in every aspect of the organisation?
  • 4 times more likely to purchase from the company
  • 6 times more likely to defend the company in the event of a misstep or public criticism
  • 4.5 times more likely to champion the company and recommend it to friends and family
  • 4.1 times more likely to trust the company

4. Your target audience

  1. Try and describe your ideal customer
  2. Go deeper into demographics, e.g. age, income, education and employment
  3. What are their interests and some of the brands they’re likely to follow?
  4. Identify their different needs and pain points
  5. Briefly describe where they’re likely to find you, e.g. Google, Instagram, etc.

5. Competitor analysis — when they zig, you zag.

  1. List and describe your main competitors — these could be a mix of actual threats and more aspirational brands. What do you like/dislike about them?
  2. Highlight their unique value proposition (UVP) — what makes them stand out from the crowd? Do they communicate this succinctly?
  3. Identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities — some may be more competitive on price, whilst others have a broader product offering.
  4. Content analysis — take a deep dive into their creative assets. What’s the tone like on their blog? What social channels are they on and do they have a consistent style across their campaigns?

6. Aspirational brands

  • Colour scheme and why
  • Tone of voice (we talk about this further down in this article)
  • Typography
  • Photography Techniques
  • Illustration Styles

7. Your promise — what your customers deserve

8. Your proposition — be yourself and stay unique

9. Your premise — setting the scene for your story

  • Overcoming the Monster — great for challenger brands like BrewDog
  • The Quest — again, think LinkedIn and its journey to create universal, economic opportunity
  • Voyage and Return — this is a good one for brands offering a temporary escape, e.g. Expedia or Airbnb
  • Comedy — a rare choice but Card Against Humanity is an example
  • Tragedy — think about how Hinge positions itself: the dating app “Designed to be Deleted”
  • Rags to Riches — this fits with the classic entrepreneurial tale, e.g. Innocent
  • Rebirth — a perfect example is Carlsberg changing its story from “piss to pilsner”

10. Your persona — align yourself with an archetype

  • The Innocent — think the joyous and lighthearted campaigns of Coca-Cola
  • The Rebel — the chaotic, rule-breakers of the world, e.g. Oatly or Harley Davidson
  • The Lover — intimate, relationship-builders such as Magnum and Lindt
  • The Jester — cheeky, mischievous and irreverent brands like Paddy Power
  • The Sage — trusted sources of truth and information — think BBC and Google
  • The Ruler — commanding authority, rulers have products that speak for themselves, e.g. Mercedes Benz
  • The Explorer — restless, adventurers such as Jeep, Airbnb and Red Bull
  • The Magician — imaginative visionaries the think outside the box, e.g. Apple and Disney
  • The Hero — brands that look to inspire others and make a positive impact, e.g. Nike
  • The Caregiver — selfless nurturers such as Campbell’s Soup and Pampers
  • The Creator — those that live to stimulate the imagination, e.g. Lego or Minecraft
  • The Regular Guy/Girl — down to Earth types that have a common touch, e.g. Amazon or eBay

11. Brand tone — find a voice that feeds your visuals

  • formality
  • sentence complexity
  • whether you use contractions or not (i.e. cannot or can’t)
  • and your inhouse preference over the active vs. passive voice

12. Project specifications — the nitty-gritty.

Timeframe

Budget

Deliverables

  • Brand strategy (research, proposition and ideation)
  • Visual brand and tone of voice guidelines
  • Online assets: website, social avatars, campaign assets, etc.
  • Offline assets: business cards, letterheads and promotional flyers

Key stakeholders

Award criteria

  • Cost/Value for Money
  • Quality of Work
  • Previous Experience
  • Alignment to the Design Brief
  • Suitability of the Agency

Required response

  • A proposal
  • Examples of previous work
  • Relevant client references

So, what else can you include?

  • Some brand history: what have you done to arrive here?
  • Some of the work and achievements you’re most proud of
  • Why did the founders initially get started?
  • Brands outside of your competitor set that you admire in terms of tone and visuals
  • The inhouse design style (if any visual rules and language have been created)

Branding examples

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Andy Baker

Andy Baker

72 Followers

Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.