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Each brand needs to understand the makeup of itself. To best do this, brand agencies develop a playbook, or brand guidelines, that act as a True North for the business, discernible by anyone in your company to follow the same direction.

Brand Mission

The strategy that the brand follows in order to fulfill certain achievable goals over a one-year period or shorter time frame than the longterm vision.

Brand Values

Unlike a brand mission that describes what a company hopes to achieve — and how they are going to achieve it — brand values represent the brand’s character and what the company stands for.

Once you define your personal values, you should use them to guide your daily actions.

Value Proposition

These are your benefits and what appeals to the consumers, including emotional and functional. Why should they consider your brand over another?

Brand Positioning

A brand position is its strategic placement into the marketplace — or the consumer’s mind. Where do they see a brand in relation to its competitors, for instance? Higher value? Better quality? Longevity? This is a crucial step in determining the unique selling proposition that ultimately will differentiate the brand from others. A strong brand position is distinct, relatable, and sustainable.

Your Audience

The demographic and psychographic to which the brand already or will market. By narrowing an audience and target market, brand strength grows. A brand can’t be everything to everyone, so a focus on a type of customer (or an audience segment) will be crucial to the brand’s success — and adoption — into the marketplace.

Personas

During the brand strategy development, the characters that are created that represent the target market of consumers. It puts a face to the name and can help conceptualize the way certain demographics and psychographics think and interact with the product, service, or brand.

Standards

Brand Guides are a set of guidelines for the brand that can include both the visual and tonal/content guides. These Brand Guidelines — or “Brand Standards” — will include colors, typography, graphic elements, photography, and logo specs as well as the messaging that comprises your brand: tone and voice, positioning, social media guidelines, personas, and audience segmentations. They’re the linchpin that hold your brand together and helps to protect your business’s identity once it’s been established.

Keep Reading: Considerations When Rebranding