The 4 Key Ingredients To Building A Brand, Part 3: The Brand’s “Why”?

By March 13, 2017Branding

Brand development is an exercise of examining what the brand is and is not, and then codifying the discoveries in a way that the brand owner(s) and stakeholder(s) can easily leverage to grow the brand.

Here are what I know to be the next of the 4 key ingredients for building a brand:

Part 3: The Brand’s “Why?”

Preface: Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

By now, I actually have a lot of respect for anyone who is not at least a little familiar with Simon Sinek’s TEDx Talk about how brands should know the answer to the question: Why do we exist? He then goes on to demonstrate a number of valuable lessons learned from history as to why leading with the answer to that question is what separates success from failure among brands.

Discovering the brand’s “Why” is hard work, and it is not immediately apparent.

When I and my team at Brand Shepherd conduct brand development, the “Why” is often one of the las things we cover because the brand voice and customer personas help inform the answer to why a brand exists.

The thing to watch out for when determining the brand’s “Why” is to make sure it’s not a “What” or “How.” Those are easy to spot. The brand’s “Why” is harder to find, but once developed, it will power everything else.

To help get started with this process for your brand, use some good old fashioned pencil and paper. Use 3 sheets, and at the top of each use one of these words: Why, How, and What. Then, keep them on your desk for a few days, and jot down words and phrases that you believe belong on each sheet category. Pro tip: you’ll move some words and phrases around, so the old adage is true here, “Done is better than perfect.” Just write. Once you have each page with what you believe are the key elements, share it with your brand stakeholders so you can begin the refinement process. In the end, the Why should be a single sentence. The How and What should be bullet points of what you make and how you make it.

Outside guidance really brings this process to life because questions are asked that either won’t be asked from within or will take a long time to get to because the team is too close to the brand. Still, the process above is a solid start that any leader within a brand organization can start.

In the next segment, I’ll cover Part 4: The Brand Identity (aka, the logo). Finally! Right?! And you thought I would start here, didn’t you? Nope. We’ve 3 ingredients so far, so let’s finally cook up the visuals.

If you can’t wait for all 4 articles to post, please contact me today so we can discuss how to develop your new or existing brand.


Dan Crask

Author Dan Crask

Hello - I'm Dan Crask. I help brands discover who they are, then express it visually. I co-own Brand Shepherd, am a husband, father of four children, and I don't believe in a work/life balance - it's all life, and all of it matters.

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