Defining a strong Brand Identity: how to use the Brand Key Model | Robin Denis | Skillshare

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Defining a strong Brand Identity: how to use the Brand Key Model

teacher avatar Robin Denis, Entrepreneur & freelance creative

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. 01 Class intro

    • 2. 02 What is your brand identity

    • 3. 03 Root Strengths

    • 4. 04 Competitive Environment

    • 5. 05 Target

    • 6. 06 Insight

    • 7. 07 Benefits

    • 8. 08 Values, beliefs & personality

    • 9. 09 Reasons to believe

    • 10. 10 Discriminator

    • 11. 11 Essence

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About This Class

In this class, I will guide you through each step in the Brand Key Model until you have completely defined your brand's identity.

Extra Material:

Mapping your competitive environment: Article 1, Article 2

How to create a customer persona: Article 3Video 1

Meet Your Teacher

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Robin Denis

Entrepreneur & freelance creative


Hello, I'm Robin.

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1. 01 Class intro: Hello and welcome to this course on brand identity. My name is Robin and I work as an entrepreneur in Belgium. I co-founded two startups, and I've also helped other small businesses and startups with both marketing and brand identity. Over the past couple of years, I've helped create logos, websites, brand names, entire visual identities. But what I've learned is that none of those things really matter if the foundation, the brand identity, hasn't really been defined. So in this course, I want to show you how to do exactly that by using the brand's key model. Now, this model is not something that I invented, nor would I ever claimed to be an expert on how to define a really strong brand identity. But from my own experience, I've learned that writing down the different elements that make up a brand identity can be really hard. And models like the brand key model are very useful tools that will make your life much easier. So in this short series of classes, I will briefly discuss what a brand identity actually is and why it's so important. And then afterwards, we will dive into the nine different elements that make up a brand key. It'll be able to follow along and apply each element to your own brand. And I highly encourage you to do so and maybe even take some time after completing the course to really think about each element and how it translates into your own brand. You can share your results in the class project down below when you're finished and I will use my own startup, rock upper socks as an example throughout the course as well. 2. 02 What is your brand identity: Hi again and welcome to the first actual parts of this course. Let's just dive right in and start by defining what a brand identity actually is and why it's so important. So firstly, it's important to make a distinction between branding and brand identity. Because oftentimes when I talk about brand identity, people immediately start thinking about branding, even though they're not really the same thing. But branding refers to tangible brand elements like words or design or icons that are used when communicating to potential customers. So this could be your logo, it could be the design of your website. It could be the name of your brands, et cetera, your brand identity, on the other hand, is the reasoning behind those different elements, the wide, if you will. So before you start designing a logo or a website, or you start writing copy or even choosing your brand name. It's important to have a very clear understanding of what's your brand identity actually is. What is the story that you're trying to tell and who are you telling it to because that way, you'll be able to make much better decisions when choosing the tangible elements for your brand. Now, all of that probably sounds great if you haven't started working on your ID yet. But if you have, chances are that you already have some tangible brand elements and that's okay. Even if you're running a company that has been around for decades, the exercise of actually defining what your brand identity is will help you shape the strategic direction for your company. So to summarize, in the next part of this course, we will not be talking about design language. We will not be talking about tone of voice, will not be talking about any other tangible brand elements. Instead, we'll talk about what your brand actually is, what it stands for, and how it can add value to the business will do that by zooming in on the nine different elements that make up a brand identity in the brand key model. And those are your root strings. The competitive environment, the target, the insight, the benefits, the value, beliefs and personality, the reasons to believe that discriminator and the essence of your brand. So that's the main goal for today. Thank you for sticking around this far, and I look forward to seeing you in the next part of this course. 3. 03 Root Strengths: At the base of the breadth key model, we'll find our very first elements being roots strengths. In a nutshell, your roots trains are the historic strings of your brand, so they represents the best or where your bread comes from. Now, root strengths or brand history, if you will, is often disregarded in other models. And especially if you're starting a new brand, you might be tempted to do the same, but they're actually a pretty important starting points when defining your brand identity. I really see routes strings as a moment of self-awareness about what's your current positioning is before you started thinking about what you want your positioning to be, when we will be defining our benefits and discriminator in a latter stage, it's really important that they fits our roots strings. For example, a company that is currently very well known for its traditional history can suddenly claim to be innovative. So for roots, strings tried to come up with the main strengths of your brand as they are perceived right now. And if you're doing this exercise for a future brand or a startup, you can still do it, but base or answers on the brute strength entrepreneurs behind the brand. For example, for a copper sucks, we defined our roots strings as being young entrepreneurs. We bring a certain level of playfulness and young brutality into our attitudes. Were not afraid to do our own thing, and we don't mind playing by the rules. This brings a creative and resourceful character to our brand that is key to the way we do things. 4. 04 Competitive Environment: The second element in the breadth key is competitive environment. This is defined as the market and alternative choices as seen by the consumer. So basically, you want to map out your competition. Now of course, competition is a very broad concept and there are a lot of ways you can go about mapping yours. So feel free to choose whatever way you feel is appropriate for your case. If you want to read up a little more about mapping your competition, you can find some useful links in the description down below, I would suggest that you split this element into two categories, direct competitors and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are competitors that are selling a product that is very similar to yours in the eyes of consumers. So that last part is important, even if you think that your product or service is unique in the world, tried to look at it through the eyes of your audience and then consider alternatives in direct competitors might be selling other products, but they are focusing, are targeting the same eyeballs. For example, I've done all sell burgers and pizza, had cells bids us, but they are both competing for the same hungry people. 5. 05 Target: On to the third part of your brand's key model, being your targets or your audience. I feel like choosing an audience is one of the most difficult things for some entrepreneurs. Because oftentimes we don't want to exclude any potential customers. But the way that I tried to look at it is that at this point, we're not necessarily excluding anyone. We're just defining who are most ideal customer is because as a company, you don't have unlimited resources. You can do an infinite amount of marketing, which means that you have to make some decisions on where you're going to spend your marketing budget or where are you going to use your efforts? And by focusing on your main target audience, you'll see much greater returns on your investments. Now on that note, I'd also like to point out that you shouldn't only be interested in who is interested in your brand, but also who you are interested in SA brands. Because there might be a certain group of customers that are the biggest spinners are the easiest to handle, are the cheapest to acquire. And it's especially valuable to know who they are and how you can reach them. So how do you define your target audience? Now, if your company has been active for a while, you should already have an idea of who your customers are. The tried to go a little bit deeper and get to know the reason why those people are choosing for your brand and not your competition. And then try to find which of them are most desirable for your business from a financial standpoint, if you're starting up, defining your target audience can be a little bit more tricky, but there are still a couple of ways that you can figure out who you should be targeting. So firstly, talked to a lot of people. Tell them about your brand and listen to their reactions and feedback. And I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs kind of hide behind the fear of having an id stolen and they don't want to talk about their idea or their brands in the early stages. But try not to worry too much about that because the value of the feedback that you will get a super valuable. Aside from that, you can also do surveys or you can go back to your competition and tried to figure out who their target audience is. So once you have an understanding of who your audience is or your audiences, because you might have a couple. The next step is actually defining them for your brand key. And again, there are many different ways you can do this, and you're free to choose whatever way you want. But if you're not sure where to begin, I would suggest creating a customer persona for each separate audience that you have in mind. You have never heard of a customer persona. It's basically a fictional customer with a name, an age, job, hobbies, et cetera, that represent the typical person in your audience. If you're interested or your once a little bit more help creating a customer persona. There will also be a link in the description down below. So for my own startup, rock upper sucks, we didn't create a customer persona because we felt like the typical demographic indicators, wherein it's necessarily the best way to define our target audience. So we opted to make a list of statements about archetypical customers. And based on brand preference or interests, for example, or audience shops at local fashion boutiques instead of prime mark drinks Baloch as snow AAA drives an old timer model BMW, and would wear a tie to a barbecue or a t-shirt to a meeting. 6. 06 Insight: Okay, so the fourth part of your brand's key model is insight, which is the market opportunities spots in your target audience given the competitive environment and her route strains. So this is where the first three elements of your breath qui, come together. And basically you define your or you describe your value proposition to your customers. Now, you've probably had an idea of what you want your value proposition to be, of what your value proposition is before you started this class. But this would be a good moment to check and reflect if it actually fits your target audience, the competitive environment, annual root strengths. So I'll use rock up or socks as an example. Again, we defined our insight as with a shift in consumer behavior towards a more conscious way of consuming, we want to answer the growing needs for authentic products by positive brands. So in essence, our value proposition is being a positive brand that offers authentic products, which to be fair is pretty vague. But the thing here is that you don't necessarily want to link your value proposition to your exact products or services. The Rotter try and capture the essence of what your product or service actually should provide to your consumers. Rock up, uh, for example, is actively providing value to consumers. And how we do it is true socks, but the value of our brand is this isn't necessarily linked to success specifically. We could also choose to launch another type of product and apply the same Rock Hopper magic, if you will, to that product. And ideally it would still offer the same value that are sucks are currently providing our customers because nobody buys are sucks, just because they need sucks. Everybody needs socks and anyone can get them anywhere. So if you choose to buy raw copper sucks. It's probably because you either appreciate that they are manufactured in a sustainable, positive way and you feel like a slightly more colorful design is a welcome addition to your daily routine. So we are targeting people that want to shop consciously and that enjoy a happy, positive mindsets. And we spotted a market that was lacking both creativity and Sustainability, which is the stock market. And we use that combination to turn our inexperienced entrepreneurs into a root strength, which is bringing a refreshing way of thinking into that market. So together, our first three elements are combined into our insights. And all of them combined make up the base structure of your brand key. And it's important that your base is strong, it's solid, and most of all it makes sense. If you're inside doesn't fit your roots strains, or your competitive environment, or your target audience, you'll probably have a hard time building your brand. So take your time to think about this and when you're done, I look forward to seeing you in the next part of this course, which will discuss the benefits of your brand. 7. 07 Benefits: Hello again and welcome to the top half of the breadth key model. The first element that we're going to discuss here is benefits. So this element is pretty straightforward because this is where you're just going to define the main benefits of your brand for the customer. So what that means is you're going to make a short overview that lists the main selling points of your brands to a customer. Why would someone feel attracted to it? So what I want you to do actually is make two lists. One being functional benefits of your brand and one being the emotional benefits of your brands. So the difference between two is quite simple. There are functional benefits. Our base on tangible attributes that you're bad is adopting that can provide functional value to your customers. So that could be quality improvements, that could be faster delivery or better customer service, things like that. That emotional benefits are ways that you provide value to your customer by making them feel something. So for a proper socks redefined our emotional benefits as firstly, note that the product tool Wearing has been made in a sustainable way and has had a positive impact on the world. And as secondly, stand out from the crowds. So both of these focus on a feeling that our customers gets when purchasing or wearing our socks. And then our functional benefits are, firstly, have comfortable feet. Secondly, where your items for longer. And then thirdly, rest assured if anything goes wrong or you need some help, our team is always at your disposal. So all of these are specific to the functional experience a customer goods have been buying our socks over the industry average. 8. 08 Values, beliefs & personality: Okay, so onto the six parts of the breadth key model, which are your values, beliefs, and personality. So these are just some typical characteristics and beliefs that you would associate with your brand and I'd make up who you are as a brand. This part is especially important because it is often a key to both employee buy-in and customer relationships. There's a reason why values, believes, and personality are always in one way or another, represented in almost any branding model out there. And it's that people have a tendency to develop a closer connection. They feel like their values are being shared. So defining your values and then using them in marketing afterwards will pay dividends for sure. For October, we formulated to main beliefs being, Firstly, we believe that everyone should be him or herself and that should be showcased. And secondly, we believe that it is our duty to take responsibility for our impact on the world. And then we described our personality as where does like the sprinkles on your ice cream suite and colorful, making your day a little bit happier. We're not a standard option, but let's all agree, we should be. So as you might have noticed, we made sure that the emotional benefits that we defined in the last video are both represented in our beliefs. Because the feeling someone would experience when interacting with our brands, obviously interconnected with our values that we are expressing an embedding into our customer experience. So when you're defining your values, beliefs and personality makes sure that they are connected to your emotional benefits as well. Because that will make your entire proposition that much stronger. 9. 09 Reasons to believe: Alright, on to element number seven, which are your reasons to believe. And this part also keeps building on partner five benefits because this is where you're actually going to explain how you are making sure that your benefits are being felt by a customer. So I see this part as the answer to your critics. If, for example, quality is one of the benefits for your brand. And then someone will ask you, how can you guarantee that? Your response to that question is the reason to believe for that benefits. So for rock opera, we had to emotional benefits. The first one was no good at a product you're wearing had been made in a sustainable way and has had a positive impact on the world. And the way we guarantee that are the reason to believe behind it is we use sustainable materials, keep production in the EU and donate $0.25 to charity for every product we sell. Our seconds emotional benefit was standard from the crowd. And the reason to believe behind that is we keep our brand and products exclusive by working only with the right partners and choosing quality over quantity when it comes to sales channels. And we did, we did the same thing for our functional benefits, translated them into reasons to believe which you should be able to see on the screen right now. I will not talk you through every one of them, but if you want or you need a couple more examples, you can pause the screen and read. 10. 10 Discriminator: The penultimate parts of your brand, the model is the discriminator, which is the single most compelling and competitive reasoning for customers to choose your brand over your competition. So even though the premise here is quite simple, the finding a discriminator isn't easy, especially because as an entrepreneur, you often feel like there are many different reasons why a person or a customer would choose your brand over your competition. But try to remember that you already define those reasons in your benefits. And your discriminators should just be the, the one only main reason why someone would choose brands over your competition. You're having a hard time figuring this out. I recommend talking to other people that are familiar with your brand but aren't as closely connected to its SUR. So that could be employees if you have them or customers if you have them, or even friends and family because they are often not as immersed in your brand as you are. So they might have a different look on it. They might have more of a helicopter view and be able to spot your one discriminator easier so far, rock up or socks are discriminator is the retail world is big and interconnected and works with a set of rules that is followed by almost all parties involved. By not knowing those rules. We are constantly breaking them and moving the bar for other brands as well. Again, if you're paying close attention, you might have noticed that our discriminator is actually exactly the same thing as our root strings just formulated a little bit differently. And that's a great thing for us because we're using the thing we're good at that thing were the best that excelling at as entrepreneurs, as our way to stand out in the market. 11. 11 Essence: Hello again and congratulations because you made it to the last part of this course, which is about your brand essence. And this is the one. Hello again and congratulations because you've made it to the last part of this course, which is about your brand essence. This is the one sentence that ties everything together. Now some brands are actually born out of one sentence where someone, an entrepreneur came up with a sentence that just worked and they built an entire brand around it. And if that's the case for you, good job because you're now done, which are rent key model. If not, you'll definitely feel that finding the one sentence is much easier said than done. So my advice is take your time. If it takes a couple of days, that it be if it takes a couple of weeks, be patient with it. It'll come. I'll just give you a couple of pointers. First one being right on all the ideas and options that you have, even if you think they're bad, write them down and keep them close because they might spark something down the roads. And then secondly, your essence should be short and sweet and easy to understand. So don't come up with one of those crazy long sentences just because you're trying to put all information in a sequence because that's not the point. The point is to combine all information in just a couple of words. For October socks are essence is helping the world unlocking uniqueness, which touches on both major pillars, if you will, of our brands, which are helping the world or sustainability and then unlocking uniqueness by turning an often forgotten piece of clothing into a tool for self-expression. So take your time and try to come up with a combination of words that capture the essence of your brand. When you do, you will have defined your brand identity using the brand key model, which brings this class to a natural end. Thank you very much for watching all the way to the end. And don't forget to check the class description if you want to do some additional reading and feel free to upload your brand's key model in the class project down below as well. Thanks again and bye-bye.