Do you feel like your Brand Identity is developing, but not in the right direction?
Or perhaps your Brand Identity has lost its way and needs to be redefined?
In this blog, we will look at how to build your Brand Identity M-V-P (which stand for Mission-Values-Practices).
In bygone eras, the world’s power and money lay in the hands of the Church and the Monarchies.
Today, they lie in the hands of the most influential human constructs of the 20th Century and no doubt of the 21st Century: companies, corporations, businesses. They have all the cards to change, influence and hopefully improve the world.
But it doesn’t matter what type of institution possesses influence. It matters what they choose to do with it. It matters what the Missions of these institutions are.
In the 20th Century, the most influential companies were measured by revenue figures and growth curves. It was the oil companies, the banks and, most recently, the tech giants.
But I (would like to) believe the most influential companies of the 21st Century will not be measured by their growth rates or their revenue figures, but instead by how they change the status quo for the better.
The companies that will make the biggest difference are the ones with the most powerful Missions for good.
However, in reality, a company’s Mission can easily become lost in the fog as they grow and adapt to market, investor and competitive pressures. And this is why a 21st Century company’s Brand Identity is so important if it is going to achieve what it set out to do.
And so… to work for a company that will succeed in its core Mission over the next ten, twenty or even fifty years, every employee in that company must understand the following:
Exactly what their company stands for,
what its core values are,
how it practices these core values,
how to convey all of the above to the outside world.
Understanding these constitutes understanding a company’s Brand Identity.
A Brand Identity is an abstract beast and can be described in many different ways. I used to work for IBM and I am particularly fond of their portrayal of the concept. IBM calls it their 1–3–9.
Following the IBM model (and adapting it slightly), your company’s Brand Identity can be divided into three core parts:
There is also one part of your company’s Brand Identity which is slightly different: the Collateral. This one is separate from the M-V-P because it is the visual and physical manifestation of your M-V-P.
So let’s have a look at each one.
At the very core of any business is its Mission. This is the one-liner around which the company orbits. It is the one sentence that, when everyone is looking in different directions, you can simply shout:
“Stop… is all this madness aligned with our Mission?”
The Mission is the one reason that the founders set up the business in the first place, however stupid or unobtainable it may have seemed at the time.
The following picture shows Pilcro’s Mission and we have purposefully left it slightly open and ambiguous.
We want to improve people lives with technology, and we also want to help people understand the technology they use. We want our technology to be responsible and simple.
And if we find ourselves making in-the-moment decisions which are not serving this goal, then we re-think them, with extra emphasis on the word “help”.
These should be aligned with the Mission and should reflect some qualities adhered to on a daily basis at your company.
Branding experts to whom I have spoken have recommended having three of these. Any more and it overcomplicates this model, which, in turn, overcomplicates your Brand Identity.
At Pilcro, we have the following three: Simple, Open and Smart.
See the photo at the top!
These are some actions that you would like to see everyone in your company actually doing. It is best to set around three Practices to promote each of the above Values, giving you nine Practices in total. Again, any more and it starts to overcomplicate the model and your strategic thinking.
The ones we have at Pilcro are given in the photo below.
This is slightly different from the M-V-P because the Collateral is the part of a company that the outside world sees. It is your logos, colour schemes, fonts, icons, tone, voice, tone of voice, key paragraphs, jumpers, business cards, email signatures, and even your product.
It is the everyday assets that you and your company use, create and provide to your clients. It represents your brand and its identity, and, more importantly, it should help to move your company towards its Mission.
The Collateral should be the physical and visual manifestation of your brand identity M-V-P all rolled into one.
So now it is time to create your own brand identity M-V-P! This is a great exercise for any company that feels like they have lost control of their Brand Identity or have lost their direction.
Get your whole team to write down what they think your company’s core Mission is. Then get them to write down what three Values and nine Practices they think best represent your company (three Practices related to each Value).
As a team, come together and discuss what everyone has written for these. You will be surprised at how different people’s answers are here!
Decide between you on a joint best Mission, three joint best Values and nine joint best Practices, again three related to each Value.
Review your brand Collateral and discuss what it says about your company with respect to your M-V-P.
Use Pilcro to keep your whole team connected with your new Brand Identity when they are creating branded content. Pilcro offers free brand management software for G-Suite. Check it out to get on the road to creating your brand MVP!