The 4 Essential Components of a Brand Strategy

Four Foundational Brand Components

The idea of a brand means a lot of different things to different people. And agencies who specialize in branding all approach the process in slightly different ways. But if you’re contemplating a branding process — developing a new brand strategy, or refreshing an existing brand — there are four foundational brand strategy components your agency partner should provide.

Messaging Framework

A messaging framework, sometimes called a messaging platform, serves as the foundation for all future brand expressions. A framework typically includes three to five clear, crisp messages that define your organization’s vision, purpose, and unique value. Here’s an example key message from the platform we developed for Westminster Public Schools. View the full WPS Messaging Framework.

We build upon each child’s strengths and support their learning challenges through highly personalized teaching and learning that enables all students to achieve mastery. 

  • From the first day of school through graduation, our competency based system shows us what each child knows and can do in ways that are far more meaningful than standardized tests.
  • Students learn at their own pace, with the freedom to progress quickly in strength areas and help from teachers in areas of challenge.
  • Our graduates have the opportunity to master the knowledge and skills they need to pursue the college or career of their choosing.

Soundbite: “We know what every child can do and how to help them grow.”

Elevator Pitch

Written in conversational language, an elevator pitch or “conversation starter” captures your organization’s unique value in a brief message that can be shared with a variety of stakeholders in one to two minutes. Here’s the pitch we developed for Great MN Schools, which we incorporated into their website:

Great MN Schools makes strategic investments in proven and promising schools, providing the expert guidance, funding and resources needed to create a community of great schools. 

We know that every child can succeed, because great schools right here in our community are proving that it’s possible. We just need a lot more of those schools, especially for students who experience poverty. With deep expertise in developing great schools, Great MN Schools unites committed funders and schools in the shared work of dramatically improving the opportunities available to Minneapolis kids. We help successful schools expand, support improvement strategies for schools that show promise, and foster the development of innovative models and strategies. In partnership with MN Comeback, we will increase access to great schools and close the opportunity gap for 30,000 Minneapolis children.

Brand Personality

Defining your brand personality helps ensure consistency of voice and personality in all future communications, as well as relevance for your primary audiences. For the Lake County School District, we identified four key brand personality traits:

Caring — kind, compassionate, do the right thing

Creative — flexible, innovative, entrepreneurial, reflective, rebellious, quirky, unique

Real — authentic, genuine, honest, straightforward, direct

Resilient — gritty, tough, brave, dedicated, invested, passionate, durable, can-do

Creative Messaging Concept

A creative messaging concept, sometimes called a tagline, is a short, memorable phrase that creates engagement and an emotional connection with your organization’s unique value and unites all future communications under one “big idea.” In other words, if the messaging framework speaks to the head, the creative messaging concept captures the heart.

Back to Lake County schools, the tagline “Learning Beyond Walls” speaks directly to their distinctive focus on Expeditionary Learning and real-world educational experiences. More importantly, it symbolizes their belief that there is no limit to what students can achieve, and their commitment to removing any and all barriers to students’ success.

If we can help with your branding process, say hello today!


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