How to Create a Masterful Brand Essence

By Molly Davis Lind

A brand essence (or brand core) is the heart of a brand. It’s the guidepost from which everything springs. It’s the start of the story a brand will use internally to position itself uniquely from competitors. In short: it’s important.

While a brand essence may be many things, it is not all things. It is typically not a tagline. It is not external messaging. And, it’s not an opportunity to communicate every single detail about the brand. It simply communicates what a brand stands for – short and sweet. A brand essence is important because it provides focus and helps guide decision-making.  Let’s look at a few examples:

Brand Essence MetaDesign

To create a masterful brand essence, begin with understanding your brand position. Take a look at your top five competitors (review their website, collateral, communication style and market perception) and describe their brand essence in under five words.

For example, if you were looking at natural cleaners, your analysis may look like this:
7th Generation: Caring for Generations of Tomorrow
Mrs. Meyers: Fresh, Fun and Fragrant
Honest Company: Baby and Family Safety
Method: Design-driven Clean

Now look at your own brand and determine how you can authentically communicate your essence different from your competitors. You’ll see Mrs. Meyers owns the fragrance position, Honest is carving out a trusted niche for babies and children, Method leads design and 7th Generation communicates protecting health for generations of tomorrow. The goal of a masterful brand essence is to create out an authentic category space you can own that provides enough flexibility for lasting long-term.

A successful brand essence is:
• Evergreen but flexible – it should last long-term
• Less than five words
• Unique from competitors
• Authentic and true to the brand

A masterful brand essence inspires the messaging strategy and design to create a unified brand system. It’s one of the most important pieces of the brand puzzle.

Molly Davis Lind is Senior Communication Strategist at MetaDesign.

About Molly Davis Lind

Just be.

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