At Jaune, we often repeat that the brand platform is an essential tool. It makes it possible to formalize and synthesize the DNA of a brand and thus guarantees the consistency of the actions to be followed. This is the foundation of any communication strategy. If one does not already exist, we systematically recommend the creation of a brand platform before setting up any communication device. However, we find that the role of this tool is not always well understood. As a result, its construction can be wobbly (a shame for a base !), which limits its potential. We return here to a few errors relating to the brand platform. Something to guide you if you are thinking about setting up such a document or are in the middle of writing.
MISTAKE #1 : CONFUSE BRAND PLATFORM AND COMMUNICATION MESSAGES
Writing a brand platform necessarily goes through an important writing phase. We go through the dictionary to find the right word, we think long and hard about each turn of phrase. The objective is to portray the DNA of the brand in a very precise way. But let’s not go too fast : the brand platform remains a working tool for internal use or partners, not a creative concept !
By this, it must be understood that it is not directly a support intended for the external public of the brand : it is neither a commercial pitch, nor a baseline or a slogan (confusion which generally arises with the item ” promise “). Brand platform work is more general and goes much deeper to serve as the basis for these external messages. It does not depend on the medium, the target or the context of dissemination (unlike external communication messages which must take this into account for optimal effect). Concretely, the brand platform is the basic point, where external communication will shape a specific singularity by taking into account all the parameters of the message transmission.
MISTAKE #2 : INVENTING A BRAND
The exercise of creating a brand platform can lead to the temptation to invent personality traits for the brand, to shape for it a range of values that are not particularly its own but that we think are attractive – typically “eco-responsible” because we would like to become one. Inventing a brand platform is a bit the same as inventing a personality, it never pays off very well.
It will be much more difficult to conform to it afterwards, to appropriate it, and the statements may lack authenticity and coherence. To register an element in the brand platform, it must be proven. But what to say when it seems to us that the DNA of the brand is flat and that it has nothing to tell ? Does the business seem insipid to you ? Maybe it’s because she tries to be discreet to better value her customers. Does your structure not yet implement eco-responsible actions ? Perhaps it is because she is ultra-focused on developing cutting-edge know-how. Does the brand look raw and unattractive ? Perhaps simplicity and efficiency are part of its values. All these elements are all characteristic features to highlight in the brand platform.
MISTAKE N°3 : BUILDING THE BRAND PLATFORM BETWEEN MARKETING AND COM’ PEOPLE
A brand is both the result of strategic decisions and the mobilization of all employees to bring it to life. It is therefore important that they are involved in the definition of the brand platform, even if they do not intervene in professions related to communication, marketing or corporate strategy.
Indeed, by questioning all employees, their contact with customers, their varying degrees of experience, their knowledge of the field and the market, will come to support the portrait of the brand and make it more accurate and faithful to reality on personality and values. In addition, this makes it possible to compare the visions of each and to aggregate perceptions which do not often have the opportunity to meet.
Employee consultation can take various forms : one or more focus group workshops, qualitative interviews, quantitative questionnaires, or a combination of several of these elements. The workshop format generally has the advantage of being very involving and, in fact, of involving employees in a common dynamic conducive to making them ambassadors of the brand’s values.
As you will have understood, building workshops involving only profiles from marketing, communication or management risks leading to a deliverable that is far from reality or too predictable. Conversely, dismissing these profiles is also a mistake since they are generally the best able to shed light on the vision and ambitions of the brand. In the ideal configuration, care must therefore be taken to interrogate them.
Finally, bonus if you have the opportunity to interview a few customers who know the brand well – a practice that is all the easier to set up in the BtoB sectors.
MISTAKE #4 : SEEK TO CREATE SURPRISE
When you are a stakeholder in the company, it may seem deceptive not to learn anything by discovering its brand platform… yet it may be a sign that it is well done. The brand platform must be a faithful, precise and revealing portrait of the company and not a creative concept : this is why it is not supposed to surprise.
On the other hand, it is possible that it takes a fresh look at the company, brings together ideas that had never been able to be confronted, or depicts a new reflection of it – it is in the interest of bringing in an outside person to support its development.
A phase of evangelization of the role of the brand platform may be planned before its presentation to ensure that the interest and format of this deliverable are well understood.
MISTAKE #5 : LACK OF SYNTHESIS
Giving too much detail to your brand platform increases the risk that it will not be read and therefore not applied and used wisely.
The brand platform can be supplemented by a manifesto if you want to say more or expand on certain aspects.
MISTAKE #6 : REWRITE YOUR BRAND PLATFORM TOO FREQUENTLY
The ideal is every 5 years, apart from a major change.
Just as we will not change the logo with each campaign, we are not supposed to rework the brand platform between each of them. It is a base on which the campaigns must be based. If the brand platform is well laid out, it will never have to be rewritten in its entirety (except for radical changes). But items are able to be reviewed at the same time as the evolution of your company.
If we have the feeling that it becomes obsolete very quickly, it is because it does not go far enough into the essence of the brand.