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Brand Essence Branding Basics Derrick Daye

The Language Of Branding: ‘Brand Essence’

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Brand Strategy Brand Essence Hallmark
Brand Essence is the heart and soul of a brand – a brand’s fundamental nature or quality.  Usually stated in two to three words, a brand’s essence is the one constant across product categories and throughout the world. Some examples are “Nike: Authentic Athletic Performance,” “Hallmark: Caring Shared,” “Disney: Fun Family Entertainment or “Disneyworld, Magical Fun,” “Starbucks: Rewarding Everyday Moments,” “The Nature Conservancy: Saving Great Places.” (Typically, it is rare for an organization’s brand essence and slogan to be the same.  For instance, Nike’s essence – “authentic athletic performance” – was translated to the following two slogans: “Just do it!” and “I can.” But, “Saving Great Places” happens to be The Nature Conservancy’s brand essence and its slogan.)

Kevin Keller, brand expert and author of the popular brand book, Strategic Brand Management, coined the term “brand mantra,” which is very closely related to brand essence.  The “mantra” concept reinforces the role of brand essence in internal communication.  Kevin says, [brand mantra] should “define the category of business for the brand and set brand boundaries.  It should also clarify what is unique about the brand.  It should be memorable.  As a result it should be short, crisp and vivid in meaning.  Ideally, the brand mantra would also stake out ground that is personally meaningful and relevant to as many employees as possible.”

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The Language Of Branding: ‘Brand Essence’