Contact BSI
Derrick Daye
888.706.5489 Email us

Brand Essence

Brand Essence

Discovering Your Brand Essence


Brand Strategy Brand Essence Jenny Craig

A process called “laddering” is often used to uncover the essence of a brand. Laddering is based on the notion that brand meaning can be deepened by examining progressively more abstract implications of a brand’s features. The bottom rung of the ladder represents the starting point, which is usually an attribute.

Read More
Brand Essence

The Language Of Branding: ‘Brand Essence’


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.

Read More
Brad VanAuken Brand Essence Brand Management

Branding: The Power of Word of Mouth


In his book, Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders, Adam Morgan indicates that people enthusiastically share information for one of four reasons: (1) bragging rights, (2) product enthusiasm, (3) aspirational identification or (4) news value.

Stories and anecdotes make a point real to people and imbed it in their memories. Brand stories and anecdotes can become legends. As they are told and retold, they can raise the brand to a mythological level. Stories are often told about consumer experiences that far exceed expectations. This could be the result of extraordinary customer service or some other incredible experience with the brand. Going out of your way as an organization to create these experiences will pay huge dividends – word-of-mouth marketing can not be underestimated. Ideally, you create experiences that reinforce your brand’s point of difference.

For instance, a Hallmark card shop owner cared so much for one of her customers that when the customer could not find what she was looking for in the store, the owner drove several miles away to a few other Hallmark stores until she found what the customer was looking for. She hand delivered it to the customer’s house that evening, at no charge, reinforcing Hallmark’s essence of “caring shared.” Now that is the stuff of legends. Delivering this type of service, even occasionally, generates significant word-of-mouth brand advocacy.

Read More
Brand Essence Branding: Just Ask...

Branding: Just Ask…


This branding question came to us from Rich in Seattle:

“Please describe the difference between brand essence and brand promise”

Rich, thanks for asking. We believe there are four critical elements to a well-positioned brand:

(1) target consumer, (2) brand essence, (3) brand promise and (4) brand personality.

Here are the differences between the two you asked about…

The Brand Essence is a two to three word phrase (typically in the format “adjective adjective noun”) capturing the “heart and soul” of the brand.  The Brand Essence is simple, concise, aspirationally attainable, timeless, enduring and extendable.  Examples include “fun family entertainment” (Disney), “genuine athletic performance” (Nike), “saving great places” (The Nature Conservancy) and “caring shared” (Hallmark).  It is not a tagline or slogan, but rather the first thing an employee might say to quickly describe the brand to another in an elevator conversation (“This brand is all about…”).  While a brand’s positioning might differ slightly from country to country and while its advertising campaigns might change over time, like a person’s character, the brand’s essence will largely remain unchanged.

The Brand Promise is a sentence that communicates the one thing that the brand intends to own in the target consumer’s mind.  I prefer to express it in the following form: “Only (brand) delivers (unique benefit) to (target consumer).”  A brand promise must be understandable, believable, unique/differentiating, compelling, admirable and endearing.  The ideal benefit to claim in a brand promise has the following three qualities: (1) it is extremely important to the target consumer, (2) the brand’s organization is uniquely suited to delivering it and (3) competitors are not addressing it.  As an example, Harley-Davidson’s brand promise might read as follows: “Only Harley-Davidson delivers the fantasy of complete freedom on the road and the comradeship of kindred spirits to avid cyclists.”  The brand’s promise should drive everything an organization does and be manifest at each point of contact the brand makes with the consumer.

Do you have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

Don’t face complex marketing challenges alone. The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World. May 18th ~ 20th at the famed Versace Mansion in South Beach, Florida. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 40 marketing oriented leaders and professionals. *Special Offer Available for MENG and AMA Members*

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers


Read More
Brad VanAuken Brand Essence

Brand Management: More Than Logos And Campaigns


When I have joined organizations to head up their brand management or marketing functions, others in those organizations have often conveyed to me that my primary role must be one of the following:

  • Advertising
  • Naming
  • Logo management
  • Creating brochures
  • "Air cover" for the sales force
  • "Putting a pretty face on the product"

Having been immersed in brand management for such a long time and with the recent pervasive coverage of brand management in the general business press, it amazes me how many people still don't "get" what brand management is all about.

Read More