What is brand essence ?

2 years ago




Brand essence is the core characteristic which defines a brand. It is an intangible attribute that separates your brand from your competition’s brand by your audience. Brand essence definition exists at the core of your company’s strategy for growth. Your essence brings together concepts like values, mission statements and brand visions to determine what you stand for as a company and guide you into the future.



A brand essence is intangible for your audience, unique to your brand and, most importantly, reliable.

It is not a commodity, nor is it product related. It is the essential feeling evoked in your audience when they hear your brand name. It combines the attributes and benefits of your brand succinctly. Therefore, your brand essence should be boiled down to one or maybe two words.

Let’s look at some well known brand essence examples:

·          Visa = Everywhere

·          FedEx = Safe

·          Disney = Magical

·          REI = Adventurous

A brand essence is meant to be authentic. Likewise, it must be scalable to your overall brand’s growth.


Why define brand essence?


Now that you know what it is, it’s time to consider why finding a brand essence meaning is so important. After all, there are a lot of steps involved in building an effective branding.

If you look at some examples of brand essence, like Volvo’s “Safety” for instance, you see that a brand essence definition simply allows you to put the soul of your company into words. A brand essence makes it easier for you and your customers or shareholders to see what your business is, what you want it to be, and what you’re doing to  remain as "authentic" as possible.

The best companies often use brand essence as a compass in their decision making. For instance, Volvo will always put extra steps into their production process if it means delivering extra security and peace of mind for customers. By using their brand essence as a North Star, the company ensures stronger connections with their audience. Some of the benefits of a brand essence definition include:

1. Better marketing


When you understand precisely what’s driving your company and setting you apart from your competitors, you can develop stronger advertising and awareness-building campaigns. Today, it’s more important than ever for organisations to connect with their audiences on an emotional level. If you know that you define yourself as “Caring and Honest,” then you can put those principles first when creating messages to appeal to people that value respect and authenticity.

Brand essence allows you to get emotional with your marketing efforts, and it will also guide you towards the campaigns that are more likely to help your organisation. For instance, a brand with a “modern” essence might use the latest technology like VR or IoT to advertise a new product.

2. Appeal to higher expectations

Even if you haven’t been in business for long, there’s a good chance you’ve already noticed how highly-connected today’s customers are. We’re living in a world of connected continuously and empowered customers, which also means that you need to meet escalated expectations.

Today’ customers are more discerning and demanding than ever. This means that gimmicks and price battles won’t give your company the growth power it needs anymore. Instead, companies need to find a more appealing way to build bonds with their audience. The essence of a brand is what inspires customers to fall in love with it. People will begin to attribute human characteristics to your company, and that’s where feelings of commitment and loyalty come from.

3. Maintain consistency


Finally, there is a range of different “brand statements” that go into a compelling brand manifesto. You might have a mission statement, a brand promise, and even a USP document. While each of these files has their own specific benefits, they, and your brand essence definition will all help with one key thing: consistency.

In today’s competitive world, it can be difficult to remain aware of the current trends and maintain a consistent identity at the same time. When you understand the elements that define the soul of your company, it’s much easier to make cohesive decisions for your business. Whenever you’re unsure about a new marketing strategy or product idea, you can look at your brand essence to direct you.


Tips for refining your brand essence meaning

Like many things in branding and the marketing mix, though brand essence is essential, it’s not always easy to define. The best examples of brand essence often strike a balance between the authentic qualities that your company already demonstrates and the aspirational elements that you want to embody in the future.

Usually, the best way to discover your brand essence meaning, and begin developing guidelines for your company, is to look for input from people both outside and inside of your organisation. Team members and stakeholders will be able to show you what your business currently means to the world, while branding experts can help you to build a strategy for your future.

Once you’ve assembled a team to help you with your brand essence definition, the hardest step is to get the initial creative juices flowing. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Go back to the beginning

There are many companies that create their brand essence statement before launching their business, as part of a complete brand-building strategy. However, there are also companies that get so caught up with other things, like logo creation and website building that they forget about essence until the last minute. No matter which camp you fall into, the best place to start searching for meaning, is at the beginning.

Look back at where your company came from. What motivated you to launch your product or service in the first place (besides profit), and what did you feel was your ultimate purpose as a brand? If you’re having a hard time finding ideas, try creating a brand documentary full of stories from people around your company. These differing interpretations of how your business began will give you an insight into what kind of organisation you’re running.


2. Consider how other people see you

How you would describe your business, and how other people perceive you aren’t always things that go hand-in-hand. While you shouldn’t necessarily allow your clients and competitors to define you, it is helpful to listen to how others see your brand, so you can get a better idea of how you come across in the current marketplace. If nothing else, a brief audit will give you a chance to pinpoint any characteristics that you’d rather not have linked to your company.

A good way to make sure that your audit is comprehensive is to imagine that you’re creating an obituary for your business. Write a list of all the things people would say about your brand if it was a person that had passed away, then look for trends.


3. Work outwards from your points of differentiation

Finding your brand essence definition is crucial because it helps you to define and refine what makes your company special. With that in mind, it makes sense to look at the things that you do or offer that your competitors simply don’t have. Look at your competitors and figure out what your company can provide that they can’t.

One good idea is to use the “BARATA” formula for differentiation. This means looking at the benefits, attributes, roles, attitudes, territory, and awareness elements of your company to see where you differ from the crowd. Once you’ve found out what makes you different, ask yourself why those differences are useful. After all, a fork with twisted prongs might be unique, but that doesn’t necessarily make it appealing.

4. Get technical

Sometimes, to define something as intangible and complicated as brand essence, you need to get technical. The best way to do this is to work with a branding company like Fabrik, which knows its way around things like brand archetypes and mission statements.


A technical evaluation of your brand can help you to see parts of your identity that you never considered before. When you immerse yourselves in all of the complicated steps that go into building an effective business, it’s easier to see where your company is ticking all of the right boxes. You’ll also be able to see whether there are attributes in your brand essence that need to improve or grow to help you achieve your goals.


In essence, brand essence is the story of your company. It’s where you came from, what you are, and what you want to be, as well as how you hope to get there.


Sources : Momenta Creative and Fabrik Brands