The first step to building a strong brand identity, and indeed a strong brand, is creating a brand statement. A brand statement might be a single, short phrase, but the ability to create, develop, implement, and follow through on different concepts and ideas is based on it.
A branding statement is a promise that you make to your customers. It should be realistic, meaningful, and informative enough to make them understand what you do and why. However, while it may sound pretty simple to write, it can be difficult to comprise everything you want to say, and in a way that people can relate to, into a couple of sentences.
Still, it must be done. We’ll start with a quick intro to get you in the right mindset of writing a brand statement and then go straight to writing tips that will ensure your company ends up with the best.
What is a Brand Statement?
A brand statement is a one or two-sentence phrase that describes a company’s mission, expertise, and promise.
The purpose of a brand statement is to help others understand what your company does, why it does it, and what makes it unique. Essentially, it’s a unique selling proposition, which gives you your own brand identity.
An example of a branding statement (a real estate business): “Our company helps people find their dream home for less.”
It’s not just companies that have brand statements - individuals do, too. Using a personal brand statement to differentiate themselves from the competition is a common practice among job seekers, solo entrepreneurs, and marketers.
An example of a personal brand statement of a marketer: “I help startups achieve their true potential by creating powerful digital marketing strategies.”
Why Write a Brand Statement?
A brand statement isn’t a PR slogan full of salesy words. It can help with two important goals: Standing out from the competition Making it easy for clients to relate to the brand.
So, it could be said that the branding statement is a starting point for building relationships with customers. Coming up with a strong statement, however, can be tricky.
It’s easy to just retell your expertise and business goals, but... there are millions of other businesses doing the same thing. It’s not going to work this way.
A strong brand statement must be intriguing and compelling enough to make people learn more about you. And this is where problems begin, as combining everything in a short phrase and striking the balance is hard. Here’s how to make it right.
How to Write a Strong Branding Statement
Follow these tips to make your branding statement compelling, relatable, and inviting.
1. Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the core of your brand statement. It’s the reason why you’re doing it in the first place. However, while the USP might seem like an easy thing to determine and describe, it's really not.
As someone who works as a part of the brand, it might be difficult to “detach” yourself from it and speak the language of the customer. Here’s an example. Let’s suppose you work in an advertising agency. Since your typical day is mostly about developing and perfecting slogans and ads, this brand statement might sound perfectly fine to you:
“We help companies create high-performing online advertising campaigns”.
But this says very little to the customer. While it does capture the essence of the business and its value, it doesn’t quite speak “the language of the customer.” Take a look at this one:
“We help companies grow and reach more customers through unique and engaging campaigns.”
Instead of talking about the result of your work, it focuses on the best-case scenario for the customer. This is how you determine the USP for your own branding statement. The base-case scenario for the customer.
2. Choose the Right Adjectives
By now, we’ve figured out the USP, which is already 50 percent of our work. At this point, we need to take care of the language of your brand statement. It’s important you word it the right way - after all, it’s going to be a major marketing tool.
Adjectives are the first consideration.
It’s really easy to get carried away and choose adverbs that sound fake or irrelevant. To avoid that, we’ll do a simple exercise.
Write down a list of adjectives that represent your business (if you’re working on a personal brand statement, they should describe your personality or traits). Some examples might be:
The list goes on and on.
When you have a decent collection to choose from, pick three, and focus on them. It’s important that you don’t overuse adjectives though because they can become redundant in writing.
Choose only the ones that are meaningful to your mission and vision. For example, “safe” wouldn’t be the best choice for businesses like advertising agencies, writing services, and coffee shops. If you stick to the best ones, you can use them to improve your brand statement. One way is to enhance the impact of the brand on the society. Adjectives like “excellent” and “transformative,” for example, could be relevant for online team building training companies and educational institutions.
Here are some examples of how well-known companies & individuals did it (with adverbs in bold):
“Improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation.” (Philips)
“Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.” (Greenpeace)
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” (Google).
In some cases, businesses go only for adjectives. Sofia Crokos, an event planner, has chosen three specific ones to describe her company.
So, if you feel like your brand statement should have adverbs to describe your company, go for it. But remember to limit their use - too many of them aren’t really necessary.
3. Make it Memorable
One reason why the brand statement examples from the previous section are great is the fact that they’re memorable. All we’ve been doing until now was focused on that. But let’s give you more tips on how to make your brand statement resonate with customers:
Avoid industry slang, jargon, and professional vocabulary
Write with your customer’s perspective in mind
Be realistic and don’t make promises you can’t fulfill
Describe a long-term goal that other people can benefit from, too.
Here’s an example that follows these tips. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of mining and construction equipment. Clearly, the company operates in a unique niche, and its statement could easily have a lot of professional terms. But instead, Caterpillar has this:
"To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet."
That’s a meaningful statement, which makes it memorable. And most of all, keep in mind your branding statement should make your business’ value clear. How? You know this one already (hint: the best-case scenario for your target customer).
4. Do an Empathy Review
Empathy is often called the new marketing, and for good reason. An “empathetic” brand is a brand that:
Implement their vision and mission in daily life
Encourage employees to follow their vision
Are environmentally conscious
Are authentic and empower their employees.
What does empathy have to do with writing branding statements?
It’s all about speaking the language of the customer. When you’ve selected the best-case scenario for the customer, we need to make them a hero of the statement.
Doing an empathy review, or simply analyzing if you got the customer’s interest right, is a great way to go. Here’s how to do the empathy review:
Hold a feedback meeting. Sit down with your product managers, customer support folks, and other stakeholders who are in regular contact with your customers. Have them read the statement and give feedback
Check if the customer is the hero. Answer the question: “Do we define how we can empower our target customer?” This way, you make the customer the hero of our statement.”
If you need an example, Tumblr’s is one of the best:
“To empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.”
That’s empathy at its best.
For personal branding statements: If you’re writing a branding statement for a personal brand, the trick here is actually the same. Make sure you’re making it clear how your services empower your customer.
5. Research Your Competitors
If you’re having a hard time coming up with unique ideas, you might need some inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with checking out the websites of competitors and seeing how they wrote their branding statements. You never know when the inspiration comes, so feel free to do some investigating.
Over to You
That’s it, five tips to write a strong branding statement: USP, adjectives, memorable, empathy, and research. Now that you know what it takes to write one, just take your time. Speak to your colleagues, employees, and other people, and make sure you ask for feedback when you’re done.
Sounds like a 10-min job? Well, you’ll be surprised how much time making those super meaningful two lines of text will take. But no worries, with the knowledge you have now, getting to the final draft will be much quicker.