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 your company's ability to create, develop, implement, and follow through on different concepts and ideas is based on it are paramount.
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 condense everything you want to say — in a way that people can relate to — into a sentence or two.
Still, it's a must for every brand. We’ll start with a quick intro to get you in the right mindset for writing a brand statement and then move straight to writing tips that will ensure your company ends up with the best statement possible.
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.
For example, consider the following branding statement for a real estate business:
“Our company helps people find their dream home for less.”
It's short, concise, and perfectly embodies the mission of the brand.
And it’s not just companies that have brand statements — individuals use them, too. Creating a personal brand statement to differentiate oneself from the competition is a common practice among job seekers, solo entrepreneurs, and marketers.
Consider the following example of a marketer's personal brand statement:
“I help startups achieve their true potential by creating powerful digital marketing strategies.”
Why Write a Brand Statement?
Keep in mind, a brand statement isn’t a PR slogan full of salesy buzzwords. Its goal is twofold:
Helping brands stand out from the competition
Making it easy for clients to relate to the brand
This makes a brand statement a critical part of brand-building campaigns, as it becomes your tool to spark consumers' curiosity and make your target audience want to learn more about your business.
So, it could be said that a branding statement is a starting point for building relationships with customers. Coming up with a strong statement, however, can be tricky.
It may seem easy to just reword your expertise and business goals, but... there are millions of other businesses doing the same thing. Sadly, it won't work this way.
A strong brand statement must be intriguing and compelling enough to make people want to learn more about your company. And this is where problems begin, as combining everything into a short, striking phrase is hard. Here’s how to go about it.
How to Write a Strong Branding Statement
If you're looking to write a compelling, relatable, and inviting brand statement, we recommend keeping the below tips in mind.
1. Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition (USP) should lie at the core of your brand statement. However, while your USPs might seem easy to determine and describe, that's not always the case.
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 at an advertising agency. Since your typical day consists mostly of developing and perfecting slogans and ads, this brand statement might sound just fine to you:
“We help companies create high-performing online advertising campaigns”.
However, 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 use your USPs when crafting your own branding statement — always imagine the base-case scenario for the customer.
2. Choose the Right Adjectives
By now, we've discussed USPs — and if you know yours, you've already done 50% of the work. At this point, we need to move on to 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 should be your first consideration.
When writing a brand statement, it’s quite easy to get carried away and choose adjectives that sound fake or irrelevant. To avoid that, we’ll undergo a simple exercise.
First, 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 throughout your statement, as they can begin to feel redundant.
Choose the ones that are attention-grabbing, but also meaningful to your mission and vision. For example, “safe” wouldn’t be the best choice for businesses like advertising agencies, writing services, or coffee shops. If you stick to the best ones, you can use them to improve your brand statement.
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 adjectives 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 stick with only adjectives. Sofia Crokos, an event planner, has chosen three specific ones to describe her company, seen below.
So, if you feel like your brand statement should consist solely of adjectives, go for it. But remember to limit their use — too many aren’t 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. In fact, everything we’ve been doing until now was focused on that in one way or another. So, let's discuss a few 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, courtesy of Caterpillar, 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 went with the following:
"To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet."
First and foremost, it's a meaningful statement — which makes it memorable. But, most of all, it makes Caterpillar's brand values clear.
So, how can you do the same? You know this one already (hint: it's the best-case scenario for your target audience).
4. Conduct an Empathy Review
Empathy is often called the new marketing, and for good reason. An “empathetic” brand is a brand that:
Implements its vision and mission in daily life
Encourage employees to follow their vision
Is environmentally conscious
Is authentic and empowers its employees
But what does empathy have to do with writing branding statements?
It’s all about speaking the language of the customer. Once you’ve identified the best-case scenario for your customers, you need to make them the hero of the statement.
Conducting an empathy review, or simply analyzing if you've identified your customers' interests correctly, is a great idea. Here’s how to conduct 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 and ask them to read the statement and provide feedback.
Check if the customer is the hero. Ask yourself the question: “Have we defined how we can empower our target customer?” If the answer is yes, then you've made the customer the hero of your statement.
If you need an example, Tumblr’s is great:
“To empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.”
That’s empathy at its best.
Pro Tip: 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 where or when the inspiration will strike, so feel free to do some investigating.
That’s it, five tips to write a strong branding statement: use USPs, add adjectives, make it memorable, employ empathy, and conduct competitor research. Now that you know what it takes to write one, make sure you take your time. Speak to your colleagues, employees, and other stakeholders while brainstorming — and make sure you ask for feedback when you’re done.
Still sounds like a 10-minute job? Well, you’ll be surprised how much time crafting those meaningful two lines of text will take. But no worries, with the knowledge you have now, getting to the final draft will be much easier.