How to write a brand statement

If you’re an individual looking to get hired or have a newly launched business, branding should be on your mind. Branding may seem like an afterthought. After all, shouldn’t what you are offering speak for itself?

These days, branding isn’t just for products; it’s also for professionals who want to stand out in their field. Branding is integral to positioning yourself or your company as one people can trust. It’s your identity.

The direction your brand takes will influence how you approach everything from advertising to customer service. It lays the foundation for your marketing strategies going forward. It will define how your audience perceives you. But where do you even a begin?

A brand statement is a great place to start.


Creating a brand statement

When it comes to marketing or branding of any kind, it’s vital that you know your business inside and out. It might seem obvious, but it bears saying. Your brand statement needs to reflect you or your business accurately.

A snappy, memorable statement means nothing if it results in your marketing campaign straying completely from your goals and values. But it’s also important to remember that integral to a brand statement is how you can benefit the audience, and not just what your personal or business goals are.

So, before you rush into coming up with a brand statement, put pen to paper and do the following:

Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your USP is the thing that makes your business different. Defining yours is particularly pertinent if your company has an offering similar to other businesses.

A helpful way of figuring out your USP is simply listing the attributes of your business and your offering. Sometimes finding a USP might be difficult if you’re too close to your product. By making a list, you’ll more easily spot characteristics that make you unique from the competition.

If there’s nothing that stands out, look deeper. Maybe your competitors have the same attributes, but perhaps you offer services at a lower price, or you have more helpful customer service. You may even end up having more than one USP. That’s great! For a brand statement, it’s best to focus on one.

Say you’re just about to launch a vegan deli. Your business stands out because you’re the only non-meat serving establishment in the neighborhood. That’s your USP. If your neighborhood is chock-full of vegan delis, perhaps yours is the cheapest or has the freshest ingredients, or only sources produce from local suppliers. One of these could be your USP.

From your list of potential USPs, pick the one the one that is most compelling and relevant to your target audience. It should describe what it is they want most from the market you are operating in.

Unsure about who you’re targeting? Then it’s time to...

Define your audience

We all want to be liked. Preferably by everyone. But when it comes to branding, targeting only a specific demographic is essential. By trying to appeal to too-wide a spectrum of people, you may end up alienating those who your company and offering will appeal to most. By considering what appeals to your target audience, you’ll more easily be able to angle your brand statement.

To have something to refer back to during the process of writing your brand statement, create a profile of your ideal customer, client, or audience by asking these questions:

  • What are their key characteristics (age, gender, income)

  • What does an average day look like?

  • What problems do they need to be solved?

  • How can you help them solve it?

By doing this exercise, it will become clear what it is this person will want from your offering. Is it quality? Comfort? Expertise? Or simply just a friendly face?

This customer or audience persona and their most pressing needs should inform the tone of your marketing strategy, as well as your brand personality.

Let’s say you’re starting a blog focusing on the best of budget beauty. Your audience persona is likely teenage girls and young women who aren’t earning a lot (if anything). They probably spend a lot of time in school or college or working part-time. They want to keep up with the latest beauty trends and look good, but can’t afford to spend a lot of money doing so. You solve this problem by providing a guiding voice, showing products that can help them look their best and keep up with what’s cool without breaking the bank.

From this, you can gather that your audience is probably looking for someone with an authoritative voice, who knows their way around a tube of mascara but is also friendly and relatable. You should bear this in mind when writing your brand statement.

Define your brand personality

By doing the previous two exercises, you’ll have a good foundation for figuring out your brand personality. A brand personality is by and large the characteristics that make your brand more human and relatable so that your potential audience can connect with you. A brand personality is essential for appealing to potential customers and maintaining customer loyalty.

Write down a list of words that describe (or you would like to describe) your brand; its characteristics and how you want it to make your customers feel. It’s helpful to think of your brand as a person during this exercise. Pick the most relevant words, narrowing it down to four or five adjectives to keep you focused.

If you run a moving company, these could be:

  • Friendly

  • Down-to-earth

  • Reliable

  • Convenient

  • Professional

Or if you run a vegan deli, these could be:

  • Hip

  • Eco-friendly

  • Caring

If you try to think of your brand as a person with these characteristics, it will help inform the tone of your branding statement and subsequent branding and marketing materials.

Define your business promise

The promise your business makes to its customer its integral to your brand statement. It is fundamentally your USP: the main problem you are solving for your customer. Everything else you produce in terms of marketing and branding must reflect the promise you make in your statement.


Creating a personal brand statement

Creating a business brand statement and personal brand statement require much of the same considerations. The key difference with a personal brand statement is that you’re marketing yourself.

It can be a bit more difficult being an advocate for your own strengths rather than those of a business. It can seem a bit braggy or big-headed. But it’s absolutely necessary if you want to position yourself as an expert in your field and stand out to employers. More importantly, it’s a means of controlling your own narrative, rather than letting outside sources do it for you. Your personal brand statement is more than just a job title or description – it’s who you are.

Like with creating a brand statement for a business, when thinking about your personal brand statement, you should also define your USP, audience, brand personality, and business promise. What are your goals and values? Who are you trying to appeal to? What distinguishes your character? What is it you can do for potential employees and clients?

Honesty is crucial here. It’s best never to exaggerate your strengths and achievements, but it’s particularly important to avoid it in the statement that defines your brand.

When you’re happy with your brand statement, be sure to include it on your personal website, LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and business cards. You should revise and update your personal statement regularly to reflect career growth and advancement.

Examples of effective brand statements

A good brand statement is:

  • Specific

  • Simple

  • To the point

It is preferably one line. It can be longer if necessary but try not to run longer than three sentences. The longer it is, the less memorable it will be. Brevity is crucial here.

Related to brevity is word choice. Don’t use anything too complicated that may alienate your audience. Most of the time, writing a simple word will be as effective as a complicated one, with the bonus of reducing confusion while trying to spread your message. For more tips on writing effectively, be sure to check our comprehensive article on the subject. (Insert link here when it’s up?)

Effective brand statements from businesses

  • Motel6: “Lowest price of any national chain.”

  • Casper: “The Best Bed for Better Sleep”

  • Lyft: “A ride when you need one”

  • Ryanair: “Low fares. Made simple.”

  • BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”

  • Coors Light: “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer”

  • Walmart: “Save money. Live better.”

What each of these seven brand statements has in common is that there’s no fluff. Each one is a short statement that focuses on their USP – what makes them stand out from brands like them. That’s what makes these brand statements so successful.

Effective personal brand statements

Here is a selection of personal brand statements from real people:

  • Grant Cardone

    “I work with small companies and Fortune 500 companies to grow sales by finding overlooked opportunities and customizing the sales process to be more effective.”

  • Lewis Howes

    “I am a lifestyle entrepreneur that teaches small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs how to make a full time living doing what they love.”

  • Ann Handley

    “Digital marketing pioneer, writer, speaker Ann Handley inspires marketers to create marketing magic that gets real-world results.”

  • Kendall B

    “Marketing strategist and entrepreneur that translates ideas into tangible results and creative initiatives for brands.”

  • Anna O’Dea

    “Recruitment expert Anna O’Dea works with award-winning brands to place thousands of talented individuals into jobs they love across the Asia-Pacific. An expert on workplace issues, Anna is regularly quoted by media as an expert on workplace issues, including Huffington Post, SMH, The Age, Smart Company, Mamamia and the Herald Sun.”

Brand statement template

As you may have noticed from the previous section, many brand statements tend to follow a particular formula. With a business, it’s a simple statement of what they do. With a personal brand statement, it’s a little more, well, personal.

If you’re a business, consider the following template as a starting point:

At [your company] we help [target customer] do [summation of your USP].

After you fill in the blanks, it can be cut down and edited to make it a little more punchy. Let’s take Lyft’s brand statement that we mentioned previously. Maybe it started as:

At Lyft we help people who need to get somewhere get a ride there.

It’s short but uses a few too many words before it gets to the point. The template above is just a guideline. The information doesn’t need to be in that order. As long as it includes your USP and who it is you’re helping, it doesn’t matter about the exact structure of the sentence. So don’t be afraid to play around with it. Make it a little more catchy and memorable, like Lyft’s actual brand statement, “A ride when you need one.”

For personal brand statements, the template is similar:

I am a [your profession] who helps [target customer] do [summation of USP].

Maybe you’re a marketing specialist who works with companies to improve their marketing strategies and reach a wider audience. Your statement might look like this:

I am a marketing specialist who helps businesses reach their full potential.

To bolster your claims, you could also add credentials or experience:

I am a marketing specialist with ten years of industry experience and a proven track record in helping businesses reach their full potential.

Whether you use first person or third person in your brand statement is personal preference (just make sure you stick to one or the other). The main thing is keeping it short and informative.

Testing your brand statement

So you’ve crafted the perfect brand statement. Now what? It’s never a bad idea to test it out and see what people think. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re a business or individual, you can test the effectiveness of your brand statement by doing the following:

  • Ask someone you know: Whether it’s a friend or a business peer, asking someone who knows your business is a good way of gauging if your brand statement rings true.

  • Website surveys: Website surveys are a great way of figuring out whether your brand statement works because you can directly ask your target audience what they think. Keep the questions to a minimum (so as not to put them off) and ask them if they believe in your brand statement if it resonates with them, and if you lived up to your brand promise.

  • Focus groups: If you want to get a little more formal and in-depth, discussing the effectiveness of your brand statement with a focus group is a surefire way to find out if it works, and how it can be improved.


Conclusion

Writing a brand statement doesn’t have to be complicated. For businesses and individuals alike, if your brand statement effectively sums up who you are, what you do, and who you do it for, you’re on the right track to appealing to your target audience.

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