Workbook Brand-Building:

How to turn your Business (Idea) into a Strong Brand




Workbook Brand-Building: How to turn your Business (Idea) into a Strong Brand

What is this book about?

As marketing professor at emlyon business school, I am concentrating on how to create luxury / high-end brands since many years. A big part of the brand-building process deals with the creation of ‘meaning’. In fact, building a brand is about developing ‘brand identity.’ After working with various high-end brands over the years, I realized that the existing frameworks miss some aspects and do not  cover the full spectrum of brand meaning.




Brand-Building Canvas

In my lectures as well as in consulting projects, I made much use of the ‘Business-building Canvas’ (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010), a very useful tool to think through business ideas. However, entrepreneurs never just create a business – but they always need to create a brand at the same time. Today, the ‘symbolic meaning’, the brand’s vision and story are not just a nice add-on, but in many cases the central idea of a new business. Most young entrepreneurs do not just want to make money, but create purpose-driven brands. Building a business and building a brand are so closely intertwined that it is actually the same thing. Therefore, I combined the ‘Business-building Canvas’ with the brand identity framework into the ‘Brand-building Canvas. ’


Brand-Building Canvas




Brand Identity Template


The Brand-Identity Template

The key component of the Brand-Building Canvas is the brand identity framework, which provides the foundation of this book.




What are the main Branding Strategies the Book draws on?


Identity-driven Branding:  Expand details...

While positioning-based (mass) marketing aims at defining and constantly adapting its market positioning according to market research and consumer surveys, identity-driven (high-end) brand management means deriving the brand philosophy from inner beliefs and visions. The major challenge of identity-driven branding is to find out what a brand should actually stand for – to develop brand identity: a detailed construction plan of brand meaning. For many lifestyle brands, symbolic benefits even exceed functional product benefits. This means that big parts of product benefits are not made in the factory, but in the marketing department (Heine et al., 2018).

Purpose-driven BrandingExpand details...

As customers are increasingly interested in understanding the brand purpose, character, culture and business practices, successful brands focus on ‘why’ they do what they do, instead of what they’re selling. Purpose-driven entrepreneurs pursue innovations in culture & society, not in products. The major challenge of purpose-driven branding is to find a relevant band purpose, to embed it into the brand’s vision – and ideally, combine it with life goals of the target customers.

Personality-driven BrandingExpand details...

The personality-driven approach to branding can complement identity-driven branding and take it one step further. Drawing on the concept of anthropo­morphization, the central idea of personality-driven branding is to enliven a brand in the minds of brand managers and company employees (MacInnis and Folkes, 2017). Instead of describing a brand’s personality with just a few terms, managers should have a metaphoric picture in mind about what kind of person their brand represents, just as if they would think about a ‘real’ person: What are the brand personality’s goals in life? What is her/his lifestyle? How does s/he look like? How would s/he design a website or flyer? Developing a brand personality allows you to create meaning, to know much better what and whom your brand should actually represent. Personality-driven branding sees the brand personality as an intentional agent and the focal point for brand management, who guides all branding decisions and provides inspiration. If all employees were to align their actions with the desired brand personality, the organization would appear to act as one person (Heine et al., 2018).

Personal brandingExpand details...

In the 19th century, it was common that a manufacturer would vouch for the quality of his products with his family name. Companies were ‘humanized’ as their founders and owners were their public faces, which helped building personal and trustworthy relationships with customers. Today, customers still want to connect names and faces to the brands they like as much as they did a century ago. The point of giving your brand a face is turning it into a human-like relationship partner (Fournier and Alvarez, 2012). A person selected as the brand’s public face should be developed as a ‘personal brand’ that is representing the company. One of the major success drivers for self-employed people in creative industries, such as designers, artists, chefs, or architects, is to turn themselves into a ‘person brand.’


To build what Type of Brands?


High levels of ‘symbolic meaning’ is what all the following types of brands have in common: By creating strong symbolic benefits, identity-driven branding is turning functional brands into lifestyle brands. Many lifestyle brands are high-end or luxury brands, also because of the costs of creating symbolic benefits. While luxury brands focus on prestige, many high-end brands concentrate on excellence. Not all, but many identity-driven entrepreneurs pursuit a higher purpose beyond money-making, to make a positive change in the world around them. Purpose-driven brands are often also alternative brands, which look for new ways to help people, society or nature, including cultural, sustainable, or spiritual brands.





Contents Overview


This Book is structured by the main Steps of Building a Brand:


Introduction: The Starting Point: What is your Ikigai, your Purpose in Life? What is your Business Idea?

Foundations: The Brand-building Framework: What is Brand Identity? What is the Logic of the Brand-building Canvas?

Main Part: Build your Brand: How to Complete the Brand-building Blocks?

Step 1: Brand Vision: How to come up with your Brand Vision, Mission & Purpose?

Step 2: Products: What should be your Value Proposition & Brand Qualities? How to achieve Brand Authority?

Step 3: Target Customers: How to connect your Customer’s Life Goals with the Purpose of your Brand?

Step 4: Brand Character: How to create Brand Personality, Brand Culture and an overarching Brand Theme?

Step 5: Relationships: What are the Options for your Brand’s Customer Relationship Type, Role & Tone of Voice?

Step 6: Touchpoints: How to derive your Brand-Customer Touchpoints from Customer Journey Mapping?

Step 7: Brand Expression: How to symbolize what you want your Brand to stand for ? How to make your brand recognizable?





Book Preview, section Prototypical Users

Book Preview, section Brand-Personality

Book Preview, section Brand-Culture






For whom is this Book?


  • Entrepreneurs
    who want to set-up a high-end, cultural or alternative business, not only to make money, but for a good purpose, ideally, to fulfil their life purpose through their business. Therefore, they need to have an overview of the main concepts of brand-building, specify their brand vision & mission and what their brand should stand for – to turn their business idea into a strong brand.
  • Brand managers

    who want to rethink their branding strategy and what their brand should stand for, possibly to upgrade their mass-market brand into a high-end brand, to develop their functional brand into a lifestyle brand, reposition their brand, create brand meaning and symbolic benefits, come up with a brand vision, mission and purpose and connect their brand purpose with the life goals of their customers.

  • People businesses
    such as architects, designers, artists, craftsmen, chefs, and other creatives, but, in fact, all small and medium-sized companies and family businesses that are ready to guarantee the quality of their products and the good intentions of their business practices with the best sign of trust: their own name – and thus, turn themselves into a ‘person brand’.







Publication date: 11.11.2018, last updated: 28.12.2018