How to Build a Brand to Change your World

A step-by-step brand-building workbook for high-end cultural & creative brands
to rethink your branding strategy or to create a powerful brand from scratch.



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

Create a Brand with more Depth and more Meaning

Many businesses do not really know what they want to stand for. But consumers are increasingly judging brands by what they believe in, stand for, and do in the world. Identity-driven branding concentrates on who made something (Brand Personality & Culture), why (Brand Vision &  Purpose), and how (Brand Values). Leaving brands and products ‘naked’ without a compelling brand identity, is a wasted opportunity to create value for customers and competitive advantage for the brand.

A big part of the brand-building process deals with the creation of ‘meaning’. Building a brand is about developing brand identity. And brand identity planning is a brand’s DNA configuration. It helps to create a brand’s unique fingerprint, to give it an aura and soul, and a personality all of its own.

As marketing professor at emlyon business school, I focus on ‘how to build high-end brands’ and especially on 'how to create brand identity’ since many years. And that’s also what this book concentrates on: How to create brand meaning. The third chapter introduces the brand identity planning model: The Brand-Building Canvas including the Brand-Self-Seven. Step-by-step, you will learn how to build a brand and find out what you want your brand to stand for – by moving through a separate section for each of the brand identity building-blocks.




Build a Business & a Brand

Entrepreneurs never just create a business – they always need to create a brand at the same time. Building a business also means building a brand. The starting point of this book is a business idea or an established business that wants to rethink its branding. The second chapter gives an overview about how to come up with a business idea, the typical business models of (high-end) start-ups and the key factors for evaluating new business ideas.

Changing your World

Strong brands are driven by a desire to change the world. For the beginning, it’s enough to change ‘your world’ – the world around you. The book explains how you can make your customers see that there is a higher purpose for your company beyond just making money, and how to specifically define that greater end.


Brand-Building Canvas




Brand-Building is also a Process of Self-Discovery

Developing an identity-driven brand requires, first of all, to understand your own identity: Who do you want to be? The first chapter introduces the Japanese concept of ikigai that teaches us that we can fulfill our ‘reason for being‘ through our brand, to find a higher purpose that motivates us to jump out of bed in the morning. The book then outlines a brand-building process that is also a self-discovery process (including self-exploration exercises and personality tests).

Make use of Consumer Psychology

This book connects brand-building with consumer psychology. It explains five techniques to uncover deep-rooted Consumer Insights, to connect your customer’s life goals with the purpose of your brand. It describes how to make use of the main frameworks of consumer behavior (e.g. personality dimensions, archetypes, values, emotions & lifestyles) to better understand your customers and who you want your brand to stand for (your Brand Personality). It also outlines the major branding success factors based on research in psychology and persuasion techniques.





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. But it's quite a challenge to find a meaningful band purpose – and, ideally, to 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.’


What's included?

  • Brand-building toolkit: A modular system of brand-building templates based on the Brand-Building Canvas
  • Many real-life examples and case studies illustrate the success drivers of high-end brand-building
  • How-to-Boxes explain how to apply useful brand-building and market research techniques in practice
  • Decision-Boxes provide an overview about all the typical options you have at a particular stage of brand-building (e.g. the types of Brand Archetypes, Brand Origin, Brand Lifestyle, Brand-Customer Relationships)
  • Checklists summarize the do's and don'ts of brand-building
  • About 160 pages (A4, ready to print)





A Brand-Building Workbook for High-end Cultural & Creative Brands

The book concentrates on building identity-driven brands, especially high-end cultural & creative brands, lifestyle brands and alternative brands, including sustainable, eco and also spiritual brands. These are often family-run businesses – from handicraft manufacturers, fashion brands, hotels and alternative healthcare and high-tech companies, to people businesses like architects and dentists. They have much in common: Often strong regional roots, the combination of tradition & innovation, their striving for excellence, individualized (instead of mass-produced) products & services, and great passion for what they do.



For whom is this book?


  • For Entrepreneurs
    who want to improve the branding strategy of their existing brand or set-up a new high-end, cultural & creative brand. Before starting to work with advertising agencies, they may want to get an overview of the marketing language and the main concepts of brand-building.

  • For Brand Managers

    who want to rethink their branding strategy and what they would like their brand to stand for, possibly to upgrade their mass-market brand into a high-end brand, to come up with a brand vision, mission and purpose or to develop their functional brand into an identity-driven / lifestyle brand.

  • For 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’.





Brand Identity Planning WORKBOOK




Contents Overview


The book is structured by the steps of the brand-building process. These are the main chapters:


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

Foundations: The Brand Identity Planning Model: 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?








Publication date: 11.11.2018, last updated: 5.2.2019