E very company—from the high-powered law firm to the top city restaurant, from a laundry detergent manufacturer to the little kid who sells lemonade on the street corner—has a brand.

Folks who start businesses or launch products (even companies that have millions of dollars in sales and have been in business for a long time) often spend so much time focused on the WHAT of their business that they forget the WHY and the HOW.

Companies *love* to talk about their product’s features or attributes.

But a brand is larger than a list of attributes. Consumers don’t relate to attributes.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, put it this way:

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

A brand is an image. A personality. A brand is a collection of aspirations you share with your customers.

Companies forget to explain concisely how what they do solves a problem their consumer has, or what makes them different from the guy down the street.
Even if you understand your brand’s image, style, and personality, if you are not able to communicate it to your viewer, then your brand is DOA. Dead on arrival.

Here are the components that make up a strong branding platform:

1. Mission Statement. The WHY.
2. Value Proposition. How you are different from the other guys.
3. Positioning. Your target market. The angle you are taking in the sea of other options.
4. Brand Promise. What you are promising to deliver on—every time.
5. Values & Pillars. The drivers behind your vision.
6. Rallying Cry. A strong statement that encapsulates your brand.
7. Talking Points. The phrases, terms, and talking points you always use when referring to your brand. The HOW.

This is your toolkit. Codify it. Canonize it. Wallpaper your wall with it. Stick it in your purse. Tattoo it on your arm. It’s the WHY and the HOW.

Your consumers will reward you for it.