Brand Strategy Framework Template & Examples

Oct 20, 2022

Does the thought of creating a brand strategy framework intimidate you? It’s a concept that is too often overly complicated and filled with jargon and unfamiliar terms, making almost any business owner shy away. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. Certainly, there is work to be done to achieve a successful brand strategy, but it’s something even the uninitiated can tackle with great success.

What is a brand strategy, and why is it important?

How well do you understand your brand? Do your customers perceive it the same way you do? Successfully defining your company and brand image does more than build awareness; it identifies and differentiates your product or service from your competitors. Proper construction and careful management of your brand can take a struggling business and transform it into a roaring success. And a properly built marketing strategy framework is the foundation of that success.

Your brand strategy is nothing more than a framework for all your sales and marketing efforts representing your brand. Whether you’re an established business or a brand-new start-up, branding will be a critical element in your growth and potential success. Your brand, however, cannot work for you without a solid strategy behind it. Creating a brand strategy is the architecture that envelops the plans and tactics you will use to establish a competitive advantage and create brand equity in the marketplace.

Brand strategy templates

A branding framework will serve to shape the perception of your business in the market and, if properly executed, will make it more appealing to your customers than the alternatives. It defines your brand’s approach to who gets targeted, how, and with what messages. It is the starting point for all your communications and will influence your buyers’ decisions.

Don’t be confused; brand building strategy is NOT the listing of individual marketing tactics, like content marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media. Similarly, your brand is not simply the logo and colors and advertising that face your buyers. Your company’s identity is based on the personality you design for it—its purpose, mission, vision, and values.

A good amount of scholarly research has been done on the concept of brand awareness and the creation of brand equity. Let’s take a look at a sample of branding strategy models that can illustrate brand equity and help you build a stronger brand.

Aaker brand strategy framework

In the 1990s, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, David Aaker, introduced his concept that interprets brand equity as a combination of a brand’s awareness, loyalty, and perceived quality. These are the assets that help a company increase the value of its products or services, with several benefits for the customer.

Aaker’s model stresses research: know your market and your competitors and be able to honestly evaluate your own purpose. With those in place, you have the necessary research you need to influence the various steps in the framework. In short, his concept asserts successful brand equity makes you uber-relevant, and your business will succeed not because you are better but because you have made the other brands not relevant. 

Keller brand strategy framework

An alternative to Aaker’s is the Keller model. Marketing and branding expert Kevin Lane Keller developed his Customer-Based Brand Equity Model, which relies on four fundamental questions about your brand a customer will want answers to. They are:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you?
  • What do I think or feel about you?
  • How much of a connection would I like to have with you?

Keller believes that without customer perception, there is no brand, so you must shape the way your customers think and feel about your brand. In Keller’s model, a customer’s brand experience needs to be so positive that they are willing to personally advocate for it. 

While Keller’s model is based on the emotional response that the brand creates, Aaker’s is more concerned with the brand’s recognition—how well it is known and what it is known for. Both models are widely accepted, but because Keller’s model requires fewer customers and relies on strong relationships beyond the purchase, it is considered particularly suitable for B2B applications. On the other hand, Aaker’s approach is better for products that are mass-produced and in a market filled with competitors where the images associated with the brand can be more impactful.

Successful brand strategy examples

Here are three brand framework examples from companies that successfully invented and implemented brand strategies.


With established Mexican fast-food giant Taco Bell dominating the marketplace, Chipotle understood that consumers were more health-conscious and aware of what they were eating and where it came from. Chipotle chose to source ingredients from farms instead of factories and eliminated artificial fillers and flavors. They also correctly determined that millennials cared about brands with values and would support their company’s mission: “Real is better. Better for You, Better for People, Better for Our Planet. It’s not enough to just taste good anymore.” 

Dollar Shave Club

This subscription razor service disrupted the men’s grooming products industry by focusing on the promises of simplicity and honesty. The company simplified the archaic process of purchasing razors and developed an alternative where, for as little as $1 per month, they would deliver their own premium razor brand via mail. They made the buyer’s journey easy and made the buyer feel like part of an exclusive club.

Trader Joe’s

With a variety of high-quality food at low prices and a clever injection of fun into the retail space, Trader Joe’s differentiated itself from competitors as a “national chain of neighborhood grocery stores.” The company’s largest marketing expense is sampling, choosing to focus on existing shoppers to increase basket size. While the stores are smaller than all their major competitors, they successfully compete with premium food brands like Whole Foods.

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Creating your own brand

If by now, you have enough of an understanding of brand, brand equity, and how to develop a branding strategy, it may be time for you to work on creating or enhancing your own brand through the following five steps:

1. Identify your target market

Your messaging and imagery should be unique to one target demographic segment. Cast too wide a net, and you’ll end up being less relevant to any individual within that group. Targeting the right audience is key.

2. Research your competitors’ brands

It’s important that you do not simply try to adopt competitors’ qualities and appropriate them for your own brand. Rather, you should examine what motivated their choices and use that insight in the next step.

3. Create a unique value proposition

Why should a customer choose your product or service? Identify what makes you unique. Use your differentiators to make yourself stand out in the marketplace.

4. Define your brand as a “person”  

Try to assign human qualities to your brand. Record a list of adjectives that describe your brand. It could be conservative or nontraditional; dependable or quirky; cooperative or rebellious. If your brand were a person, would it be young or old? Is it a man or a woman? Are they loud or quiet? Elegant or rugged? Is it humble or boisterous? The possibilities are endless and up to you to customize.

5. Focus on messaging 

A good message should be simple, engaging, and memorable and lead to a purchase decision. Emphasize what is different, fresh, and new, and choose words that evoke emotion. 

Expand and develop your brand

Increasing your brand value isn’t an overnight action but rather a long-term strategy to grow and strengthen your business. Remember that your brand strategy is the sum of what your business does and why it exists. Its job is to define everything that goes into your brand and sets it apart from the competition, along with exactly how you want your customers to perceive it. Until you are able to identify what makes your brand different, how can you expect your customers to do so?

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