Through years of managing and marketing globally renowned brands, I’ve had the opportunity to ingest, study, and extrapolate the fundamental pieces that are necessary to craft and sharpen an entity’s brand.

I created a framework of these pieces based on my professional experience called The 5 Ps to Branding.


First, we ground ourselves in the basics of branding.

What is a brand?

A brand is a perception of an entity, like a business, organization, movement, or person. To break it down even further, it is a collection of abstract characteristics (i.e. values) and tangible assets (i.e. products) that is identifiable, evoke emotion, and drive action in others.

 

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is the essence of a person and his or her journey that is perceivable by others. It’s an alignment of the internal narrative and external showcasing that exhibits one’s point of view, values, and differentiating qualities.

You can read about my personal anecdote regarding personal branding on my blog.

 

Why is branding important?

If you own a business…

Laying a fortified foundation of what your brand stands for and does is paramount in connecting and cultivating relationships with your ideal customers. There is no shortage of brands today, but the ones that are building loyalty are the ones that do more than just promise a good product or service. They deliver meaning and purpose in their existence. 

If you don’t own a business but want to contribute value at your workplace, to your network, and relationships…

How you show up matters. The more you understand yourself, the more articulate you can be in explaining how you fit into someone else’s world. And it becomes clearer how other people fit in and contribute to your world. The key here is putting forth the work to excavate your essence and aligning your actions to it.


Now let’s dive into the The 5 Ps to Branding framework.

In this exercise, not one piece of the puzzle can stand on its own, and it is pertinent to work through each “P,” look at the framework holistically, iterate, and repeat until the brand’s narrative comes together. As each part of the framework is worked through, you’ll notice that they are interrelated and interdependent. The repeated iterations will bring clarity to a clearer picture on the brand’s reason for existence (known as the purpose).

More importantly, the process must be iterated even once a brand launches into the market as consumer feedback will help to shape and guide the brand, as well. How the market receives the brand is difficult to predict even with thorough market research. The key in any brand evolution is to ensure that changes are implemented with a strong reason as unwarranted pivots can easily lead to becoming a copycat brand that will lose its relevancy and consumer base.

Here are The 5 Ps to Branding:

1. PERSPECTIVE: Lens

  • What are the aspirations and tensions that you see when you observe at the world around you?

  • What are the desires and frictions of the people you serve?

  • For personal branding, specifically:

    • What are your fears and motivations?

    • Is there something deeper, like an aspiration, you haven’t embraced out of fear?

    • Among your achievements, which were driven by internal versus external motivations?

    • How have these two factors affected your journey thus far?

  • How can this perspective help you to identify the appropriate people you serve, create a solution for them by leveraging your power, or navigate towards your purpose?

2. PRINCIPLES: Values

  • What values are important to you?

  • What are you most proud of?

  • Reflecting on experiences, were there any moments that you felt were in violation of your values? What would be the opposite of those violations?

  • What types of stories inspire you?

3. POWER: Strengths

  • What makes you unique?

  • What’s your special strength or secret sauce?

  • Is there something that only you can offer?

  • What is the essential trait of what you have to offer to the people you serve?

4. PEOPLE: Audience

  • Who do you desire to serve?

  • Who do you best connect with?

  • What are the qualities of the people who resonate with you and your purpose?

5. PURPOSE: Reason for Existence

  • What do you believe is your reason for existence?

  • What is your mission?

  • What is the impact you want to create?

  • Does your purpose:

    • Address your perspective?

    • Align with your principles?

    • Leverage your power?

    • Motivate the people you serve?