An illustration of creative workers developing a brand voice and strategy

Brand Identity Series, Part 5: Brand Ecosystem

Brand Identity part 5: Brand Ecosystem
Illustration of a brand brain storm, including all the elements of a brand identity

You’ve seen how core values, a strong brand foundation and a solid written and visual brand strategy come together to bring a brand from idea to reality.

Now it’s time to take the final step in our Brand Identity Series and start meeting your communication goals with an audience-focused strategy.

Since this involves diverse but interrelated elements coexisting in balance and harmony, we like to think of this as your Brand Ecosystem. Seen as a whole, your unique Brand Ecosystem illustrates how people experience and engage with your brand. While the details of your organization mean you have your own unique Brand Ecosystem, the four main elements involved are relatively consistent from brand to brand:

A creative working on colors and brand strategy.

Communications Strategy
Your brand identity (including mission, vision and values) informs a central communications strategy that positions your brand with your two key audience groups: internal and external. This strategy is all about setting a vision for how your brand can and should engage with the people you seek to connect with.

Your internal audience group consists of employees and stakeholders, investor partners and shareholder partners while your external audience group includes target personas, potential investors and members of regions or communities. It’s important to remember that each of these audiences will have perspectives and expectations different from the others. Understanding how your brand fits into those behaviors and motivations is a key part of the Brand Ecosystem.

Attached to each audience are goal-oriented initiatives that set, evolve or reinforce your brand positioning. For internal audiences, these initiatives can include culture-building, recruiting, retention or stewardship and education. For external An illustration of creative workers developing a brand voice and strategyaudiences, these initiatives often mirror a consumer journey and include awareness-building, trust-building, ambassador-building and ongoing stewardship. Creating initiatives that are accountable to agreed-upon goals and measurable data is essential for making sure your branding and communication efforts are doing their job.

Channel Activation
Each initiative is then tied to the appropriate channel activation. This requires exploring all the media channels available for your brand and understanding how to most effectively mix owned, earned and shared opportunities to achieve each initiative within given budget and time factors. It’s through these channels that your audiences will engage with your brand’s messaging and its look and feel so monitoring media performance and regularly reporting results will help continually improve your brand communication efforts so you can maximize efficiency and effectiveness over time.

For a peek at what a healthy and vibrant Brand Ecosystem can look like in practice, check out this example.