What Is Brand Philosophy?

[+How To Find Yours]

Brand philosophy is not a term you come across often.

You’ve heard of brand purpose, brand values and brand promise no doubt.

Each of these terms have thousands of articles written about them and are part of the usual suspects when it comes to brand strategy elements.

But brand philosophy?

What’s it all about and why is it important?

That’s what you’re about to learn in this article.

Brand philosophy is not a term you come across often.

You’ve heard of brand purpose, brand values and brand promise no doubt.

Each of these terms have thousands of articles written about them and are part of the usual suspects when it comes to brand strategy elements.

But brand philosophy?

What’s it all about and why is it important?

That’s what you’re about to learn in this article.

What Is A Brand Philosophy?

The most iconic and most loved brands in the world all share a common characteristic.

They’re all abundantly clear “who they are” and are obsessive in shaping their audience’s perception so they are seen and experienced in that light.

These characteristics point to self-assured brands that have a clear understanding of the role they play in the lives of their audience and why they play that role in that way.

This understanding of self all plays a role in a brand’s philosophy, which can be described in the following way.

Brand Philosophy Definition

Brand Philosophy refers to the brand’s “Way of doing things” and the belief in that method.

It answers the question:

What is “Our Way” and why is that important to us?

Why Is Brand Philosophy So Important?

A brand philosophy is not something that’s commonly placed on a website or within a brand’s collateral as many of the other traditional brand element statements cover much of the brand’s philosophy.

That said, a well-developed philosophy can become a powerful internal tool that the brand representatives can come together on and get behind.

If you develop every suggested brand statement, you won’t have a shortage of statements your brand can use as a mantra.

Brand Purpose

Brand Vision

Brand Mission

Brand Values

Brand Promise

Unique Selling Proposition

Value Proposition

In theory, any one of these statements could represent the brand’s war cry, however, the brand philosophy uncovers a little more.

When a brand is clear on exactly what “our way” is, it takes on a sense of pride.

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Brand Purpose vs Brand Philosophy

With all this talk of “believe” and “beliefs”, it would be easy to say “Right, so the philosophy is the brand purpose”, but it’s not.

Brand Purpose
[Belief Of Existence]

Brand purpose is the brand’s “Why” beyond commercial intent.

It answers the question:

  • “Why do we do what we do aside from commercial intent?”

The answer to this question provides a “reason for being” and a “belief of existence”.

Brand Philosophy
[Belief Of Methodology]

Brand Philosophy goes beyond the simple reasoning of existence and isolates the belief behind not just “why the brand does what it does”. But “Why it does it in that way”

  • When a brand can confidently describe what “Our Way” is, it has a brand philosophy.

A Brand’s Philosophies Are Many 

While your brand’s purpose is tied directly to the role you play in the lives of your audience (i.e. your shared beliefs), your brand philosophy shines a light on your brand’s approach.

It’s important to note here, that brands can have many philosophies.

When we think about our own lives, we may have a variety of philosophies for:

How we treat people

How we do business

How hard we work

Who we give our time to

How to spend our money

All of these individual philosophies shape “how we live our lives” and collectively they make up

“Our way”

or

“Who we are”

Likewise, your brand has many different philosophies, which are represented in the individual brand elements, which include

Purpose

Vision

Mission

Values

Differentiators

Market Position

Personality

Tone Of Voice

Message

These elements represent individual philosophies which shape

“Our way”

or

“Who we are”

How To Discover Your Brand Philosophy

Discovering your brand philosophy requires an important internal analysis into the importance of your brand’s individual philosophies.

Collectively, these make up our beliefs and some beliefs will be more important than others.

Step #1
Narrow Your Philosophies

Just as we are all individual people, the same is true for brands.

Some of our personal philosophies represent who we are more closely than others and would therefore better serve as “the philosophy we live by”.

This is how we need to approach the philosophy of our brand.

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Step #2
Identify Your Method

Throughout the brand strategy there are many strategic elements all playing a role in shaping how the brand engages with its audience.

There are three elements however, that shape the brand’s “method”, more effectively than the others.

They are:

Brand Mission (Commitments)

Brand Values (Behaviours)

Brand Position (Difference + Value)

These elements define:

What the brand is committed to

How it behaves

How It’s Different

The Value It Offers

In other words, these elements define the brand’s “Methodology” or “How they do things”.

They answer the question:

What is “Our Way” and why is that important to us?

Step #3
Distill Into A Mantra

Each of these brand elements should already have individual statements, which are:

The Brand Mission

The Values Statement

The Positioning Statement

Distill these three statements into an individual statement that answers the question:

What is “Our Way” and why is that important to us?