How to build brand attributes

May 5, 2017


In our last post, “What are brand attributes?”, we discussed what makes a brand attribute, and the difference between “brand identity” and “brand image”. In this post, I am going to share some top tips and suggestions to help you build your own brand attributes.


When building brand attributes, the main goal is to achieve a consistency between the brand identity and brand image. Based on my experience, I have summarised the following steps:


Step 1: Understand your vision and objectives - where do you want to be?

The starting point is to define your business, products and/or services – see guideline below:


  • In a brainstorming session, write down every aspect you can think of - ask yourself:
    What is the collective personality of your organisation? How do you want to be perceived? Do these aspects reflect the company vision and objectives?

  • Make sure your attributes are sustainable. Building a brand is a long-term business, and therefore the brand attributes will evolve and be tested over time.

Step 2: Understand your target audience.

Since your brand image is how your audience perceive you, your brand attributes need to be relevant to your target audience: What are their needs and wants? What are their purchasing behaviours? What are their expectations? What inspires them?

TOP TIP: Create a typical customer profile - and even visualise this - so that everyone in the organisation clearly understands it.


Step 3: Identify your attributes.

Compare the aspects written down from Step 1 to the customer profile summarised in Step 2, and identity those attributes which are relevant to your target customers.


  1. Make sure you have a long-term view when you identify and select your attributes.

  2. There is no standard rule of how many attributes you should have. It depends on your business and your customers. However, it is important to be focused when you communicate your attributes, which I will talk about in Step 5.


Step 4: Categorise your attributes.

The purpose of categorising your attributes is to help you produce clear, focused and consistent communications.


I recommend two methods of categorisation, and I have used both in brand communications:


1. Functional, emotional and rational

Functional – What do you do and how do you work for the target audience? These are basic attributes that your target audience would expect from you. They are basic, but important. Always get the basic right first.


Emotional – What really touches your target audience? What makes your target audience believe you share the same values? What makes them feel better?


Rational – What is your uniqueness compared to your competitors? What actual, real benefits do you offer to your target customers?


2. Short-term, medium-term and long-term

Since I have been stressing the fact that we need to have a long-term view when developing brand attributes, we also need to choose ones which need communicating in the short-term, as well as ones required for the long-term. Otherwise, there is a risk that what we communicate to the target audience could be confusing and not relevant.


Step 5: Communicating the brand attributes.

Customers form an image of your brand based on their experience with your products, service, people and communications.


I see communications as two parts: one is customer touch points, and the other is media communication. Whichever it is, everything needs to focus on the decided brand attributes. Customer touch points need to be carefully designed, customer facing staff need to be trained, and a media communication plan needs to be developed and executed.


TOP TIP: Focus, focus, focus; consistent, consistent, consistent. These are the two key things when communicating brand attributes. A brand image is what your target audience forms in their mind about you - therefore, sending clear, focused, and consistent messages is essential.


I hope this two-part blog gives you a greater insight into brand attributes and how you can make these really work for your own brand.


If you have any questions relating to this blog, or you need advice on branding, please feel free to contact me.

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