Our 3-Step Methodology

BrandAlive has developed a 3-Step proprietary process to help individuals and organizations define and draft their brand strategy: brand story, brand architecture and brand positioning. We diligently follow the tenets of these three pillars in helping our clients in defining their brand strategy.

Step 1: Defining Your Brand Story

Your story becomes your marketing message; it’s what you tell your target audience. Your story, however, isn’t complete unless it encapsulates the inflection points of your life or organization. I could talk to you for an hour about who I am, but if I fail to convey my inflection points, i.e., the highs and lows of my life, you will never really know me. Because we all have blind spots when it comes to describing ourselves fully, it’s important to engage those closest to us, e.g., a spouse, sibling, confidant, colleague, or friend to help tell our story and reveal those blind spots. Together, we can use these insights to construct a robust story of who we are, ensuring we have a story worth telling.

Step 2: Defining Your Brand Architecture

Your architecture starts with your vision, mission, and purpose. Your vision is what the future looks like when you have arrived. Your mission is how you achieve your vision – the strategies you employ to get there. Your purpose explains why you are motivated to pursue your vision. Once we understand and capture our what, how and why, it is important for us to define our beliefs and values.

Our beliefs inform our values. It might be as simple as “I believe that it’s important to honor my commitments.” This may lead me to state that “I value people who do what they say.” After we define your beliefs and values, I will guide you in shaping your attributes, functional benefits, core message and emotional benefits. Our attributes describe who we are and what we are made of. Our attributes are statements beginning with “I am.” For example, “I am punctual. I am resilient. I am curious.”

Once you have clarity on your attributes, you can use them to describe how your target audience will benefit functionally from working with you. Your functional benefits are a product of your attributes and should mirror them. For example, if I am punctual, then my clients will benefit by my being engaged with them on time, every time. If I am resilient, my clients will benefit by my commitment to helping them get the job done. Finally, if I am curious, my clients will benefit by having me address their needs from multiple perspectives.

Once we understand our beliefs, values, attributes, and functional benefits, we then focus on defining our core message. Our core message is a succinct statement of what we want our target audience to know. My core message in this case could be, “You are in good hands with Pete.” Next, I will work with you to describe your emotional benefits. In other words, the benefits reflect how you make people feel. Continuing with my earlier example, my clients should feel valued, confident, and perhaps even excited about working with me.

Step 3: Defining Your Brand Positioning and Mantra

Once we have finished defining your brand architecture, I will then help you define your brand positioning. This includes defining who is your target audience. This description, at a minimum, should include a demographic (age, gender, race, etc.) and a psychographic (attitudes, aspirations, etc.) depiction of your target audience. And, whenever possible, we will work together to include the values of your target audience. I then help you define the problem your target audience is trying to solve and what his or her greatest need is. This could be a functional need, an emotional need, or both. Once we understand these two components, we then describe what value you bring, how that value can help address your target’s need and why you are in a position to make that claim. We then work together in documenting your capabilities and why you offer a better solution than your competition. Finally, I will work with you to identify “proof points” supporting all the claims you have made.

The final element we define is your brand mantra. The brand mantra is also called the brand essence or brand promise. It is a short three-to-five-word expression of the most important aspect of a brand and its core brand associations including the enduring “brand DNA” and the most important aspects of the brand. The brand mantra is an articulation of the “heart and soul” of the brand that captures the irrefutable spirit of the brand positioning. Its purpose is to ensure that all employees and external marketing partners understand what the brand most fundamentally is to represent to consumers.

When we are finished with these steps, we then take all of the elements of your brand architecture, including your essence, and weave them into your story. You will then begin to see how the inflection points in your life define who you are and what is important to you. Your beliefs and values serve to highlight the steps you have taken in your journey and frequently reveal your behaviors and character. Often an experience in one’s life motivates a person to take action to solve a problem for a particular group of individuals who may have experienced a similar struggle to what that person experienced. This experience motivates us to not only solve that person’s problem, but also to make her or him feel a certain way when then work with us. By including each of these elements in your story, it gains richness and relatability adding to its authenticity.


The fusion of these three pillars becomes your brand strategy and serves as the foundation for everything you do. It will serve as the lens from which you will make decisions, such as who to hire, what opportunities to go after, when to act, and where to go next. By completing your brand strategy, you will achieve a level of deep thinking needed to achieve this outcome. This will be a period of significant growth for you and others on your team. After you have written your brand strategy, you will think about things differently and more positively.

Think you’re ready to take the next step?

Reach out to Pete at pete@petecanalichio.com to take the next step in developing your brand strategy. For more specific requests, you can also reach out by filling out our contact form.

Want to Learn More?

BrandAlive offers two assessments that will allow you to decide what the next steps are for your brand. If you’re looking for a quick answer for if your brand is ready for the next step, I recommend you take our brand assessment quiz. For those with established brands, I developed an algorithm to allow people to determine whether their brand can be expanded, extended or licensed called the LASSO Algorithm. You can take either assessment by visiting our Brand Quiz page.