A brand bible is the foundation you build your brand on – and with a brand bible template, crafting a great brand bible isn’t an onerous task.
The template you’re about to discover actually comes in an interactive, downloadable form. That’s right, you can write your answers right in the document. Make sure you download it!
What a brand bible template delivers
Over the years, I’ve crafted brand bibles for clients large and small. Here are a few samples of what they deliver:
- For Spirit Bay, a brand bible enabled the large team (everyone from art directors to inside salespeople to realtors) to tell the same story. Check out a few of those stories here.
- For SISU, a brand bible made the brand transition clear. Interesting side story – SISU had been purchased when we got involved, with the intent of a 3x sale in 18 months. Mission accomplished, with no ‘fixes’ to the company outside of the brand. Here are some samples of the brand we built .
- For Sunoco, a brand bible opened the door for a creative transition from our team to Sunoco employees, without losing brand integrity. Over the course of 2 years, hundreds of ads were produced – most of them by Sunoco employees! Here’s a selection of those ads.
Brand bible template step 1: Why do you exist?
Think hard. Why did you start the business in the first place? Don’t say ‘to make money’. That’s a by-product. The truth is, you had a personal mission, a deep down desire, a need that was very human, emotional and un-businesslike.
Write down your top 5 answers. Sleep on it, and eliminate a few. Sleep on it again, and come up with 1 reason that gives you goosebumps.
Step 2: What do you do best?
Now comes the audience participation part.
Write down the 3 things your business does better than any of its competitors.
Now ask your business partner (if you have one) or your most trusted employee to do the same. Remember to tell them to be honest – if they just parrot what you said because they’re afraid to cross you, this exercise is pointless.
Next, ask your significant other, or your best friend to do the same.
Next, ask 3 of your best customers.
Finally, ask 3 suppliers, investors, or other folks with a vested interest in your success.
Soooooo, is there 1 thing everyone agrees on? Write it down. We’re getting somewhere.
Step 3: What are your values?
If your company were a person, what values would define it? Is it loving? Is it humble? Is it ambitious, amiable, comforting, quirky?
Go ahead, write down your top 5. Sleep on it. Cross out a few and add a few. Sleep on it. Now narrow it down to your top 3.
Step 4: Who are you selling to?
Imagine your best customer.
Now describe that customer. What do they look like? Are they married, with kids? How old are they? What are their priorities in life? What are their greatest pleasures, and what makes them nuts? What drives them toward your brand, and how does your brand make them feel? Do you have a picture of your typical customer (feel free to clip one from Google Images – it doesn’t have to be an actual customer).
Write a few paragraphs describing your customer. Half a page to a full page would be great.
Step 5: Does your brand have a story?
No business just happens. Somewhere, somebody had an idea, an itch to scratch, and the business was born. Can you tell that story?
Maybe this business wasn’t started by you. If you don’t know the story of the founder’s motivation and journey, maybe tell us why you bought the business.
If it’s a new business, perhaps you can tell what the story will be in the future. If you were suddenly 5 years in the future and you looked back, what milestones would your business have hit?
Step 6: What brands would your brand hang out with?
Most folks get tongue-tied defining their brand. But they have no trouble saying ‘My restaurant is like the Apple Computer of restaurants’ or ‘My dry cleaning store is the Toyota Prius of dry cleaners.’
So what brands is your brand like? Why?
Step 7: What words do you associate with your brand?
You have 15 minutes to write down as many words as possible that you’d associate with your brand.
Step 8: What’s the essence of your brand?
Congratulations, this is the final question.
If you had 10 seconds to tell me what your brand does best and what makes it unique, what would you say?
If you told me this in an elevator, would it impress me? Would it make me think you were onto something big? If not, give it another try.
There are 2 things that can happen now.
- You can use your answers as they are. They’ll function well to define your brand. That, in turn, will help you (and anyone doing your communications work) keep your brand focused and consistent.
- You can talk to us about whipping this information into a truly awesome Brand Bible. Tweaking your language. Adding vibrant visuals and graphic design. Pushing you to make it more inspiring. If you’d like to see how good this can get, ask us for excerpts from other client brand bibles.