January 20, 2022

The Brand Building Honeycomb

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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5 min read

The idea of the honeycomb isn’t something new that has been invented. I first came across Peter Morville’s honeycomb for user experience design which explains the various facets of the user experience design. Furthermore, I also discovered a honeycomb for social media which was created by Jan Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, and Ian McCarthy.

I love brand building— so naturally, I was curious to know if a similar concept was made for brand building. To my surprise, it wasn’t findable, which led me to the opportunity of molding a honeycomb for brand building.

Even though the opportunity to make one was there, I was left with the question: what are the most essential facets when it comes to building a brand?

Since I had to fit the essentials into 7 building blocks, I put the project on pause, until it hit me as I came across an old tweet I wrote. The tweet was about my interpretation of what the essence of a brand contains.

The big WHY is — why make one?

Building a brand can be a tedious process. And where should you even start in order to build a solid foundation? The brand building honeycomb is a culmination of past experiences doing branding work and reading a bunch of books and articles which led me to see this pattern recognition.

The seven building blocks of the brand building honeycomb consists of:

  • Purpose
  • Vision/mission
  • Values
  • Personality
  • Target audience
  • Value proposition
  • Positioning
Brand building Honeycomb Diagram

Diving deeper with the seven blocks of the honeycomb for brand building

The purpose of the honeycomb for brand building is not to end the brand building process, but to have a solid foundation you can further build upon. Each of the blocks can give you the opportunity to have a starting point for conversations with your team. In this article, I will dive into some examples of questions that can be applied to ignite conversations:

Purpose

The reason for your existence in the first place. As the author of the book Start With Why Simon Sinek says: WHY do you get out of bed every morning, and WHY should anyone care?

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • What human problem do you exist to solve?
  • What’s the unique contribution you make?
  • Why should anyone care?

Vision/mission

The vision is about the future state that you aim to build in pursuit of your purpose. It’s an envisioned world that does not yet exist, but you will commit yourself to achieving it. The mission on the other hand is how you go about achieving that future state — your vision.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • What would the world look like if you fulfilled your purpose?
  • What would the world look like politically, economically, socially, and technologically?
  • What master plan will you create in order to pursue your vision?

Values

The values are a set of actionable guiding principles in which you abide by and hold yourself accountable. Values articulated as verbs make it easier to understand and take action.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What really matters to you?

Personality

This is about the human characteristics you want your brand to be associated with to relate and resonate with your target audience.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • If your brand was a person what would it look like, sound like, and behave like?

Target audience

The intended audience you want to approach with your product or service to solve their problems. Without an audience, there’s no value in what you have to offer and sell.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • What’s their story?
  • What do they believe in, what do they value, and what’s their lifestyle like?
  • What challenges do they experience, and what worries them?

Value proposition

Is the value you promise to deliver to your target audience. It tells why your product or service is best suited for them.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • How does your product or service fulfill a need?
  • What are the benefits of your product or service?

Positioning

It’s a strategic decision to occupy a distinctive place in your audience’s mind. It’s about how your audience perceives your product or service relative to the competition.

Questions to ignite conversations:

  • What’s the position you own or want to own?
  • What unique niche can you take in the market?
  • What distinguish your product or service from the competition?

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, the idea for the brand building honeycomb is to have a focus point for the most important facets of brand building. It’s not a tool that should end the brand building process — but to be used as a checklist during planning, evaluation, and when you and the team is coming up with strategic decisions.

“Here’s what is exciting about sharing ideas with others: If you share a new idea with ten people, they get to hear it once and you get to hear it ten times.” — Jim Rohn

I would love to hear your thoughts on this as the article was about my interpretation of how I see what’s most essential in brand building. Each facet of the brand building honeycomb can be as extensive as it needs to be for each individual brand or company to delve into. Other tools or exercises can be implemented in each facet, which I will talk about in another article.


References:

Start With Why — by Simon Sinek
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind — by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Value Proposition Design— by Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, et al.
This Is Marketing — by Seth Godin
Creative Strategy and the Business of Design — by Douglas Davis
Brand Zag — by Marty Neumeier

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