A Brand Discovery Framework

Lean and mean framework

Joana Vieira
6 min readMay 16, 2017


Hi there! This is a framework for people that wants to start strategically positioning their company. This was put together with the knowledge that I’ve been collecting through the years. This information came from people that I deeply admire but I never met. Very fortunately, they are kind enough to provide us with their knowledge and opinions through books, interviews, podcasts, essays, videos, etc. And, just like Michael Bierut suggests, I’m “highjacking my mentors”, collecting, organizing and forming my two cents on this big discipline that is Branding. If you’re curious about my amazing panel of oblivious mentors, check out the bottom of this page!

And I must say, nothing here is innovative or groundbreaking. This is an interpretation of knowledge and my take on something that is complex and extensive in order to make it leaner and a bit easier to work with.

This exercise should be done in a group, with committed people from different parts of your company and with a facilitator. Someone that understands the process, that which are the right questions and is able to guide the discussion.

Before you continue, don’t forget to check out Branding and the Power of Meaning since I make in there a case for Meaning and its importance within a Brand. I also make an introduction to Branding, its role and context in History.

But enough of this and let’s start!

Do you have a product-based company or a service-based company?

First things first, what’s my product/service?

We have to start somewhere and this is a good start. We are here because we have something that we want to offer, a product or a service. Ask yourself, what is that? Try to be concise in your answer and fill only the phrase that applies to your situation.

I create ____________(product)____________ .
I offer ____________(service)____________ .

(For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that we already did all the Research that is needed for your product/service and that everything is solid.)

This blobs might be your tribe!

Which tribe do I serve?

A tribe is a niche, a group of people that your customer belongs to and identifies with. The tribe shares values, interests, hobbies, ideas, needs and aspirations and you need to support it in order to gain its respect and appreciation. By being generous, brave and trustworthy, this tribe might become your fans and your army of loyal advocates.

“In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.” — Seth Godin

So, again. Which tribe do you serve? Take your time and think about it.

I serve ____________(tribe)____________ .

(If this concept of “Tribe” is messing with you, I would love you to read Seth Godin’s book, Tribes: We need you to lead us or watch this fantastic conversation on it. )

This is an impressed blob :)

Let’s align the Company with the Customers

Everything was cool until now, but you can blame Marty Neumeier for unknowingly teaching me what comes next (and a lot of what came before). All jokes aside, this beautiful table might seem daunting right now, but fear not! It just takes time, patience and lots of reflection to fill it.

What you are about to see is an exercise to make a brain dump about your Customers and Company. You have two columns, one for each. They were put together on a table to create alignment between the two and make sure that your company is matching your customer. Who they are, what they want and how they behave. For instance, the question “Why we exist?” should be aligned with the answer to “Who are they?”, and so on.

The questions inside each cell are functioning as guidelines for your thoughts. They will help you better understand what’s being asked and help you get to your best answers.

Don’t be shy and dump everything in there. Once you feel depleted, choose your top 3 answers in each cell, and then the top 1. Take your time and play around. Use Thesaurus to find synonymous and the best words to use, mix and match, don’t overthink but be super concise.

(I’m sorry Marty Neumeier if i’m butchering your table with my teaks.)

What do I get on the Customer’s side?

From the Customer’s column, we are able to get the Tribe’s identity, needs, behavior and a better understanding of the ones that belong to it.

And what do I get from the Company’s side?

From the Company’s column, we are able to get the four statements that will help you position your brand, access its values, establish a mission and root a vision. Now, we are starting to have a brand!


Vision Statement, your True North

Why are we here?
________________________PURPOSE (Vision)________________________.

Position Statement

Our brand is the only ___________(category of my business)___________ that ___________ONLYNESS (Differenciator)____________.

Values Statement

Our brand stands for ___________ATTRIBUTES (CoreValues)___________. It honours ________WAYS (Conduct)_________ and it celebrates it with a ___________TONE (Voice)___________ voice.

Mission Statement, the way to your True North

Our brand believes that/in ___________PURPOSE (Vision)____________ so we provide ____________ONLYNESS (Differenciator)______________ to ___________IDENTITY (Tribe)____________ in a ____________TONE (Voice) __________ personality. Is our mission to make sure that they feel ________ WISHES (Wants)________ by supporting their ___________WAYS (Conduct) ___________ and celebrating their _______PERSONALITY (Nature)________.

Nice! :) Now what?

Now we have something to work with! I must say, none of this statements or having the tribe’s identity does much on their own. We have to analyse it, start making more and more questions, observe, research, prototype, test, exercise our knowledge and make sure that everything we do is “on brand” (’cause we know that the brand is already “on tribe”).

I know, it feels like we just entered a room full of doors. But let’s make it an open space, filled with light and beautiful furniture, and we are going to parkour the sh*t out of it.

I don’t know how to parkour but I’ll do cartwheels!

I prepared a kit for you to print and use during your own Brand Discovery sessions! Feel free to use it and I hope it’s useful :)

My Panel of Oblivious Mentors of Branding

Marty Neumeier, Chris Do, Jose Caballer, Alina Wheeler, Seth Godin, Debbie Millman, Sasha Strauss, Yo Santosa, Simon Sinek and a bunch of awesome people that I don’t remember right now.

If you enjoyed this article and are curious about what do I do, check out my website on CrayCrayOwl.com or my page on Behance. Feel free to say something, open a discussion, leave a comment or just say “hi”! Also, here’s my email: joanabeco@gmail.com.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” — Maya Angelou



Joana Vieira

Brand Strategist + Designer of happy feelings @ weknowyou.co.ukcraycrayowl.com