(My article in FORBES): How To Use The SSB Strategy When Building A Brand


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“Put the cart before the horse”

The whole process of creating a new identity for a project is far from simple; it’s a big jigsaw puzzle that consists of many components. It is unfortunate that some clients dive into this process without giving the priority to brand identity and value.


This might seem normal to several people who don’t understand the brand process but it’s actually a very destructive process – especially, if the aim is to build a balanced, strong, and consistent brand.

Many clients go ahead and plan their campaign extensively, not factoring the image, the story and how their brand is portrayed to their audience. This is a one-way relationship that will lead to a result with a flawed finish.

The brand should always be present from the beginning because it will be the façade of the project, whether through marketing, design, or simply interacting with the public.

How can we do that?

When manufacturing a jigsaw puzzle, we tend to create the whole picture first, and then we start to cut it up into parts. The same thing goes for any project. We need to envision the whole picture, then start with the execution, and only then, we will have a complete project with vivid features.

To reach the final step, we need to have a pre-planning process that has all the vital aspects of the project. This can be summed up into three words: Story, Strategy, and Brand (SSB).

The Story

This is the main component that carries all the principles, goals and characteristics of the project or brand. Simon Sinek has pointed this out in his book “Start with Why – The story indeed creates a spirit for the brand, which can ensure the regeneration of the content creation and consistency. Examples include Adidas, Apple, and Amazon – all of which have created compelling stories.

The Strategy

It is the roadmap for any project; the output of this step is to know the brand positioning in comparison with other competitors in the market, and what the brand promises and what it delivers. This is usually called the “tagline”, “Mantra” or “Slogan”. Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” is a good example.

The Brand

This part revolves around two things; the first is the “Brand Visual Identity”, which is inspired by the story and stimulated by the strategy like the Apple logo. The second part is the attitude, or what we call “Brand Culture”. It means rooting the brand’s values within the public, which can eventually result in what we call “User Experience” (UX).

What we really need when building a brand is not have it work partially but holistically through applying the SBB method. If we don’t, then we will not Put the Cart Before the Horse.

Jaafar Hamza is the CEO & Founder BOXOBIA