Still to harness the true power of brand? Start thinking of your business as a person and everything will fall into place (trust us, it sounds weird but it works!)
Whenever we begin a new brand-boosting mission with a client, we start by setting out what a brand actually is. ‘Cos it’s always good to all start on the same page, y’know? It usually goes something like this*:
“Your brand is all the bits of your business that work together to create a single, authentic thing that people want to associate with. Just like a person’s features all work together to make them someone awesome you want to hang around with.”
That last bit is super important – and not just because it makes something complicated really easy to understand.It’s because thinking of your brand as a person moves your focus from the ‘stuff’ (like websites, stationery and all the other brand-type things you can touch) to the bigger picture. Y’see, a brand isn’t something that exists in the world; it only lives in other people’s perceptions. Which means the only way to influence it is to act in a way that supports what you want it to be. Case in point: would you describe a person as trustworthy because they said so, even though everything else they said was big fat porky pies? Exactly. And the very same principle applies to your brand – you only get the benefit of it if you live by it. All. The. Time. Put another way, your brand can’t just be something you have or do; it has to be something you are – all the way from your mission, vision and values to the way you answer the phone.
Walk the walk
Once you’ve established the kind of person you want your brand to be, the real fun begins. This is when your brand becomes the sum of your business’s personality and philosophy, not just an extension of your product. It’s also when your customers begin to care about your brand on a personal level – which gives you some real deal-sealing appeal.
Not only that, but it gives you waaaaay more flexibility to adapt and evolve while staying true to the brand your customers know and love – just like a person can change their clothes without turning into someone completely different (Clark Kent excluded, obv). This approach has been the making of nearly all the brands we now consider household favourites – the ones below to name but a few.
Some of Nike’s greatest fans may have never broken a sweat but, thanks to its clever branding, their choice of footwear still makes them feel like a champion. That’s why this one-time trainer manufacturer is now worth almost $16billion**.
How does a manufacturer of little plastic bricks get its own theme park and movie franchise? Simple – by being all about the power of imagination. Far from diluting their brand, Lego’s adventures into new areas have done nothing but deepen the love of its original fans.
Harley Davidson could have talked to their target market about horsepower or ride height. Instead, they talked about a rebellious streak and their love of the open road. It was at this point that Harley Davidson stopped being a motorbike manufacturer and became the start of a movement.
How to get it oh-so-right
The thing that ties all the greatest brands together is conviction. Taking the time to establish and understand what truly, authentically exists under the bonnet of your business (and never straying from it) is crucial.
Skip the first stage and you’ll likely end up with a brand you can never fully embody – and your customers will see through it quicker than you can say `Volkswagen emissions scandal’, taking you from personal connection to persona non grata in an instant.
Want to get to know your brand on a more personal level? Drop us a line.
*Some dialogue in this blog may have been created for educational purposes.
**Actual figure $15.9billion, taken from ‘Forbes Fab 40: The Most Valuable Brands in Sports’