After 25 years of conducting marketing research and creative sessions to help companies of every size and virtually every industry, “brand” their wares, I’ve come to a considered definition of BRAND as evidenced by the most successful products and services.
In a nutshell, a Brand is a crisp distillation of who you are and all you offer to your audience. It’s an amalgamation of the product’s tangible features and benefits as well as the intangible emotional end benefits that drive purchase and loyalty. Think of what comes to mind with . . .
Johnson & Johnson.
Each conjures up a story in the mind of the consumer that’s consistent and differentiating. It’s a “badge” which tells others something about ourselves by virtue of the fact that we are associated with that product.
Your brand is a consistent, meaningful and engaging story that echoes the perspective of your fans as well as your key stakeholders. It’s the essence that encapsulates how you see yourself - your vision, beliefs and values about your offering as well as all the elements and benefits that resonate with your customers wants and needs.
A great brand is unique. It’s your marketing fingerprint. You are one of a kind. It connects to your tribe on an emotional level. It’s your unconscious billboard that shouts to the world, “CHOOSE ME!”
Establishing and maintaining a powerful brand is critical to your success but not easy to do. To ensure that you achieve this goal, I’ve identified 7 pillars of creating a successful brand.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be discussing these in individual articles whose topics will range from identifying a clear vision and story of who you are that sets you apart from others in your arena to crafting and implementing the best strategy and tactics to communicate with your target audiences.
We’ll be discussing:
1. Who are you? What do you want people to know about you?
2. What’s your story? How did you get here? What do you offer that’s unique to your experience based on your story that will invite an emotional connection to your audience[s]
3. Who do you serve? Do your research - What do they want? When you ask people directly why they buy a particular brand they will site the features, but in fact, the real reason they choose one brand over another is the way it makes them feel about themselves. How does your brand resonate emotionally with your markets? In this article you’ll learn how to identify emotional drivers. “The emotional tail wags the rational dog.” ― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow
4. Create an avatar of your ideal consumer so you can communicate best with who it is and what they want and buy?
5. How does your brand serve your stakeholders – most importantly your key employees and who they manage as well as other strategic partners. Again do your research.
6, How do you compare to your competition . . . in the eyes of your customers and other stakeholders? Create a brand wheel that identifies your core essence based on all you offer.
7. Maintain Consistent Messaging Across Platforms. Stand for something and be sure to broadcast that set of beliefs, values and proof of value to all your constituents.
And lastly, but critically, as a bonus to the 7 Pillars we’ll be discussing how to . . .
Stay in touch with your audiences on a regular basis and allow them to engage with you thereby nurturing the connection and loyalty for your Brand through all messages – social media, local presence, customer service, packaging and brand performance.
I invite you to share your feedback, questions, thoughts and ideas.