The 14 Rules of Identity
How to radically change your brand’s relationship with the user: A companion piece to The 16 Rules of Brand Strategy.
Identity precedes everything in brand strategy.
Before your company, before your product, before your market, there is your user’s identity, and that identity dictates the world your brand gets to play in.
Everything we do as consumers is an expression of who we are.
From conversion to consumption to churn, every action we take is aligned with how we see ourselves, and identity is the underlying code that makes those behaviors happen the way they do.
Identity triggers behavior.
If you can understand that code, you can radically change your relationship with the user — so radically, that your users pivot even their most deeply rooted behaviors and beliefs.
We’re constantly feeding our minds with meaning and narrative, bringing our identities to life every day through the stories we tell ourselves.
Whether it be zoning out during the ride to work or the way we treat the barista at the coffee shop, we not only live in these moments, but also observe ourselves through a third (extremely subjective) eye as they happen — “Beautiful woman is lost in her thoughts on the the way to the office”…”Man with kind eyes tips the barista a little extra because he has character.”
It’s the nature of identity to experience something in the moment while also contextualizing that experience for meaning.
That eye is a perpetual reinforcement of who we are and where we belong, and the single most personal story we tell ourselves.
The story is also the world in which your brand will live.
While most brands only consider the observable world of their ideal users, truly smart brands look for the hidden inner world that operates within each user.
That’s the world where decisions get made. If you can understand that world, you can make the right decisions happen.
In order to know how to speak to your user, you have to first understand…