Over the last few months, I have been going out of my way to learn more about the less traditional aspects of marketing.
I have read books on things like word of mouth marketing, talk triggers, producing shareable content, and most recently, brand seduction.
All of these are subcategories of marketing that aren’t bland and boring (such as the four P’s and the idea of click funnels).
They are more focused on subconscious ways for people to purchase and support your product or brand, instead of trackable “impressions” or “conversions”.
The latest book I have read is known as “Brand Seduction” and you can find it here if you are interested in reading it yourself. The link above is an affiliate link and I will receive a small commission if you purchase the book with the link above or any of the other links in this article. I am not sponsored but I still want to promote this book because of how good it is.
In Brand Seduction, the author discusses the concept of building memorable brands. It shows how the human brain processes information and how you can utilize neuroscience to help build a strong brand identity.
I am only going to be covering a small section of the book, so if you want to read the full thing, check it out with the link above.
The Feeling of a Good Brand
When it comes to building a brand identity, it helps to look at some of the best brands in the history of marketing.
Coca-Cola, Nike, and Harley Davidson are great examples to start with.
When you think of each of these brands, you don’t merely think of a product.
Coca-Cola makes you think of a relaxing summer picnic with family or a holiday dinner with friends. You think of being social and enjoying a delicious beverage that is highly ingrained in our culture.
Nike gives off an aura of athleticism and hustle. Strength. Accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Just doing it. You think of the sweat and hard work that professional athletes have sacrificed to get to where they are at. It makes you feel motivated.
And Harley Davidson makes you think of classic Americana. The open road. Freedom. An unmatched, handcrafted quality not found anywhere else in the motorcycle industry.
Ultimately, these brands are trying to sell a product just like every other brand ever created. But somehow, they have captivated consumers for years and created a cult-like following of advocates and enthusiasts who stand behind the company, not just for their good products, but for their brand itself.
So, what is it about these brands that is so special?
Creating Your Cool
As mentioned in the book, brands like this have done something known as “creating their cool”. They have made a thing that is inherently boring (a soft drink, shoes, and a motorcycle) into a thing that people desire and stand behind. They have done this by creating not only a product, but a culture that people want to be a part of.
When developing a seductive brand like these, you need to do the same thing. You need to make it to where people want to buy your product to become a part of your culture. Where they don’t feel forced and as if you are trying to sell them something that they don’t want.
A good way to do this is by creating something known in the book as a brand fantasy model.
Building Your Brand Fantasy Model
Again, this article is taking a very complex book and turning it into something much simpler. This structure and these ideas were created and discovered Daryl Weber and I do not take credit for any of them. Please, read the book. I promise that it will be worth your time and money.
1) Build a Network of Associations
Creating a brand fantasy model is a way to get your ideas on paper and develop your brand to have a strong culture just like the aforementioned ones. It allows you to look at your brand from an outside perspective and craft it into what you want consumers to see it as.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to build a network of associations. Think of your brand and what it is associated with. Think of the feeling and purpose you want your brand to have and connect it with related feelings or topics.
An example mentioned in the book was Weight Watchers. If you were creating a network of associations for this brand, it may look something like this.
Your goal here is to look at your brand as if you were looking at it for the first time from an outside perspective and see the types of things that other people will associate with your brand.
From here, you are going to want to take this to another level. You are going to want to think of what your brand would taste, smell, or sound like. You are going to want to picture your brand as a planet and think of what life would be like on that planet.
2) Putting it Into Words.
Once you get the basic ideas and feelings down, its time to put it into words. To do this, take 3–5 core words to capture the essence of the brand. The idea with this is that each of your core words represents the essence or feeling of the brand.
According to the book, it is a lot easier to start with a larger list of words that represent the feeling of your brand and slowly narrow them down to a smaller number. For this to work properly, make sure each of the words represent a different aspect of the brand and aren’t merely synonyms. For example, if you were Coca Cola, your words could be something like “Bubbly, Socialize, Happiness”. Each of these words represent an aspect of the Coca Cola brand fantasy and works well to describe the brand to someone who knows nothing about it.
There are a few other ways to put your messy ideas into words, but you are going to have to read the book to learn the rest of them.
Once you have your word list, try to condense them into a singular word or phrase that best describes the feeling you want your brand to have. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a slogan or catchphrase, but it could work as one if done correctly. For example, “Just Do It” works very well to describe Nike and is also a perfect slogan for the company.
4) The 3 C’s
Once you have done all of the previous steps, you are already on track to build a well-planned brand fantasy model. However, it is important to make sure your ideas work with your product or company.
To do this, you are going to want to make sure your fantasy aligns with “The 3 C’s”: consumer, commerce, and culture.
When aligning your brand fantasy with the consumer, you are going to want to ensure that your brand image fits well with your target audience. For example, if you are selling walkers for senior citizens, it probably isn’t a good idea to create a brand fantasy revolving around technology and progressive social beliefs.
You want something that your target audience is going to aspire to become a part of and something that they could personally identify with.
The second C that you are going to want to align with, is commerce. This means that your fantasy should be different from other similar brands on the market. You want people to select your brand over a competitor and if you are too closely related, it makes it a lot harder to stand out.
A good comparison here is Nike vs Under Armor. On the surface, Nike seems to be geared more towards hardcore athletes, and Under Armor appeals more to up-and-coming “normal” people who want to stay healthy.
It is important to ensure that you are different.
Finally, you want to make sure your brand fantasy works well with the world as a whole. It probably isn’t a great idea to create a fantasy that 95% of the developed world doesn’t agree with or to go against universally accepted beliefs. Your fantasy should make sense in a modern-day perspective.
A Successful Fantasy
Once you have done all of these things, you will have the foundation of a successful brand fantasy. You must ingrain this new fantasy into all layers of your organization, to make sure that everyone involved understands it from the core. If you don’t do this correctly, all of your previous work goes to waste. You and all of your employees need to believe what you are saying and live a lifestyle like the one you are selling.
Remember that the market is ever-changing and you will have to mold your brand fantasy to ensure that your company adapts with the world. Sometimes, things change. And sometimes, your brand will need to do the same.
Anyways, I hope this article taught you a bit more about brand fantasies and how they can be useful. Once again, if you want to learn more about it, check out Brand Seduction by Daryl Weber. It is one of my favorite marketing books that I have read and this article isn’t even scratching the surface.
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