Today, it is a tall order to find an unbranded product. Businesses have brands. People have brands. Places have brands.
“Brand” has become such a buzzword that, according to a Google Ngram, the use of the word “brand” in printed materials has skyrocketed over the last 20 years!
Everybody talks about the brand. In reality, a few know what they are talking about. That, however, reminds us of the insightful quote of the legendary psychologist Carl Jung: “Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand.”
Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand. — Carl Jung
Most people think that a brand is a logo. But a brand is not a logo, and branding is not design. So, if a brand is not a logo, then what is it?
When we analyze potent brands, we realize that they succinctly answer three fundamental questions:
- What does the brand stand for? (Your purpose)
- How will it stand up? (Your uniqueness)
- And how should it stand out? (Your seductiveness)
Start With Why
Why is your shared interest; the thing that inspires you; the reason you founded your brand.
It is tempting to think that the purpose statement is a marketing gimmick. However, if you look carefully, you would realize that numbers are saying something different. Organizations that embody purpose have outperformed the S&P 500 by ten times over 15-years.
So, if you want your brand to be healthier, your first task is to discover what your brand stands for. You can achieve that by looking at your brand as a story and finding your sacred values.
Behind your customers’ purchase decisions lies a full range of rational -and emotional- factors. Strong brands offer their customers something unique, giving them a reason to choose them.
Your second task should be to understand your customers’ job, craft a relevant value proposition, and promise them a value that others cannot.
That is not a promise of what you will do. Instead, it is a promise of what they can do with you in their lives.
Also, keep in mind that -like a coin- a promise has two sides: the declaration of the promise and the delivery of the promise.
Most marketers spend a lot of time and effort perfecting their “promise made.” But strong brands are those who keep their promise. They know that if they fail to deliver on their promise, they will end up in a worse overall position than if they hadn’t made any promise at all.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Your last task is to create a truly unique personality.
Why is that important? Because, over the last two decades, brands have become 200% less distinct from one another. The ones that stand out, however, repeatedly outperform their competitors.
That’s why, in today’s world, your brand’s greatest challenge is not the competition but customer indifference.
Your Compass and Filter
The three elements mentioned above would form your brand platform. Think about those as the constitution of your brand.
Your brand platform should include your purpose statement, brand promise, personality traits, brand story, and critical messages.
Done correctly, it would serve both as a compass to guide your brand-related decisions and as a filter to ensure your communications’ consistency.