So many of our conversations with new clients begin with a request for "help with branding".... but what does that really mean? Does it mean brand research, creating a marketing plan, a fresh logo design, or social media strategy? In reality, "help with branding" could easily be all of those things - but where do we start?
So many questions, and now it's time for answers - today, we're sharing our philosophy about the nuances of brand strategy, branding, and the overarching concept of what a brand can be.
First, some definitions:
We don't think that your brand is your product, your logo or your website. We believe your brand is really the emotional response that people think and feel when they hear your name. Just like in any relationship, you craft this feeling over time, through your words, actions, and the way you interact with your audience.
The role of branding is to carve out exclusive ownership of an audience’s preferences in your market. To evoke a specific feeling—not just a set of linear ideas—that compels a person to action. Essentially, branding is the set of actions you take to create the emotional response you want your audience to feel.
Finally, brand strategy is the process of defining what your brand can (and should) be, through research of your audience, your industry, and your company. Brand strategy should ultimately connect the dots between those three elements, and provide a guide for how we can create relevant and meaningful interactions between your brand and your audience.
And now our thoughts regarding the Power of Truths and Shared Beliefs:
We believe the most powerful and successful brands got to where they are by understanding and committing to the beliefs and values they share with their customers. If a product or service is cheaper or faster—even more reliable—that can only get a company ahead in the short-term. This approach cannot compete with the loyalty people feel to brands whose very reason for existing aligns with their own personal belief system. It’s this type of connection that will drive the type of loyalty in your customers that can overcome price, convenience or virtually any other pragmatic hurdle you might find in the marketplace.
So how do we find this intersection of shared beliefs between your brand and your audience? By uncovering the truth. That’s our starting point within our Brand Strategy process: a search for the truth about your company, your competition, your customers and anything else that impacts your business. We have to find the truth about where your brand is today in order to help you get to where you want to be.
This is the purpose of Brand Strategy: to create a marketing roadmap for your business—based on true, meaningful insights—that will elicit an emotion in your audience that drives them to action.