Marketing is how your prospects find you; branding is why they stay.
A common misunderstanding is that branding is all about creating some pretty visuals for Instagram. It is a set of imagery that seldom coincides with the real world. But, the facts are quite different and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When looking at – “why a consumer actually purchases something”, the constructs for needs and wants seem to blend a bit. This is where the perceived value of a product and its actual functionality tend to leave a psychological impact.
To put it in perspective, branding is all about building an identity that connects with your audience and invites them into a story. Even in a traditional market segment, the unique concept of “self” is what sells.
So, the ever repeated question is – How do you build an iconic brand that stays relevant for years to come?
Well, we have come up with a straightforward approach that answers that question right away.
Call it a “Story Loop”, but Brand Resonance is how the core concept of the brand connects with the user’s survival. Resonance is the part that hooks you into the brand and allows you to express some part of your identity in all its glory. The customer is the hero, not the brand. There are 3 dimensions to this –
1. Interdependency: How much of your customer’s lifestyle is intertwined with the brand’s products and offerings?
2. Intimacy: Is there an insider story to the brand which connects the past, present, and future?
3. Category Dominance: Does the brand stand above everyone else in its market? How so?
Put all the clothes you own in one room and you’ll still find many differences in their individuality, even though they are all your “style”. Differentiation doesn’t just start and end at the products; the complete experience is what counts. For a brand, while it may be difficult to stand out from the crowd in a sea of similar markets, establishing a business concept that values one strategy over all the others can make or break the brand.
How does social media content “go #viral”? Is it because of the visual aspects or is it because of the messaging? The answer is both. The #content has two different purposes to serve – interest and practical value.
Both pieces of this puzzle do not sit flush, however. When creating your brand messaging and identity, uniqueness, and recognition are paid the most attention to from the brand’s perspective. The customer, on the other hand, only cares about the value received and the way it applies to their daily life. If the customer cannot connect your messaging directly to how your brand can help them survive and thrive, they will not purchase your product or service.
The Collaboration Factor
Big collaborations within and across industries and influencers are what can get a brand noticed on a global scale. Just think about Ocean Spray and Doggface.
Partnerships can also be a stepping stone into revamping how your products are perceived outside the core market. Another example – there was a time when basketball sneakers were never worn off-court. Today, they define an entire generation who lovingly call themselves “sneakerheads.” The starting point? Air Jordans. A collaboration that made the Nike brand and Michael Jordan go from unforgettable to immortal.
When you create a brand that speaks directly to the diversity of the system, you hold the power to influence buying decisions. However, creating a cultural phenomenon is as hard as it gets. In the current picture, your best bet is routing your brand through the tastemakers and gatekeepers who already know, engage, and influence your audience, thus creating a direct funnel to brand acceptance. Think of Nike once again – and how they leveraged Colin Kaepernick to create a controversial movement. They created a divide between people. Simply put, you were either on Nike’s side and a fan of the position they took, or you hated it.
Since there is an overflow of information, the battle for credibility starts and ends at the micro-level, where you play as the catalyst in a vast marketplace. By being a part of what your customers are consuming, you add value to their roles and opportunities. Once accomplished (easier said than done), these cultural stamps act as badges of credibility and empathy with your audience. Start to think about how you can leverage current events and certain stances to connect more with your desired audience.
Before You Leave This Website, Understand This…
Building your Brand Identity, regardless of the scale, is always a challenging and ongoing process. Whether it be information overload, breaking the pattern, changing your focus, or creating your new first impressions, the foundation shall always be your value proposition. The end game is to create a story that invites your customers in that sticks with your target audience, while simultaneously guiding your audience to the solution you offer and connecting with their lives in an authentic way. If you’d like help creating your Brand Identity simply reach out to us today and tell us more about your project here.