The way the market emotes with your company is how your company performs. A quick overview of this all-important aspect of marketing and advertising
All successful brands are charismatic and aligned with their purpose. In the previous article, I had addressed the difference between brand and branding. To recap, a brand is a feeling that is associated with one’s product and service, and branding is the action that drives one to that feeling. Now, the question is how can one attain this feeling and align it to the brand identity of a product or service?
People assess a brand’s authenticity much before they start interacting with it – just like the first impression we make about a person. Customers are inclined to stick around a well-defined brand for a much longer time as opposed to one that is unclear on the way it presents itself. Having said that, one need not look for a brand attribute outside; they rest in the business strategies themselves.
You must have come across the advert of Coca-Cola that says, ‘open happiness’ and shows people dancing, enjoying, and celebrating. Cadbury has recently changed its slogan to ‘Tastes like this feels’, focusing on the feeling one gets while biting into a slab. Whether it’s a couple sharing a bar on Valentine’s Day or a family celebrating a festival together sharing chocolates, the feeling of ‘love’ and ‘joy’ is what is underlying as the message here, fulfilling the product’s promises as showcased.
Did you know, even countries and cities are brands? With the tagline ‘All within your reach’, the USA branded itself to invite people from across the world to come and live the ‘American Dream’. Similarly, Paris is adored as the city of love and romance, and Milan is famously known for fashion runways and new emerging trends. Dubai tourism recently launched a new tagline, ‘Live your story’, welcoming travelers worldwide to experience, explore and live their story – Dubai is known as the safest city on earth and the place where everything is at its best!
The feelings associated with a brand give you a sense of assurance, a promise that the company stands to fulfill. All the emotional touchpoints are what makes a brand stand out from the crowd! Most companies try hard to cut through the noise and make their voice heard. They may be doing exceptionally well in their business, earning millions of dollars, or even more. Yet, there is a lack of a missing link, a thread, or a cord that binds it together, making it even more potent. And ultimately, the message they try to convey is not clear and is not in sync with everything they do.
Does it ever surprise you how companies make you spellbound, and you become a part of their tribe forever? How do they know what we want or what interests us? There is no magic. Here’s the simple trick!
In today’s world, everything is carried out with a purpose. Every company and every business has a goal in mind, the sole reason why they have started – to provide you with the best services and products that make your life easy and enhance your life experience. And to know this purpose, we have to dig deeper.
Brand attributes have to be well defined in prior and have to be intentionally assigned. They are the framework of your brand. They give your brand an exceptional and distinctive competitive edge compared to your competitors. Brand attributes are not just the first impression that customers have; they also carry deeper values and features of a business that customers overpass at first glance.
THE BRAND ELEMENTS
To build a successful brand, it’s vital to mindfully choose visual elements as the guiding light that best describes your brand attributes! A best first impression will take your brand a long way. Over the years, I have learned from my mentors Jose Caballer and Chris Do, the fundamental elements that help one understand the core of everything related to the business and create a ‘Brand Identity’ that connects your audience in the best way. These elements are Culture, Voice, Audience, Feeling, Benefits, and X-Factor. Let’s look at these a bit more in detail.
Culture: Like all countries, companies have a culture. And it’s reflected in the company operations starting from the founders, presidents, executives to the last employee in the hierarchy. For example, let’s look at the cultures of restaurants. A Chinese restaurant is different from an Indian one; an American restaurant is different from an Italian one. They have a culture and follow a tradition of savory that travels from the place where they come from, their ethnicity, views, and their way of working. Similarly, an American company operates differently from an Indian one. For instance, if an Indian is born in America or lived there, his culture would be a mix of both and will reflect on his working style – from the way he carries out tasks to the way he interacts with his employees. People remember us by our culture, and it’s defined by the owners that co-create the same with the employees or shareholders they work with.
Customers: Your customers are your tribe; they are the ones who will be interacting and experiencing your products and services. The saying “every person is not your customer” stands true to this very day. You have created your product and service for a particular audience, and they have to be well defined. For example, Apple iPhone buyers are different from the buyers of Android. Apple products represent a status quo wherein Android is more aligned towards affordability and ease of use.
Voice: The voice reflects your product design, information about the service, and brand personality. To put it in simple words, it’s the way people infer your voice when they read about you or interact with your product or service. Some companies use vibrant colors, bold fonts, or script fonts to talk to their audience, and some use subtle pastel colors and simple typography. All of it depends on how you want to represent yourself to your customers. For example, the voice of Starbucks is happy and celebrating. Their brand voice gives us an insight into a friendly atmosphere no matter which part of the world we are in and which Starbucks Coffeehouse we visit!
Feeling: We now know that a Brand is the associated feeling when people interact with your product or service. We are sentient beings, and we feel everything before purchasing anything. The feeling could be safety, style, love, or happiness, as in the Coca-Cola ad, or it could be motivational like in any Tony Robbins event.
Impact: How are the products or services of your company impacting the lives of your customers? We all want to move ahead in our lives and choose those products and services to enhance and ease our lifestyles. The impact is simply the changes your product or service will bring to people’s lives. For example, LinkedIn has changed the way we apply for jobs or do business networking and also helps in marketing the products to the right customer.
X-Factor: This represents the uniqueness of an idea. The ideology that makes you stand out from the crowd. For example, Facebook unites people, helps them stay connected, shares stories, likes, dislikes, and new learnings among a community of similar-minded people. It can also be used as a platform for a social cause to raise awareness – for instance, raise global warming awareness and tell companies to lessen the carbon footprint.
TYING IT TOGETHER
All these elements should connect with the audience on a more personal level and count in designing the brand identity of a product or service. Missing the alignment among these elements could lead to confusion. When we combine all these elements, it offers us a reason to live the purpose of what we are doing and why. And with each passing day, it grows stronger, bigger, and better. And a little attention to it can take your business to a whole new level.
The targeted marketing and sales activities should be aligned and sequential with the brand attributes. When they are in place, it is easier to opt for the marketing techniques and promotional tools to promote your products and services. When Brand Attributes are well aligned and defined, it is easier for the marketing department to portray and position your company as a leader in the market.
Sumeet Gupta can be reached at [email protected]