Monday, June 1, 2009

What Is Your "Brand"?

You are attending a business seminar.

Sitting in your chair and surrounded by highly trained, professional colleagues, each of them with at least two if not three designations that follow their name.

You have come to learn how the concept of "brand" and "branding" applies to your business, but as the presentation unfolds, you quickly recognize nothing has prepared you to answer a fundamental question' "What is a brand"?

You quickly scan the room and realize, none of your colleagues know how to answer the question either.

A sense of relief washes over.

You are not alone.

The speaker goes on to share a story about searching for THE answer to this question; one that can be applied in real life situations that will impact your business from now until the end of time. He explains how Google offers hundreds of different definitions from hundreds of different marketing "experts", however these definitions - often wrapped in marketing mumbo jumbo - fall short of what you need to make sense of it all.

Finally, the speaker relates how the quest for clarity on this subject revealed a definition able to stand the test of your time and the depth of your marketing budget.

"A brand is a story, embedded in the mind of the market".

That's simple enough.

Your brand is a "story" and for it to be effective, your "story" needs to be planted firmly in the minds of the people you are trying to share it with.

Branding is how you do it.

The "ing" makes all the difference in the world as you learn that if "brand" equates to the intangible element called "story" then, "branding" represents the tangible elements such as logo, design, taglines, advertising messages etc.

One of the "experts" who gets it is Daryl Travis.

He has been described as a professor, detective, journalist, anthropologist and writer all rolled into one. After three decades of working in the advertising racket, Daryl has learned success in business rarely depends on advertising. Success will always hinge on how a brand emotionally connects with its customers.

Daryl's book, "Emotional Branding: How Successful Brands Gain the Irrational Edge", explores how the power of story has elevated some of the world's most powerful brand, including Easter Seals, FedEx, Harley-Davidson and Honda. He believes marketing data can only tell you so much. Daryl maintains the key to "Emotional Branding" lies in digging deeper to understand what would really motivate someone to want to buy from you or join your team.

As Daryl explains, "When a campaign is not effective it is usually because it doesn’t touch the right emotional motivations. There is no emotional connection with “Just say no.” Think of the difference between, “Just say no” and “Just do it,” from Nike. “Just do it” is hugely successful, maybe the most successful tagline in history. There is just a different connection level".

Each one of us is branded, whether we like it or not.

Your brand represents the promise of the business, and will always be based more on feelings than facts. Buying decisions are made on believing a promise, and promises are rooted in our human emotions. Quite simply, brands are built on trust. Making and keeping promises builds trust which is among the most basic of human emotions. And no matter the size and scope of your enterprise, how your customers feel about your brand isn’t a casual question. It is THE crucial question.

Strong brands are those with strong stories to tell. The more compelling your brand saga, the more it fuels the success of your business. Conversations that unfold at coffee shops and backyard barbecues; on blogs and on Facebook are just as important or more, than the ads you purchased on the radio or other traditional forms of media.

How do you tell your "story"?

Have you determined the "story" you want to tell?

Every great story features interesting characters and personalities. Does your brand actually have a personality? And if so, how would you describe it? Is it more Jerry Maguire or Seinfeld? Jennifer Aniston or Lopez? Tom Hanks or Petty? Marilyn Monroe or Manson? George Clooney or Costanza?

Have you stopped to notice how other brands leverage the power of personality when it comes to sharing their story. PC or Mac? Tim Hortons or Starbucks? Air Canada or WestJet?

Are there other brands you could emulate that have touched you on an emotional level with the power of their "story"?

"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind" WALTER LANDOR

No comments: