This quote by artist Vincent Van Gogh rings true in many circumstances in life. It resonates particularly when it comes to building a strong brand. While there are many factors that influence and affect the development of a brand, the efforts invested from within go a long way in assisting the growth of your brand’s reputation, identity and indeed, bottom line. That is why devising a strategy is crucial for any brand. Taking the time to step back and assess the many moving parts of your brand will not only give you the perspective, but it will also allow you to develop a plan for progression. But what are these series of small things that you need to consider within your brand? To many they may seem small but we experience first hand the power behind each of these elements that form the building block of great brands. It’s possible that you may have heard of these before but what exactly are they and how do they impact on the creation of one great brand? Over the coming months we are going to delve into these brand components and examine what they are, how you can define them and why they are important.
In today’s technologically advanced and fast moving society, brands begin in our heads or in some cases, our hearts. How you think and feel about a brand is the brand. Our thoughts, our feelings and our experiences of a brand all contribute to the overall brand itself. Hence why these intangibles are so important. “What you make people feel is just as important as what you make” – BMW
But how do we define these intangibles? The basis for brands should be comprised of strongly defined facets that all work together and ensure that people experience your brand in the way that you intend them to.
Let us begin with brand essence. Your brand essence is what sets you apart from the competition, it is what makes you unique. It is the very fibre of your brand. Sometimes this is referred to as brand DNA, soul, mantra, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you can define it. What is it that sets you apart from your competition? Can you define this in one word? “A brand becomes stronger when you narrow it’s focus” – Ries & Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. Having focus on your brand essence is essential. Some widely recognised examples of brand essence are Apple – Think Different, Walt Disney World – Magical and Volvo – Safety. For each of these brands, their essence underpins absolutely everything that they do. The brand essence sets them apart from the competition and gives the audience the primary reason to choose that brand over a competitor. It is important to consider the relationship that your audience needs to have with your brand’s essence. This is a vital aspect of it as it encapsulates your entire brand. Choosing something which is irrelevant to your audience can, and often will, contribute to the failure of brands. Doing your research here is paramount. Don’t be afraid to ask the audience for their thoughts on your brand, this is rarely a wasted activity. In fact it can give affirmation to your alignment with your audience or indeed highlight the opposite, however the case may be, dialogue with your audience will allow for the creation of an authentic brand essence. Once you have this you need to protect, uphold and really live and breathe it. You must ensure that you are consistent with your brand essence. Volvo always makes cars that are safe and Disney World is always magical, so treat your essence as the benchmark that informs all brand activity and you should be set!
Keep an eye on next month’s issue that will explore brand purpose, why is this different from brand essence and what gives brand meaning.
Article by: Sandra Honan
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