What’s brown, a chemical-based, sticky sweet liquid and full of bubbles?
So how does something like that come to represent refreshment, life and happiness?
Apple essentially sells technology dressed up in white and metallic shades, they’re not even really at the forefront of the technology space anymore (no offence Apple, I’m currently writing this on an Apple computer). Yet, when Apple is about to release a new product there is a queue snaking down the street and people camped out in preparation. Apple represents being different, exploration and creativity. It’s ironic then that they are the most common brand in people’s back pockets.
While Apple might not have the most advanced in technology on the market and Coca Cola might not necessarily be the best soft drink (that’s down to personal taste), they absolutely have the best branding in their industries.
What makes great branding?
Here are some more examples of great brands, the presenter, Sasha Strauss, explores key elements about what makes these brands really work.
Note: If you haven’t got fifteen minutes now, save the tab and watch it later, this man is as entertaining as insightful.
He captures how branding expands out from the product to add emotion and meaning to a person’s life, it is where your story and your consumer’s story intersect to create a dynamic new story. You control how that narrative goes through your branding.
Branding is what people think and feel when they interact with you and your products; it’s what you contribute to their own personal image. Your product is no longer just about its substance. It is about the meaning and personal value each person ascribes to it, and it builds and changes each time your customer interacts with you.
Laura Busche in Lean Branding defines this really well:
“A brand is the unique story that consumers recall when they think of you. This story associates your product with their personal stories, a particular personality, what you promise to solve, and your positions relative to your competitors. Your brand is represented by your visual symbols and feeds from multiple conversations where you must participate strategically.”
What story are you communicating to your customers? How are they relating to you and how are you relating to them?
Branding is not merely your logo, icons and all those details in your style guide – those are an important part of maintaining your brand image, but what do they really contribute to your consumer’s lives?
5 Key Questions when you start thinking about your brand
Here are 5 key questions for you to think about as you begin your branding:
- What is your product or service?
You should definitely know this one, while your product/service is not the full sum of your brand, it is the foundation.
- What need does it meet?
What aspect of life does your product/service contribute to – which part of their story are you building into? You can use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a starting point. Hint: you’re not limited to one – Coke meets the need for thirst, but also belonging through their social brand story.
- How do you want people to use your product to achieve that need?
Your brand needs to build your consumer’s lives towards something, to progress their story and build them up. Your product/service has to be good for something – start there.
- Who is your target audience?
The answer can’t be everyone. There must be particular sections of society you are trying to reach – think gender, location, age, wealth etc.
- Where are your target audience and how are you going to interact with them?
It’s all well and good to have developed a meaningful and powerful brand that can create a wonderful impact in people’s lives, but if you’re not telling anyone about it then you can’t be a part of their story. What platforms and mediums are your audience using and what style of messaging are you going to use to catch their attention. You’ll need to do your research here. All good brands start with good research into their audience.
If you need help with your brand, we’re here to work with you. We run a free kick-starter branding workshop, check it out and get in touch and we’d love to have you come in for a session.