How to create a memorable brand15 May 2018
“The first lesson of branding: memorability. It’s very difficult buying something you can’t remember.” ― John Hegarty, Hegarty on Advertising
The secret to being memorable is having solid Branding and Brand Positioning.
Quick definition: Simply put, your “brand” is your promise to your customer. It is a visual reflection of what they can expect from your products and services; a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that differentiates your offering from your competitors’. It is a guiding light for both employees and customers, and, importantly, builds valuable equity into the business.
Your “brand position” is derived from identifying and defining who you are from the inside out – reflecting on who you are, who you want to be, and how you want people to perceive you. The brand position establishes why your brand is different and should be considered over its competition.
If you’re in a competitive category and have yet to define your brand position, how can you expect your brand creative to function optimally? In most cases, entrepreneurs are in a rush to go to market and make the classic ‘off-the-shelf’ purchases: a logo over here, a web design over there, and patching these core brand elements together. Your “reason for being” will suffer from lack of definition and authenticity , and your valuable customer will notice and feel that. You might have a surface level attractive brand that you’re proud of but it will unlikely have longevity when you need to tell a brand story, retain customers and win customer hearts and minds for years to come.
That was then – this is wow!
30 years ago you could say “Tastes Great, Less Filling,” and people would choose your product over the next best choice, since there were roughly five touch points and far fewer influencers for your brand to impact: print, OOH, radio, TV, retail.
Today, the complexity of the consumer decision journey has reached dizzying heights, with dozens of emerging platforms and ways to tell your story, along with the daily changing landscape in digital – Facebook, video content, influencer endorsements, search, Snapchat, Instagram, Email marketing, bloggers and niche portals. Attracting, engaging and retaining a customer has now become a full-contact, 24/7 effort. With the proliferation of digital content and ecommerce becoming a great equalizer, the American Dream of getting rich has never been more alive
The challenge for brand marketers is therefore two-fold: first, how to get in front of a more discerning, well-informed consumer at the point-of-awareness and consideration stage, and second, how to cut through the competition when many brands seem to use the same old playbook: build a site, look awesome, get an influencer to endorse, and buy traffic…
As Aristotle said, understanding yourself is the route to all wisdom.
So what are the take homes that I really need to know?
First impressions are only the beginning
If you don’t have a well-defined brand position but only a sweet logo and creative, you might get past the first three seconds of someone’s attention, but retention, nurturing and increasing lifetime value might become the hurdle that takes you down.
Define your brand, define your success
Full and effective branding and knowing your why will help establish your values and lead to authentic tag lines and CTAs that enable you to test messaging and creative that’s on-point and relevant to your audience.
Did you know that somewhere in the neighborhood of 85% of your marketing/advertising budget is spent in media? If your remaining15% in creative is off brand and unauthentic then you’re already aiming in the wrong direction before you’ve begun.
This is where clients end up spending way more in media to drive traffic with underperforming creative. It might look good in isolation, but it’s not right for your brand – the customer won’t find your why.
Customers buy the ‘why’, not the ‘what’.
This is the death roll for many start-ups. Convinced that your logo and photo shoot were good enough to launch – but now your customers aren’t biting? Or perhaps you’ve prematurely scaled out of that low-hanging fruit and you learn that the more perceptive customer is further up stream. Not only have you lost momentum and wasted money, your early adopters and influencers haven’t found your why to evangelize. That twofold loss of inertia at this serious stage leads to higher Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) at a time when revenue growth is critical, and now your runway just got shorter.
Don’t be a part of the 75% of venture-backed start-ups that fail. #fail
Why the why?
Your brand’s why is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do. To uncover the why you must dig deep.
You must understand yourself.
- Why did you start this business? (You can’t say “money”.)
- Why are you and your brand here?
- What do you stand for? What makes you different?
Understand your audience.
- What do they love and hate?
- Who influences them?
- What keeps them awake at night?
- What do they think of you and your product?
- What do they want from your product?
Understand the competition.
- What do they say?
- How do they look?
- How would they say they are better than us?
- How are we better than them?
- Unlocking the competition’s behavior helps us Zig when everyone else Zags.
Understand cultural shifts.
- What cultural shifts are influencing our audience?
- What technical shifts are influencing our audience?
- What attitudinal shifts are influencing our audience?
- What financial and market shifts are influencing our audience?
This exploration to uncover your brand position is far too important to overlook or disregard.
Done correctly, this becomes the foundation that enables you and your brand to communicate to your audience at each point of interaction down the marketing path, succinctly and effectively, guiding them through the process of Awareness, Consideration, Intent and Purchase.
It also provides your brand with “check lists and balances”. As you build out campaigns and test new platforms, you can always defer back to your brand position to validate consistency:
- Is the photo shoot in line with our brand position?
- Does our online advertising communicate and convey our values and reason for being, or is it off?
- Does the new campaign concept follow our guidelines?
- Is our audience actually using this new platform?
Once you experience the sound slumber of knowing your brand position is firmly established and solidified, you will then realize how important it was in the first place. Difficult media and creative decisions become that bit more manageable!
Getting deep under the surface to really devise your brand and uncover your why is an exercise best assisted by experts who, like shaman, can bring out your spirit animal in a safe and contained environment.
You need someone, or a team, who can guide you through the process while being mindful of the surroundings, understanding the limitations, demonstrating full sensory awareness and bringing just the right amount as well as future proof the messaging.