What's the secret to good branding?
Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Branding. What is it? A logo? A nice colour scheme? pretty headed paper?
With many companies we have worked with it's a word that everyone knows is important to the success of a business, but very few understand how to make their brand become successful.
Yes, the logo, an appealing colour scheme form part of it, but the real power of a brand is what is core to that - what the brand represents to its customers and what customers think and feel when they come into contact with it.
A good brand is consistent, it’s constant, it’s stable and doesn't change its values based on other people’s perceptions. It doesn't have to be everybody’s friend.
As a business, your brand is what makes your customers come to you, because you have something they want/need. The decision taken to purchase your product/service, isn't always because they need it, it’s also because they can relate to it, they desire it. The perception of your brand reflects how that person thinks, feels and behaves. And that is an extremely powerful thing to have and if managed correctly from the foundation up it can reap rewards on your bottom line.
Times have changed, and undoubtedly social media has played a huge part in this change. We want to be able to engage in conversation, feel an experience, to understand its story, to be empowered, inspired and uplifted. A good brand is able to mirror society’s changing cultures.
Here comes the shock to the old school believers - a good brand doesn't try to sell to us. Instead, it gives us something and it communicates to us on many levels. We purchase based on our own decisions, which is really based on the seed the brand has subconsciously planted (not because of that irritating, pushy, old-school car sales tactic).
So what’s the secret?
Good brands don’t just happen. Those behind the brand understand one simple word - EMPATHY.
Lets not get empathy mixed up with sympathy - that’s feeling sorry for someone. Simply put, empathy is being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes. You don't just feel things from their perspective, you can share them too.
If you have consumer empathy, you are able to understand how your customer feels - and how they want to feel - even before they do. You know what products they need, what they want to say about themselves and the issues they struggle with on a daily basis. You have an emotional attachment to your consumer, and because of this you are able to listen, relate to and understand - and as a result, you are better able to develop solutions that meet and exceed their needs and better able to communicate with them about those solutions.
If you have a consumer that is so engaged with your brand, that is coming to you to buy because of your marketing tactics, you do not need the hard sell. And, just to show that brand and empathy fit together like a roast on a Sunday, here are a few examples of some great brands which truly succeed in using empathy to relate to their customers:
Apple : Love 'em or loathe 'em, you can't dispute "The Apple Marketing Philosophy". The first of their three points was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer: "We will truly understand their needs better than any other company." It's been a bumpy ride over the years, but belief, passion, perseverance, a simple philosophy (and a Steve Jobs) now see Apple as the world's most valuable brand.
Nike: The people at Nike live and breathe sports, and they devote their working hours to understanding how to support athletic achievement for everyone, whether a professional or someone trying to get from the couch to a 5K run. Just do it!
John Lewis: In recent years the John Lewis ads have become the kick starter for the festive season. Empathy without doubt, is the main focal ingredient and we love a bit of it! It is this feeling that people look forward to every year, it’s what engages the viewer and by extension maintains the company’s brand awareness.
You don't have to have a big budget to be make a big brand. It all starts with understanding who you are, what you are about and how you can genuinely connect to your target audience through the different marketing channels available to you. We, of course are here to help you. Let's get creative, understand who you are and the message you want to convey and to who and we can manage the rest of the process for you.