Put simply, it’s a relationship. A brand is a promise to act a certain way, to feel a certain way, and to behave in accordance with consistent patterns across every touchpoint from a person, company, or corporation. It’s not a logo. It’s who you are.
“Overall, because branding is about creating and sustaining trust it means delivering on promises. The best and most successful brands are completely coherent. Every aspect of what they do and what they are reinforces everything else.” Wally Olins, co-founder of Wolff Olins
Let’s start off simple by understanding the purpose of a brand, then we’ll walk through the steps to create yours together. This post will answer, what is the purpose of a brand, how do I create my brand, and provide my first ever infographic I’m incredibly excited about sharing. First up. What is the purpose of a brand?
The purpose of a brand:
You want to differentiate yourself in the market, don’t you? You want to be known to consumers as the person or company who does x. And how you do x is through y. When you do x through y I feel z. That’s all. Here’s a fun exercise to try. I’ll provide the framework then do one myself for you to see.
You sell a product, service, or experience. You do so through an amicable, innovative, relaxed way. And your customers feel rejuvenated, reassured, and want to return.
You’ve now taken your customer through an emotional arc along their consumer journey. I threw random adjectives and letters into the equation just then, but try it out with your own company or self. Watch me break down my personable brand:
I provide strategic branding expertise. I do so in a personable manner. If done correctly, which for argument's sake I sure hope for, my audience, you, feels relaxed yet more knowledgeable.
My purpose isn’t to strain an audience with big words, too many hyperlinks, and a ton of industry jargon. I separate ideas into shorter paragraphs, provide pictures when necessary and write how I speak. I don’t believe writing blog posts should be any different from speaking them. So I’ll use the same words regardless of the vehicle. Now your interaction with this post, the website, the images, the way in which you digest this information, and any interaction you have with me whether in person or if reading this IS your first interaction, my brand should be consistent. Every person should feel a sense of personality, humor, and expertise from the information I put out, and with every touchpoint you come into contact with me.
Companies are no different. They’re not different than people because it’s not about what you’re branding, it’s about the perception you’re creating in the consumer mind. You can do this through streamlining brand values across company culture, aligning your process to your mission statement which is an essential tool used to help navigate finding your brand, and repeatedly giving consumers a consistent feeling when interacting with you.
While most consumers aren’t aware this is happening and might think they chose to spend money on a thing because of WHAT it is, brand strategists flip this narrative, consumers buy because of HOW it makes them FEEL.
If brands and people are the same, think of the funniest person you know. Sure, they feel sad sometimes, but the majority of the time you are around them you probably laugh. It should not have been that hard to think of a person right away. Now think of an incredibly innovative company. Apple? Spacex? These companies have put tremendous work into shaping every interaction with their consumers to be known as the “funny friend” or innovative company.
Brands are personalities. You want to hang out with people you like, and you want to shop at stores you like, wear clothes you like, do things that make you feel good. Brands are your way of getting there. They’re the clothes you like buying, the stores you want to go to and the friends that make you feel good. While most consumers aren’t aware this is happening and might think they chose to spend money on a thing because of WHAT it is, brand strategists flip this narrative, consumers buy because of HOW it makes them FEEL. That is why branding is important.
Here’s how to create your brand:
*Big reveal* It’s too late. Your brand already exists. Your interactions with people, consumers, and the marketplace are all factors that have been building your brand over time. Your brand is how you talk about yourself, how you look, feel, come across as, then summed up into a single perception the consumer has in their mind. At that point, it’s not even in your control anymore. But there is a way to position your brand purposefully, and it’s up to you to put in the work to find it and curate it before your brand gets out of control. Creating a brand is diving into the heart of your company and outlining it’s clear purpose for existence then sharing that message in the most sincere way possible.
So here’s your starting point. Begin by asking yourself and your team:
1. Who are you now?
2. Why do you exist?
3. How are you be perceived? How do you want to be perceived?
Does your answer to each of those line up? If not, keep thinking. The answers should feel obvious, but they take work to uncover. Your goal is to develop a clear consistency between the three answers. You exist to solve a problem or share a message. To affect the lives of consumers in your own way, whether it be through providing a product, service, or experience, your answers to the three questions above need to by in sync with each other. Who you are should be a representation of why you exist, and clearly communicated to your audience.
From inside our company, ourselves, and our brand, we have skewed perspectives on how we think consumers should interpret our brand. We understand our intentions and motivations, but all consumers see is another company trying to turn a profit. When the first two answers are clear, you can position your brand in the mind of consumers, and there are several ways to do this.