As globalisation and competition create an array of choices, businesses look for ways to
on an emotional level with their audience. Their aim is to build lifelong relationships and make themselves irreplaceable. The stronger the brand and core idea, the stronger the chances of
making that connection. How your customers view you brand is key to it’s financial success and future. We instinctively choose our brands through emotional responses and it’s these emotional responses that The Idea Engine focuses on.
Outwardly a brand must express many things:
• A visual look to make it distinctive in the marketplace.
• An emotionally driven feel through its copy and everything it tells the viewer.
• A memorable name.
• A distinctive mark or logo that makes it easily recognisable.
• A positioning statement that summarises your brand.
• A tag line that will influence a response from the consumer.
• A set of authentic values that are true to the organisation or by which
the organisation wishes to follow.
• A vision for the future, and a mission showing how you will get there.
And of course it must have a differentiating core idea that is central to everything the brand touches. These core thoughts are often referred to as ‘The Big Idea’ and are what give most businesses a competitive advantage.
Of course there are more attributes to branding than those listed above but its a good place to start.
We believe that, on large, a lot of brands in similar sectors are alike. They do the same things, sell the same products or deliver the same services. The one thing that separates them and enables us all to make influenced choices is captured within the magical 10%.
The magical 10% is that special thing that makes you unique, the one thing that you do that others don’t. This is what we search for when working on any brand. In most cases it is there but it is not obviously apparent to the customer. This magical 10% is often expressed within a strap line and then re-enforced throughout the brand.
The true art to branding is in not trying to say too many things at once. Sharpening the focus on your uniqueness can give the customer confidence in your brand and reinforce their emotions about their purchase. A simple answer is to find the right message that expresses your brand and stick to.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It is critical that a brand watches what others in their field are doing. This way it can keep up with competition and, if needed, alter its approaches. However, it could be said that certain factors are often at play that cannot be controlled by your own brand. These factors such as the financial market, the competition and consumer demand are things that you need to be aware of but you should always focus on making your brand better rather than chasing the competition.
Having the desire to succeed is a great brand value that will set you up for the future.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of branding is to gain the trust of the consumer. This is why it is important for your brand to be authentic and real. It’s no good claiming that you are the cheapest or that your service is outstanding when this isn’t a product truth. You will simply lose consumer trust, de-value your brand and cause long term harm. I was once told by a great salesman that his job wasn’t to simply sell as many electrical goods as possible, it was to help the customer make the right choice so as when they got home they still felt as great about the purchase as they did in-store. This salesman automatically gained my trust in him and his company.
It is true, however in today’s mass market it is getting harder to separate one brand from another.
The car market is a classic example of this. Until recently brands like BMW, Rolls Royce and Mercedes were copied by Japanese and Chinese markets shamelessly. In fact the build quality was just as good - if not better. These markets didn’t really understand the power of the brand and were quite happy to mimic these brands as they had done with others in different markets.
But things are changing and brands are now emerging from these markets with powerful campaigns delivering emotional values that the consumer is falling in love with. And to cap it all off they are delivering a high quality product at a much lower cost. This has caught the imagination of the consumer and the tide is changing. It has encouraged car manufacturers to up their game and spend more on branding. These developing overseas markets have learnt that branding is key and they are now creating their own brands and maximising on the years of production experience to catch up with the rest of the world.
We’ve put together a few of reasons why you may need to consider updating your brand.
• We need to be clearer about who we are to the consumer.
• We don't have a market presence.
• Even though we are a great company, we look outdated.
• Does our identity work online as well as offline?
• Our identity does not put us on a level playing field with our competitors.
• I don't like using our literature, it is outdated and doesn't reflect our organisation.
• We love our companies icon, our market knows it. We need a clear wordmark to go with it.
• Our brand is visually inconsistent and makes us look unprofessional.
• When we advertise we look like we are a combination of lots of companies. We need to set our style and stick with it.
I suppose the big question is... has the internet weakened the need for branding on the global stage?
Our thoughts are that there has never been a better time to embrace your brand. The internet simply allows you to tell more people about your brand in a dynamic way.
We believe strongly in the concept of authenticity in branding and as globalisation demands that large organisations clean up there act overseas, there seems to be an on-surge of people demanding authentic brands. Authenticity in a brand comes from its core. It can be driven from the man at the top or it can simply be honest to its values. There are many authentic brands out there but as an example we offer Ryan Air.
Ryan Air is a no frills airline that will get you from A to B on time more often than any other airline. It doesn’t pretend to offer luxury seating and service,in fact it is the opposite. If you want anything extra you have to pay for it. It is unashamedly blunt about this fact. Yet it is authentic because it recognises what service it provides. This is driven from the top of the organisation and we all know what to expect from this service.