There are a lot of misconceptions about branding, so let’s start with the basics.
A brand is not a logo and it’s not an “identity” (industry term). A brand is not something you hold, it has little tangible properties whatsoever. A brand is personal. An internal, almost visceral experience you have toward various products, services or organizations. Buying a brand says something about the person buying it, we feel connected to our brands and remain loyal. A woman who needs no help with branding, once sang, “I’m a material girl in a material world!”
So what does this mean?
We tend to trust companies that believe what we believe (or at least appear to). This is not a ground breaking concept but a digestible explanation to help understand how branding works. You can’t change people’s minds but you can tailor your brand to meet the demographics you hope to target. Your brand is a promise to your customers and has to take steps to keep that promise, while also differentiating your voice from your competitors.
So how do you gain trust?
Transparency is of paramount importance. Transparency does not make you vulnerable, actually the opposite. Being accessible makes people relate to you (DEEP!). It lets people know you’ve shared experiences. One of the simplest ways to be transparent is to tell the story of how you started your business. Unless you had a trust fund, a board of advisors and your last name is Warbucks, this was likely a wild ride rife with setbacks. Your customers will appreciate that you aren’t trying to sell them anything. Reveal a little of the good and the bad to establish your brand’s personality. Your willingness to do so can result in increased loyalty and credibility.
Build credibility, build authority.
The ultimate goal is to convey authority. That you are credible and can deliver on your promises. Your company’s “brand” should trigger positive feelings combined with an action like “My friend would love their t-shirt designs, I should get her one” or “I feel better buying things from small businesses, especially when they’re made the USA.” Great products don’t usually speak for themselves. If products had a magical ability to convey these emotions without humans – marketing would become obsolete. It’s important to understand human psychology and use it to build a personal and individual brand with a clear and separate voice from that of your competition’s.
Need help building a brand or refining your current one? Contact us to learn more.