June 04, 2020|
Every Brand in Harmony: Aligning Your Brand Might Be the Answer
We’re in a bold new era, and plenty of people are thinking about how to “reinvent” their brand for this new world of ours. I’ve been around the block a few times now, and one of the sentiments I hear sometimes is that a brand has gotten “tired.” This sentiment often pops up when we’re trying to explain why the brand seems to be missing the mark lately—our campaigns aren’t connecting with consumers, people are turning to other brands, the list goes on.
This idea that the brand is “tired” or “outdated” usually leads us to heroic efforts to “reinvent” the brand. In my experience, though, we’re often missing what’s really going on underneath the surface. Most often, we’re just out of step with the core essence of our brand. Taking a moment to get synced up again can reinvigorate our brands, sometimes more than a total overhaul!
Yes, You Might Need to Refresh
Before we dive in, let’s be clear: brands do need a refresh every now and then. People change and evolve, and their expectations and desires change too. Just look at how advertising has had to change. The tactics we used in the ‘50s and ‘60s just don’t fly with modern customers!
Why is that? Well, people have gotten wise to these techniques, and they’re more likely to think critically about what we’re telling them. So what sold product for you 10 or 20 years ago may not work for you now—or at least, not as well as it did.
The increasingly skeptical customer is part of larger cultural change too. Think about what we expect from our Internet service providers or cellphones today! Can you imagine if they tried selling us “the information superhighway” like they did in 1995?
So yes, you absolutely need to refresh your brand from time to time! What’s important, though, is that you stay true to the essence of your brand when you do it.
The Heart of the Matter
Every brand has a “core” or essence—something that is central to the brand identity. If you took that part away, the brand would no longer be the brand. Your customers might not be able to tell you apart from your competition, or they might end up getting mixed messages about who you are.
For a company like Apple, innovation is the keyword. Apple created cutting-edge computers in the 1970s and 1980s. They got a little lost during the 1990s as Microsoft and the PC took over, and Apple failed to innovate.
Flash-forward a decade and we suddenly have a string of Apple products that redefinedhow we listen to music, how we use cellphones, and even working on the go! The iPod, iPhone, and iPad have become synonymous with ground-breaking technological evolution and sleek design.
Beauty brand Dove reconnected with their essence in creating their iconic Campaign for Real Beauty. In a market that traditionally sells “fear” to women, Dove recognized that their customers turned to them to help them feel beautiful as they are. Dove turned that into a campaign focused on body positivity, embracing beauty in all its forms.
Slogans and campaigns work because they speak to the core of the brand. You might need to refresh product offerings—Apple’s retired the iPod—or switch up your slogans, but that essence doesn’t change.
Getting Your “Groove” Back
If we only look at the surface of what’s happening with our brands, we might see a campaign or a slogan isn’t working. It’s easy to think that means our brand as a whole isn’t connecting with our customers, that they want something totally new or different from us.
Have you ever seen a movie where the lead character gets a total make-over to attract the attention of their crush? And it works! For a little bit anyway—the crush is attracted to them. But then our hero slips up or falls back into their “old ways” or realizes they’re living a lie and they can’t do it any longer. So they rip off this disguise and reveal their authentic self.
Sometimes, this means the crush leaves them. In that case, there’s usually a second love interest who sweeps in. They know who the lead character is and love them just as they are! Sometimes, the crush learns to see beneath the surface.
The lesson we can take away is that you can wear different clothes or change your hairstyle, but you’re always going to be you. And it’s always best to be that person—it might just win you true love.
The same is absolutely, 100% true for your brand! You can dress your brand up like a jock or a nerd or a cheerleader—but if that’s not your authentic brand, your customers are going to see through you.
The lesson is the same: It’s always best to be yourself. And that means creating harmony within your brand, making sure everything you do is aligning with that core identity.
Creating Brand Harmony
The first step in creating brand harmony is digging in and discovering what’s truly at the heart of your brand. Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose?
It’s smart here to consult with your loyal customers. Why do they buy from you and not anyone else? What are they getting from you that no other brand can give them? It’s usually something more than “a great price” or “good customer service.” With Apple, their innovations speak to people who are forward-thinking, who are interested in human progress, and in solving problems with tech. For beauty brands like Dove, it’s a sense of self-worth and inner beauty.
Once you understand what it is your customers turn to you for, you can translate that into brand values. Dove wants to empower its customers to feel beautiful and confident! And Apple wants to help its customers find new ways to work and play.
Your brand values inform every action your brand takes, from what you post on social media to how you interact with your customers in-person. That’s how you start building alignment. You might find a new slogan or design a new ad campaign. But this harmonized approach tells your customers that you will keep delivering what they want you to deliver—whatever that might be.
From there, you’ll be able to achieve an even deeper harmony between your brand and your customers. And that’s a truly beautiful thing!
As always, we start with the why!
Meet Margo…brand visioning & marketing
Margo Jay is a Master Brand Strategist with a career leading globally recognized brands; developing and launching a proven model that maximizes competitive sales potential and consumer appeal. She has built the model to help companies of all sizes. Her Client roster includes entrepreneurs through to Fortune 100 brands: NHL teams, Global QSR brands, CPG brands, Broadcast brands, Agencies, Non Profit brands, Hard goods…this model and process provides competitive advantage in any category.
Complete clarity. Ownable distinct selling proposition. Shared values. Brand Clarity. Brand Focus. Brand Inspiration. Brand Obsession. Unlocking brand potential is what she does.
And it all starts with why!
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