Branding: Not for the Faint at Heart

If it were easy to create a brand message, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could build a brand, then brand experts would be out of business. Brand development usually requires months of research, development and testing. Here are some thoughts on branding.

A quick note about my experience with branding

I love branding. its intricacies and the challenges. My experience has thrived on building intangible things that drive action. Here’s just a bit of background relating to my experience and philosophies surrounding branding. While a marketing manager and marketing consultant, I developed and implemented strategic and tactical branding, eternal communications and marketing plans for companies. I made sure to maintain a positive public image of the company I worked for, which included developing media outreach strategies.

I’m proud of the fact that my innovate branding campaigns helped to build and enhance awareness of my employer’s brand and we were able to tie those efforts to actual revenue. I’ve implemented internal brand engagement strategies and managed brand budgets. When it comes to branding, I’m a stickler and I’ll stop at nothing to ensure the brand image is maintained in what we do, what we sell, and how we sell and market it. I think it’s vital that everyone’s on board with your branding initiatives so that they will all do their part to stay in line with it. Nothing builds a business like the right branding that’s developed strategically and maintained methodically.

Your brand lives inside conversations and aspirations. Brands aren’t static; they’re living, breathing things that organically change and evolve as new people join the conversation.

Your brand won’t break into a million pieces like a light fluorescent light bulb smashing into the floor, so don’t keep it high up on a shelf and out of reach. Hold your brand, push and stretch it. How far can it go? You can’t hide your brand and throw away the key. It’s got to see daylight. Plus, your brand might just not be what you think it is. Brands should unite people and give them shared ownership. Don’t just give consumers a better option to purpose … give them a better perspective on themselves and the world.

How the world sees you and your brand

Corporations don’t create brands, people do. The people inside your company are also the keepers of your brand.

An outside party won’t know the culture and spirit like your team does. Even if you don’t have a dedicated marketing department, that’s okay. But, think about this … what if the branding process could be open source, accessible to anyone. The truth is that nobody knows your brand like you do. Yo just need a template to follow. Or a hack.

Branding Hacks

Most of us know what life hacks are. They’re clever shortcuts that save you time, money or hassle. For example, a productivity hack might show you how to speed-read. Or, a decorating hack might show you how to hang a picture frame so that it’s completely level and looks its best. So what about marketing? Can we “hack” that process? We can and we should. You can build your personal or business brand and you should start right away. As a matter of fact, to compete in a crowded and competitive marketplace, you must hack your brand. And you don’t necessarily need an ad agency to do that.

I love advertising, don’t get me wrong. Yet, ad agency life is really time consuming. All nighters like those I experienced in college became the norm and work engulfed everything that I did. Not to say I didn’t love every minute of it, because I did. However, I’ve learned that my work is not the most important thing in my life. It’s a passion that I happen to get paid for, but it’s the people in my life that take precedent — as do the causes that I care about.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a mid-sized one looking for a more efficient system, I can help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Make you work inside an ad agency, PR firm, or other type of communication company. Or perhaps you’re stuck on an assignment and need a burst of inspiration. If you’re a coach or advisor, I hope that this post helps you find new ways to get a message across without spending too much (or any at all!). You could have zero experience with branding (or perhaps zero confidence in your creativity). That’s not a problem.

Branding all comes down to fascination.

The word “fascinate” comes from the Latin fascinate, “to bewitch or hold captive so others are powerless to resist.”

All around the world, ancient cultures were fascinated with fascination. Until now the act of fascinating others has been an unpredictable occurrence, a product of luck or timing rather than an ability to be directed at will. However, when it comes to marketing, fascinating others is both an art and a science — and it’s really not that mysterious. Once you’ve established fascination, it must precede action. The question then becomes how to influence human behavior. You can win bigger budgets, more time, better relationships, greater admiration, and deeper trust through branding and marketing.

As a business, if you can’t persuade customers to act you might as well donate your entire marketing budget to charity.

Here’s how fascination applies to your branding:

  • How can you help customers feel more fascinating to others? Rather than putting all your focus on fascinating your customers …help them feel more fascinating. People are willing to pay almost a week’s salary to be the most fascinating person in any situation. (A big opportunity if your brand can help them feel more confident and engaging in conversation.)
  • People want to feel fascinated by a product or experience, and will often pay far more for a brand that fascinates them than one that does not. (A big opportunity if your brand can fascinate)

As yourself if your message is provoking strong and immediate emotional reactions. Is it creating advocates and inciting conversation? How about forcing your competitors to realign. If so, you’ve begun flirting with marketing’s darker arts. If the ancient Romans understood the fearsome force of fascination, so can we. And we can use it to strategically and methodically to our advantage.

Companies will add more value, and compete more effectively, by identifying and applying the way in which they persuade. Those who don’t will be pushed aside or forgotten. Messages that fail to fascinate will become irrelevant. It’s that simple.

Remember the original Latin meaning of “fascinate”: “To bewitch or hold captive so others are powerless to resist.” We all have behaviors that don’t exactly make sense, even to ourselves. Sometimes we make choices and perform actions without exactly knowing why. Here’s why: In a state of fascination, we don’t think and act quite logically. We do things we don’t understand and we believe messages we don’t agree with. We even buy things we don’t really want. At its most extreme, fascination short-circuits the logical evaluation process. Rather than coolly analyzing a decision we’re gripped by involuntary responses. Some of us might think that we’re still in control of our own choices, but we’re really not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *