We form impressions of others based on the experiences we have with them. In the same way, the brand experiences your audience has — with your look and feel, your products, and your service — constantly form their impressions.
Branding is an opinion
Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. (Thanks Jeff Bezos.) So if you want your business to do well, you need your audience to have a high opinion of you.
These opinions start with your product. It’s important to learn what does and doesn’t work. One major tip: don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Being genuine to your product, service or offering is always best, as people are pretty astute at sniffing out an imposter.
Own what you stand for
In this day and age, there’s a high chance there will be people who like you and people who don’t. If your brand has some core value beliefs — like Lush’s stance against animal testing — don’t be afraid to stand up for them.
Likeminded people gravitate towards one another, so it makes sense that they also gravitate towards likeminded brands. Think about the brands you draw on in your daily life. Do they share your values? Do they have physical elements that appeal to you? Do you like the way they talk? Or what they have to say?
Yeah. Thought so.
Help others identify with you
If you’re a sun-loving beach babe, you’re probably not going around in a tuxedo. (If you are, kudos for breaking the stereotype.) Dress and design to impress — but always remember your signature brand of style.
Think about your target markets. Imagine their lives and their needs. Visualise how they dress, converse and interact. When you do this, you can create something that speaks more authentically to them.
Engage in meaningful conversations
A good look gets old real quick if there’s no substance or personality to back it up. You want to keep your audience around for a long time, so start to think of them as friends.
Engage your “friends” in a broader conversation. Ask for their feedback on elements of your brand — and when they give them, listen and act. Open up channels for discussion, so everyone can weigh in and feel closer.
What does it all mean?
We need to see brands as people. Brands must have depth, be interested (yes, interestED — being interestING is just a by-product of this) and be willing to receive love. You don’t want a brand that’s like a zombie, aimlessly wandering around, trying to nab their next prey.
Brands need nurturing, and more often than not, a little life-coaching.
So, who’s your brand going to be?
A lifeless thing that sucks the energy out of others? Or a vibrant individual who holds fruitful and meaningful conversations?
Bas Storch is the Creative Director of The Being Group. When Bas isn’t designing brands, he spends his time as a hovering art director. The design team loves it.