The “Why” Behind Your Brand
The word “branding” has become a part of our daily vocabulary within the business world, surfacing to awareness about 15 years ago. Its notoriety came out of witnessing successful companies who accomplish it very well and gave it meaning. Even so, there are still different interpretations in the marketplace which is out of whack with its true integrity. Wikipedia tells us that, “a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer.” A philosophy that has been challenging for many companies to produce and implement successfully in their daily operation but what does it all mean?
Our favorite brands have taught us so many valuable tips over the years, but instead of learning from their successful formulas, we still try to reinvent the wheel of what makes a brand so memorable. For Disney, Apple, Starbucks, Dove, Google, Target, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, Nordstrom, Coca-Cola, Nike, and so forth, their brand isn’t just about their fancy logo on their establishment entrance or website, it's everything that’s involved in making them operate while laddering up to a purpose, a vision or a “why”. It’s their personality, the DNA that we respond to that empowers us to gain our desires. We’re loyal, becoming promoters for their product or services because the message they stand for is paramount, resonating throughout their culture. What establishes a memorable brand is the rallying around a “why,” and not the “how” and not the “what.” Your audience wants to comprehend why they should care — a theory that was introduced to us by Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
When evolving or producing an ideal brand, make a commitment toward consistency that will lead your audience to trust, which in the end will lead to profits. A great example of building a consistent visionary brand is from Apple and their charge to, “think different” and change the world. A lofty objective from their 1997 campaign but isn’t that precisely what they accomplished? They weren't able to do this relying only on their exceptional products, Apple was persistent in building this type of image and applying any company performance to reach this aspirational level. It was all things involved that helped the world to realize they were much more than just another technology company. Their employees and audience stood behind this ideology making their accomplishments easier to obtain and catapulting Apple to prestige status.
Digging deep into the soul of your company will bring out your authenticity to be at the forefront. Establishing your genuineness that is like no other company. Your audience is smarter than you think and they detest being sold too so speak from the heart. Just like meeting a stranger for the first time, it’s your gut that tells you if you’ve made a connection. Those feelings are instinctive and reflective of their stand out characteristics; it’s just like how people will react to your brand. Certain impulsive feelings will surface from your audience to allow them to connect or detach. For example, you can’t preach that you are “trustworthy” while your capabilities presentation or marketing materials are inconsistent and look like a child executed them. You can’t promote that you are “passionate” about customers when in the face of adversity you run for the hills! Any effort given off from your business needs to be in alignment to your vision and flow through the company’s bloodstream. From the CEO down the chain of command...everyone and everything involved.
It is also important to understand that building a successful brand doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time and guidance from advocates within your organization. Branding needs to live and breathe and will not work unless you nurture it’s consistency, allowing for it to grow. The genius behind the Apple brand, Steve Jobs, has once said, “Sell dreams, not products or services.” A compelling idea for us all to take to heart and incorporate into the “why” behind our brand. Setting your bar high will attract an audience of evangelists instead of flies.