Brand: How to build a ‘AAAA’ brand in 4 steps
There are four core building blocks to build a brand of substance, style and significance. Without one of these building blocks or ‘brand pillars’ your brand will collapse in on itself, because the brand will lack the necessary integrity, infrastructure or vital ingredients. These include the vision, values & belief, the framework, support, energy, human element and natural momentum to grow with your intended ‘tribe’. Remember, no one person builds a brand… – similar to nature’s own pollination process, an individual customer acts as a catalyst – spreading the seed or brand belief in their head and heart to create and build a collective identity or tribe.
The four ‘A’s that make up the foundations of a ‘AAAA’ brand represent for the following elements:
Step 1: determine your Archetype. Understand the psychology behind your business’ personality. Identify your identity. If you don’t know yourself how do you expect customers to buy from you? Tapping the subconscious and unconscious mind is a powerful way to embed and connect (get ‘in sync’) with the hearts and minds of your ideal client or ‘Avatar’. Without this step your brand will lack the foundation and roots to grow.
Step 2: define your Avatar or audience. (I prefer Avatar because the term ‘audience’ implies a passive or removed state of being – people who are there to be merely entertained or to just ‘hear’ you. Brand is far more active and engaging – its about relationships, identity, shared passion, interests, connectivity, interactivity and exchange i.e. the opposite of a passive activity.) It’s your Avatar who elevates you to the state of authority or key person of influence in your special field, only once you have earned that status. It’s not for you to determine that status. No brand deserves respect – it must earn that respect on its own merits. Maintaining this status or state of being is a key challenge.
At a brand’s ‘heart’ lies its customer – its ‘hero’. It’s not enough however to just know your customer and his/her pain points. Today you must Be your customer in order to relate, engage, resonate and connect. Only by being your customer and understanding her/him on a far deeper level will you be able to successfully understand, provide and position your tailored solutions that will endear and attract your customer closer to your brand offering.
Step 3: Aesthetics. Take note in which order I’ve placed it here. Third, not first. Because most people assume they should start building a brand right here. Never assume. A logo, a corporate identity, a colour palette and a website alone do not make your brand. If you think this is the starting point prepare for a whole heap of pain, frustration and wasted effort. Aesthetics are the visual expression of your brand but the visuals are not the ‘be and end all‘ of brand. Think more in terms of purpose, a cause, a belief and a feeling – even better a ‘movement’. Few can resist the pull of a worthy or lofty calling! Yes, its all intangible but the ‘aesthetics’ make the brand tangible through visual expression and strategic communication.
The magic combination of the Archetype and the Avatar help steer the Aesthetics into form. The result? We have resonance and alignment with your specific customer as the tangible and intangible ingredients work their magic.
Step 4 and the last stage is Activation. This is the implementation phase. Activation turns all the ‘fluff’, the ‘woo’ and the intangibles into something concrete – something real that customers can see, touch and feel. Take massive action. Activation means making a marketing system or machine that automates, prioritises and brings in the right people and process at the right time as you’re building your brand. This includes launching your brand, marketing it online and offline, and leveraging social media and other systems that can help increase your brands’ visibility.
So remember, the 4 A’s are the building blocks to building your brand’s blueprint for growth!
Be a master builder.
Be your customer.
Be the brand your customers want you to be.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to educate businesses to identify their identity, visualise their vision and manifest their brand mission. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers for business growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur