Brand: who really builds your brand?
As Elon Musk once stated, ‘brand is essentially just a perception’. I wonder what Tesla himself would have said? To clarify, when talking about perception, it’s the tangible expression of an idea or, in its purest form, a mental construct or ‘collective impression’ (Elon again). It is essential, however, that this core ‘idea’ or essence be based on a shared set of common values that resonate with a core set of people. Yet, building a brand and bringing it to life requires collective effort and a degree of letting control of the reins go to the customer! Not an easy task for many of us.
Built around this ‘perception’, however, are concepts of identity, values, beliefs and personality.
It can therefore be very easy to be misled into thinking that brand strategists, marketers and designers actually build brands. Technically they don’t. So who really builds a brand? Who are the brand builders?
The truth is, the real and authentic builders of your brand are the very customers who embrace the core values and the essence of a brand itself. They live it. And so must you. Your customer really is at the heart and the lifeblood of your brand. This is why it’s essential to make the customer ‘the hero’ of your story – because story telling from your ideal customer’s perspective enables your unique message to be delivered smoothly and directly, while at the same time subtly allows the brand and its visual identity (see my other blog on identity here) to resonate and connect with your desired audience on a deeper subconscious level.
What’s the most effective way to do this? Put ourselves in the shoes of our customer – ‘BE your customer’ – and build brands that having meaning, purpose, relevance and value in their daily lives. Relevance again is a key term as is a focus on your customer.
Strategists, marketers and designers simply create the foundation stones, but it’s the customers and raving fans who bring a brand to life and make it a real, tangible force. They are the ‘force’ who champion and advocate the product or service for you. They are the people who continually and quietly (or loudly) support ‘the cause’ or ‘purpose’ through regular engagement, ongoing consumption or continual contribution day after day, year after year. They are your true brand heroes. The everyday Joe’s and Jemima’s who are anything but ‘everyday’ to your brand.
An effective brand does however require some ‘key stones’ to ensure the brand stands strong and endures. This is why a clear identity is one ‘stone’ or ‘pillar’ among many that customers need to be able to relate to. A strong, clear and universal identity can powerfully attract, overcome confusion, resolve misunderstandings, bind and unite and transcend cultural, religious and language barriers.
Providing your customers with the tools and a compelling story that attracts, connects ‘ and helps your business grow is the smart way to build your blueprint for brand success. In this way you’re turning the traditional marketing funnel on its side – instead of feeding ‘the story’ drip-by-drip, message-by-message down to your customers, let the customers amplify the brand message for you. What’s more, it’ll save you time, effort and money too.
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 workshops designed to help businesses realise and communicate their ‘Why?’ Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now. I’m passionate about creating brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers they care about for serious growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur