For as long as I can remember, my wife and I have a tradition when watching movie previews at the theater. It’s something that is almost an automatic response following each one – we turn into Siskel and Ebert, giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down judgments on whether we’d go see that particular movie based solely on the just-ended preview.
These previews don’t have the time or the ability to tell the whole story for the movie – they are there to tell you how they want you to feel about the movie in a way they think will convince you that it is worthy of your time and (exceedingly increasing amounts of) money. They condense all of the time, money and hard work spent to create the cinematic adventure into a summarized story, which must get you to believe in their brand (the movie) enough to give it the thumbs up.
This is in line with how many consumers interact with a brand – the immense amount of background behind a perfect brand strategy and brand implementation must be pared down into bite-sized pieces for consumption, with the hope that these “brand nuggets” will tell the brand story in a way that the audience buys into your brand as a whole.
But this is where it can get tricky. Just as those working on movie trailers don’t set out to create one that earns an immediate thumbs-down, your branding efforts won’t be created to cause potential branding missteps. The issue lies therein – what you say doesn’t have any impact unless it aligns with how it makes your audience feel.
We’ve all seen the advertisements making big promises and brand statements about a brand. But these can become empty messages if the intended audience doesn’t connect with in a way that allows for them to believe in the brand.
When creating a brand strategy, there must be significant time and effort spent on identifying the correct messaging tactics to carry the brand flag out to the marketplace, gaining that all-important emotional agreement by the audience.
But how is this done? Well, the entire process doesn’t lend itself too well for a blog post, but here are three main guidelines to keep in mind when creating a brand that correctly speaks and connects with your audience:
- Find out who your friends are. In the aforementioned movie trailer example, often a thumbs-up reaction is given to movies that may actually be very good, but that just don’t speak to us – most of the time, this is because we aren’t the intended audience. Every brand has a core market who will understand what the brand is saying, and be more inclined to buy-in.
- Stay true to yourself. What you say about your brand must be in line with who your brand really is. When branding efforts start to go the way of being who they aren’t, they are putting a roadblock in the middle of their path to success. Buy-in comes from the brand-nugget consumption, which must be a scaled down version of the true brand, not a false representation.
- Don’t forget the rest of your brand elements. A good brand isn’t just a strong strategy and on-target messaging. Both the visual branding and verbal branding aspects are important pieces of the brand puzzle, and have their own set of emotional connections that can be made. The all-around consistently great brand will far exceed the success of a brand who can only point to one area of its branding as above average.