Part 3: What can you do?
There are several ways you can think of and work with branding. Here are a few strategies you can consider working on and shape into something concrete, possibly, in collaboration with a coach.
- Brand personality
One way you can differentiate yourself from other brands and make your brand more interesting is to work with your brand's personality. Giving your brand human character traits can help tell a deeper story. Is your business fun, fresh, serious, down to earth, formal rebel, or something completely else?
By giving your brand some personality, you can create a personal bond with your recipient. The recipient feels that they know the brand when it has human character traits and personality. This way, the brand becomes more accessible, and it can make it easier for the consumer to identify with the brand.
Before you define your brand's personality, think about all the possible characteristics your brand has / can have and examine the characteristics of your brand, the values and the target base. Learn who you really are and who you want to sell to.
- Your employees
Your branding starts inside your business. You'll have to win your employees over, first. Internal marketing and branding can help with staff motivation. If you brand internally, the likelihood of your employees becoming more passionate advocates for your brand increases.
Fun fact: marketing messages reach people 561% more, when shared by employees, rather than the brand itself. People trust people, so it's important to get the conversation going about your brand from the perspective of employees or customers, rather than the company itself.
Who you surround yourself with and how your employees behave have a big impact on how your recipients perceive you and your company. If you want to appear serious and formal, your employees may need to wear suits or other formal clothing. Not only does there need to be consistency between what you want and what you express, towards your recipients., but also it is important that your employees can participate in those consistencies.
How you refer to them also has an impact on your expression: are they your "staff", or your "employees"? In the wedding dress shop Panayotis, they are "dream interpreters". At Disneyland they are "cast members".
Just one small thing: it also matters a lot how you refer to your recipient: are they "customers", "members", "guests", etc.? At A.C. Perch's Thehandel, consumers shifted from Danish “de”, meaning general “they”, to a highly formal “dem”, meaning "Them", to provide a more formal and old-fashioned experience.
Storytelling is actually something we all use, more or less every day. A story you tell over the dinner table is storytelling.
Therefore, it can also be used as a strategic management tool, in an attempt to construct the desired brand universe. It is a tool you can use to put images on otherwise airy and superficial concepts such as strategies, visions and values, so that they become more concrete, easier to remember and identify with.
It serves as a framework for the company's actions. Storytelling can thus help you create an overall picture of the company's concept, shape the brand and create experiences for the recipients. It is through stories that you can present and position yourself. You are free to play with it.
The benefit of storytelling is that it can, if done right, create an emotional bond between you and your recipients. By using storytelling in your branding, it is the story that becomes the product, while the product itself will be a by-product.
Fun fact: many studies have proven that storytelling has a great effect on human behavior. The human brain is more engaged in storytelling than in simple logical facts.
But storytelling is not just a form of communication that addresses your recipient. Storytelling is also an important tool when you want to strengthen your employees' affiliation with the company. Through the story, they get a guideline on how to meet the recipient. It can help to give your employees a clearly defined role, which is part of the narrative.
What you sell should not be the focal point of your narrative. Instead, try to make the recipient the hero of your story, as this will make it easier for the recipients to relate to it. Like I mentioned in the first part about the Transformation Economy, the brand must act as a mentor, and your product or service is the magical gift that the hero needs.
With the Experience Economy, almost everything is, to some degree, staged. Therefore, consumers have begun to long for something that seems genuine. We live in a “mass-production" society where everything can be copied, plus we live in a "use-and-throw-away culture". Therefore, we are looking for originality and authenticity, which can give the experience an additional dimension.
Credibility and authenticity are important as they help to create a bond of trust with the brand identity. Your brand must be authentic, which is possible when your company expresses persistent ambitions, values and beliefs. What you and your company basically stand for must be static. At the same time, it is important that there is uniformity between who you are and what you express externally. It's the real deal.
We live in a noisy world where we are constantly bombarded with impressions. Therefore, it can be really difficult to get people to remember your business. Which means, you need to be very clear in what you want others to know about you. You need to invest time and care to stay relevant. You need to ask yourself who you are, what you stand for, and how you fit into this world. It's not something you can establish in a few weeks. It takes time and you have to be consistent, even if, for a period of time, it is not going all too well.
But we know you can do it! And we hope you've gotten a little better understanding of the branding universe. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired, curious and better equipped, to give it a shot.