Let’s get ‘out there’ for a minute. Branding can often be overly serious and viewed as a big undertaking. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s break from the norm here and get introspective. When you look within your brand, what do you find that’s unlike anything else? Start by peeling back the layers working your way down to the core or, essence, of what makes your brand different. What draws people to your brand? What kind of unique benefit does it offer to your customers, clients, fans and the people who have yet to discover your brand?
In the article below we’ll unveil why defining the essence of your brand might be the most important step before planning your marketing communications and how to get started.
You’ve heard the phrase “get the story straight,” right? Of course you have. You can hardly sell someone on a product, service or idea without first telling them a story. It’s true. No one wants to be sold something, but everyone loves a good story–and they buy the great ones. That being said, it's important that the story you’re telling with your brand is not only authentic, but one that people actually want to hear.
Once you have the right story in place, the right kind of creative messaging takes shape. The essence establishes the key phrases and touchpoints that will support your marketing communications efforts and acts as the creative model which all other messaging must reflect. From traditional advertisements on radio, signage, print and outdoor to digital and interactive communication on the web or social media, a brand essence will get the story straight and give your brand a consistent narrative.
At first, a brand essence might seem like quite an abstract idea. In reality, it’s a strategic, story-driven arrangement of the words and ideas that make your brand unique and serves as a standard or benchmark by which to measure all your communication tactics. For us, it’s handy when defining a brand’s voice and tone. What’s a brand voice and tone you may ask? Simply put, it’s the way your brand speaks and sounds to the audiences who engage with it.
When we take a look at how a brand comes to life, the voice and tone defines strategic and creative points of view. In all phases of your brand’s marketing, the voice and tone as set forth by your brand essence plays a role in the character behind your brand, the copy themes and voice that affects customer engagement. People love a good personality. Define one for your brand so you can stop selling your customers and start having a conversation with them.
No one ever charged into battle in silence, so why should your brand take to the market with little more than a whisper? Your brand has character, a unique voice and with a brand essence to capture the story, your brand has a purpose. Make your purpose known to the world, and the world will know why they should listen. Take this brand essence we produced for Mississippi Aquarium for example:
When you create a brand essence it serves as your "manifesto" and arms everyone involved in your brand and business with a unifying, empowering message. No brand can live on a marketing manager alone. That’s why a brand essence is so important for creating a cohesive message shared by friends and fans alike. It allows the legs of the people who love and work for your brand do the legwork for you.
Start defining your brand’s essence by considering a few simple questions:
As a business owner you know what you do better than anyone else, but when it comes to defining your brand think about what you do as it relates to the people and customers you serve. Look into what is the unique benefit that you provide and what makes it special.
Your process, your mission, your way of doing things–your brand is unique. Make sure your audience knows it. Don’t gloss over the details but express the true nitty gritty of the means and manner in which you provide your expertise, products or services.
People need a reason to get behind your brand, and your story is the best way to win them over. Let your brand’s essence capture the full story, so that its influence is present in each of your marketing communications and encourages more customers to believe in what your brand offers.
Defining your brand’s essence starts with defining what sets you apart and ends with telling a compelling story. Once you’ve equipped your brand with a standout narrative, you will have created a distinct brand with a story that engages your customers, motivates them with emotional cues and captures the unique selling proposition or characteristic behind your brand. The ability for a brand to make an emotional connection with its audience is what sets successful businesses apart from those that fail. In short, a brand essence is a story that succeeds.
MESH is an independent, award-winning creative and strategic agency with over 15 years of successfully creating connection and loyalty to brands. We work with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups, who are willing to invest in their brand.