04 November 2009

Branding Stories

Every brand has a story. Many marketing professionals, including yours truly, believe that communicating this story will lead to a brands success. But, where does the story come from and what exactly is the story?

Here are my quick thoughts on to identify your brand story:

1. History.
Your brands history is a story in itself; how did your brand begin, what changes were made along the way, how did your brand evolve - these are all questions you can answer to form the history of your brand and if the history is compelling, can differentiate your brand from others. Brands with good history stories that come to mind are: Nike, Goodyear, Safeway, Ford, Ikea, 3M, Ferrari, Hewlett-Packard, Zippo, Harley Davidson, and Coca Cola. There are many with great brand histories - these companies do a good job of communicating their past as a cornerstone to their brand offering. Even if you are relatively new, documenting acheivements and turning points in your brand, demonstrates history.

2. Beliefs. Your brands beliefs are a story; what is important to your brand, what drives your brand forward, what does your brand strive for - these are questions you can answer to form the beliefs of your brand and lets consumers know what you stand for. Brands with strong beliefs are: Apple, Hewlet-Packard and Sony (Innovation), The Body Shoppe (Natural), Trader Joe's (Fun), Ferrari and Nike (Performance), Rolex (Quality), Bentley (Craftsmanship), Walmart (Cheap). No matter what your belief is, you need to communicate it and be known by it. Consistency in communicating this story helps to solidify what your brand stands for with consumers. A brands beliefs are typically tied to a genuine passion of the company founder or leader.

3. Personality. Your brands personality is an evolving story; how does your brand dress, what mood is your brand, is your brand friendly, is your brand assertive, is your brand trusting, is your brand open to dialogue, is your brand unique - these are all questions that you can answer in the look and feel of your brands marketing materials. Brands that have unquestionable personality are: Apple, Ikea, Google, Hasbro, Disney, Swatch, Kraft, Kellogg's, Yamaha. The personality of your brand should instantly instill feeling and emotion towards your brand. The look and feel or personality of your brand should support and act as conduit for your brands beliefs and history. The colours, fonts, style, copy, imagery, sound and wordmark should all work together to communicate your brand personality. The personality doesn't happen by chance, it should be carefully and strategically designed by a professional.

Communicating these stories can be done several different ways - I can cover that another day though... for now, start thinking about your history, beliefs and personality. These three brand story points will also help to define your brand motto, and vice versa.

There are several ways to approach your brand story, these, in my opinion are the three most important ones and are the base for all others.

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