The way we interact and engage with brands has changed immensely over the last decade. Brands are no longer simply colorful logos and catchy taglines, but are interactive experiences woven into the pattern of our lives, often in ways we are barely conscious of. Consumers have almost unlimited choices, and many brands now operate in ‘a sea of sameness’.
To stand out, brands need to resonate with audiences in a way that is emotionally engaging and relevant to their lives. To do this, they need to consider their behavior as a brand, and learn to adapt and respond to their customers’ needs and desires. It is no longer enough to develop a great identity system and believe that strict visual and verbal consistency alone will build a great brand. Brands now exist in such a vast array of mediums that the context in which the customer experiences them must be considered in every case. And to do this successfully, you need to have a brand core.
The brand core acts as both a north star and a reference point for everything the brand does. Supported by a definition of the brand’s values, which reflect the beliefs and attributes that regulate behavior, and by the brand’s benefits, which embodies the advantages to the customer, the brand core is a concise, powerful statement expressing the true essence of what the brand stands for.
Examples of brand cores include:
GE: Always With Unyielding Integrity
Starbucks: Rewarding Everyday Moments
Disney: Fun Family Entertainment
Nike: Authentic Athletic Performance
23andMe: Making Genetics Personal
Zappos: Happiness in a Box
One of the most rewarding parts of our job is to help clients truly understand who they are as a company, determine what they value, and define their brand voice and tone. We try to explain that the brand core is a bigger idea than what a brand sells – it is credible, relevant, and differentiated from competitors. Without knowing and being able to articulate this, it is extremely difficult to engage with your customers through all mediums.
Do you have a brand core? If you don’t, perhaps it’s time to think about the essence of what your company stands for. Dig deep, and keep picking out the fluff, until you get to a core statement that embodies what your company believes in and guides your every move as brand.