The 5 Components of a Successful Brand

Even though I love strategy and execution, I like to think of myself as a branding guy at heart. I’ve made logos, helped a few organizations create new brands for themselves, and helped organizations figure out what to do to improve the brand they have. I love that kind of work.

I’ve read a lot of great stuff on branding, and I could probably write all day about it if I had the time. But to be a little more practical, I’ll share 5 components of a successful brand that I find myself repeating over and over:

  1. Purpose over promise. You need to have a clear, tangible, repeatable iteration of the reason why you exist. This may or may not be your mission statement; it could be a tagline. For example, where I work our mission statement is discovering life with God for the good of the world. But we’ve been using a simple tagline lately: find your go. (Actually, we’ve been using the hashtag #findyourgo, but it’s definitely a tagline too.)It’s better to show this purpose than tell it yourself. If your purpose is to feed hungry people, show the people you’re feeding. Don’t just say “we feed hungry people.”
  2. Consistency of narrative and design. Not every tagline, or story you tell, or social post or email or print piece will be amazing. And that’s okay! Don’t underestimate how important it is to constantly reinforce your identity, to the point it becomes familiar. Familiarity doesn’t lead to boredom; it leads to positive associations and, eventually, warm feelings.
  3. Emotion that inspires loyalty. Psychologists have observed a strong correlation between emotion and decision making. People who experience damage to the part of the brain that affects emotion also experience a profound difficulty with making even simple decisions, like what to eat for breakfast. Emotion is necessary to help people become intentional about connecting with your brand, about choosing it over the other options that are in front of them.
  4. Employee engagement is an incredible barometer of a brand’s strength. If your employees and partners aren’t excited about your brand, how likely is it that your brand will resonate with your constituents? If your staff wear your t-shirts by choice, you’re on the right track. Keep going.
  5. Responsiveness matters today more than ever. Be human, not an institution. Take advantage of every opportunity for conversation you get.
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The Creative Brief

Every project worth your time starts with a plan: the definition of the need, the desired outcome, and the measure of success.

When it comes to creative projects, the plan also includes a critical piece of communication called the creative brief.

The creative brief can be a cumbersome document if done incorrectly. If done well, however, it can lead to groundbreaking work that goes beyond what anyone expected.

This video is a look into the thinking of some of the leading creatives in advertising, design, and architecture around the mission critical brief.

It’s worth your 26 minutes, trust me.

Briefly from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

 

www.vimeo.com/107567840

Thoughts on “Belong Before Believe”

People belong to a group based on its actions, not its words. They want to belong to a group that does things that they want to get on board with.

Every group that people belong to outside of church does stuff. Teams, clubs, civic organizations… people join them to do, not to be.

If your church is putting “belong before believe” language in their marketing, you’re missing the whole point. Just start doing things that make people want to join in and you will attract people.

Tourists or Pilgrims 

Pilgrims are seeking a purpose. Tourists are seeking an experience. A tourist might love the experience, rave over it, document it, relive it. But they aren’t committed to it.

Tourists share experiences but they don’t construct them. They’re in it temporarily, not for the long haul. Tourists are consumers at heart.

Pilgrims are on a mission. They have a goal, a purpose of becoming a different person. Pilgrims make things happen. They’re in it for the long haul.

Winning brands treat their audiences like pilgrims, not tourists.

Meet Winston

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This is Winston. He is a French Bulldog who belongs to my wife’s cousin. He’s also our houseguest for the next 6 days. It’s hard to get a picture of Winston, because he doesn’t really sit still. Ever.

Winston is what you would call an active dog. Being 1 year old, this is normal. It’s just that our dog Gus, at age 1, acted more like a piece of furniture than a dog. He’s almost three now, and we manage to keep him nicely out of shape. Gus is not an active dog.

Winston is not neutered. As any dog person knows, young, un-neutered male dogs do one thing more than anything else; they hump. They’ll hump other dogs, people’s legs, furniture, even a kids’ toy, if it’s big enough. It’s not pretty.

Gus was neutered as early as the vet would let us, so he’s never really been one to “assume the dominant position” on other dogs, or anything else, for that matter.¬† This whole humping thing is new to us. And while Gus has been around plenty off other dogs before, he has probably never been around a humper like Winston.

Luckily, Winston is much smaller than Gus, so it doesn’t get to him much. The only time it it’s a major problem is when Gus lies down, because that allows Winston to hop right up on Gus’s head. Not surprisingly, Gus finds this annoying. The kids find it pretty funny though, since they are young and don’t really understand why Winston keeps trying to wrestle with Gus’s head. They think Winston just wants to go for a ride on Gus’ shoulders or something, or maybe he wants Gus to wear him like a hat. A “doggie hat,” as the kids called it.

When Winston isn’t playing doggie hat with Gus, he is doing the other thing he does a lot: barking.

Gus isn’t much of a barker. He will bark when someone comes to the door, or if a car pulls in the driveway. Winston barks at the rotation of the earth. He also likes to direct his barking at the kids, which slightly freaks them out. It’s as if he’s trying to warn them, sternly, that they are in danger from the earth’s rotation, and if they don’t comply with his warning to leave the earth, he’ll have to nip them. This isn’t endearing.

Winston is small, and resembles one of our favorite Disney characters, Stitch. You would think that would endear Winston to the girls, but at this point they think he’s more like the six-armed-alien-troublemaker Stitch than the lovable-Elvis-impersonating Stitch.

If there was a “just pooped a couple times in the kitchen” Stitch, Winston would really resemble him.

Winston has been at our house for 12 hours.

 

Update, post-Winston: Winston was at our house for 5 days. By the third day, he had settled down quite a bit, and become a lot easier to manage. While we weren’t exactly sad to see him go, the kids added him to our “…and God bless…” bedtime prayers.¬†