Conversations about brand often focus on the visual elements. There’s good reason. A great logo and interesting color palette tell a story about you quickly and work on the psychological level to imply qualities of your organization. (More on that in another post.)
A beloved brand, however, can’t be encapsulated by an image. Your brand is not your logo. David Ogilvy said it well. A brand is “The intangible sum of a product’s [entity’s] attributes.” Your logo may be part of your brand story, provided that you have a thoughtful set of messages and narrative. Without those, your visual brand is a set of interesting pictures.
Your brand story matters
Your brand story is your best chance to connect hearts and minds. Scientifically speaking, this is how you motivate desire, advocacy, and productivity. In the ecosystem of your reputation inside and outside of your company walls, your message is the nucleus.
Inside your organization, your messaging connects you more deeply with team members and stakeholders. It becomes a rallying cry (a watchword, so to speak) that orients people with shared values and objectives. In the marketplace, messaging communicates that core essence of your organization. It crystallizes your differentiators in a way that is honest to you and meaningful to your target audiences. In doing so, it helps you to stand out from the competition.
Sharing authentic key messages succinctly and consistently in a voice that resonates with core audiences creates a strong brand in the minds of clients, prospects, partners, and employees.
It’s no wonder that every one of the world’s most distinctive brands has a well-articulated, resonant story and a clear identity. Can you think of a single major brand that lacks a statement of purpose or repeatable positioning statement? Not likely. Take a second and think about it. The irony in the argument is that creating that story and identity should be the most natural, authentic thing in the world. But in truth, it’s a strategic process that demands focus and tenacity.
The elements of a cohesive brand
Branding happens from the inside out and the outside in. It puts a spotlight on what’s distinct, important, and sustainable about you and what you do. While markets, economies, demographics, and other things change, it is likely to remain true. Crafting that story requires information and emotion.
Information messaging helps to show and explain what you do, how you do it, and for whom you’re working. It’s the features of the mattress. Straightforward. Emotion messaging shows and explains why. It’s the great night’s sleep. You have to know your audience and what will compel them to want you. And when you do, you transform your message from ‘fit and function’ (your table stakes) to a shareable story of what makes you distinct, sustainable, and better.
What and How Messages (Information)
- Key offerings
Why Messages (Emotion)
- Statement of Purpose
- Core values
Most organizations are great at the Information messages. And they’re useful – they orient you in a sector, line you up against the competition, provide a baseline for measuring strategies. If you can do the Emotion messages well, though, you can resonate with the people who matter most and set yourself above for the things you do and for what you represent.
Over the coming posts, we’ll dig into the Information and Emotion elements of a cohesive brand messaging platform. We’ll help you consider the questions you should be asking, and provide tools you can use to elevate your brand. In the meantime, say firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your story and ask questions that push you to think deeper so you can begin to craft the intangible sum of what makes you distinct and meaningful.