3 ingredients to a brand

Feb 10, 2016 1062
Published in MR. POSH

A brand might be recognized by a colorful logo or a catchy jingle, but that isn’t actually what defines the brand for customers.

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What differentiates and defines a brand in the marketplace is a brand’s character. So what constitutes brand character?





A brand first and foremost makes a promise. Nike may be memorable because of their iconic swoosh, but their brand promise—“to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”—is why Nike die-hards love them. Everything Nike does encapsulates that promise, from their inspirational print ads to their clean but edgy website aesthetic to their innovative digital content.


Note that nowhere in the brand promise does Nike mention their products. This can be a powerful move, especially when your brand provides something a lot of other brands also provide.




For example, Volvo owners reap the benefits of consistent road safety, as the vehicles are known as one of the safest in the world. Those who listen to music on the subway through Beats by Dre headphones are thought of as connoisseurs of high-quality sound. People who carry around the popular (and expensive) bkr glass water bottles are able to attend to environment and personal health concerns without forgoing luxe. In each of these examples, the brand has made a promise to deliver a kind of experience, and once the consumer has that experience, the benefit is apparent. The benefit is what keeps them coming back.

In practice: What will your audience get from engaging with your brand? And I don’t mean what products or services does she get, but what kind of association does she benefit from, whether it’s a feeling, a reputation, or a more tangible benefit? For example, if she makes a donation to your cause, what is the impact she will make? What is the return on her investment? How do you want her to feel after interacting with your brand?




A trailer shows you the film in a mini-story version, in order to elicit an emotional experience that stays with you and compels you to see the film when it’s released.

Brand stories work similarly: the story you tell helps your audience identify with your brand. For purpose-driven organizations, your brand story is the most powerful expression of who you are and the impact your have on the world.