What is a brand?
I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not your logo or your colour scheme, and it’s not what your company does. Yet, only explaining what we do seems to be our elevator pitch to that age-old networking question, “So, what do you do?”
Take a look at your resume. More than likely, you’ve itemized all of your tasks and responsibilities under each job position you’ve ever held, but how often do you list that you increased company revenue by more than 400%? Employers want to see your major accomplishments and how you made a difference. You only have 15 seconds to make an impression, and the same holds true for brands and their customers. But rather than sharing measurable results, a company’s brand has a lot to do with how they make customers feel, not with what they do, and that is the biggest myth of all. Let’s take a look at how three big brands have done their brand strategy right.
When you purchase from Apple, you know that you’re getting a quality product. As one of the most innovative tech companies in the world, they are constantly pushing out new inventory every few months or upgrading the operating systems of their current product lines to improve performance, which are not always compatible with their older models. Still, they’ve managed to cultivate a strong cult following for their products. Their design is simple and minimalistic while their marketing demonstrates how their product is seamlessly integrated into your daily routine and how your life is better with it.
Nike has been around for over 50 years and has, for the most part, dominated the worldwide market of athletic footwear apparel. If you’re an athlete, it’s highly probable that you’ve owned at least one pair of Nike shoes or clothing item in your entire athletic career. Nike encourages high performance. It motivates you to chase your dreams no matter how big they are and when you wear it, you want to perform to the best of your ability.
Despite recent declines in sales, Coke is one of the most popular beverages out there. It’s often served at parties or backyard picnics, and is conveniently kid and adult-friendly. It’s the drink you have in hand at your above-mentioned networking event. Plus, it complements a pepperoni and cheese pizza really well. But Coke is more than just a soft drink. It’s the tool you use to bring people together to have a shared experience. And it’s usually a good time.
What do each of these Fortune 500 companies have in common? They communicate their brand through how they make you feel. This is what makes brands memorable at best. They know that people are the biggest asset to their success and so they take their customers along on an adventure to experience their product or service to form a lasting emotional connection with them. This connection is their legacy. Their legacy is reinforced by their slogan. For Apple, it’s “Think Different.” Customers feel a part of something revolutionary when they use Apple. The company has always been progressive in their touchpoints with customers. Visit any Apple store in your area and you’ll know what I mean. Nike tells us to “Just Do It,” making you feel empowered in their apparel. And as of 2016, Coca-Cola’s slogan is “Taste the Feeling,” again emphasizing that feel-good vibe.
Take a minute to assess your brand. Or better yet, ask your customers what your brand means to them. They may give you the insight you need to enhance your brand’s perception, because even if you don’t like your logo or stationary, most of what really matters is unspoken.