How to Build Brand
What’s it take to create Brand in the realm of popular culture?
Cementing a brand into the zeitgeist of a culture is not that easy yet, not an insurmountable task either – it just takes a little science and magic.
There are some key ingredients that, although they will not alone guarantee success, will set a sturdy foundation with which to build success from.
The first, and most important, (taking a page from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”) is ‘Quality’. If you lead with Quality then no one can fault your efforts.
Add to this, ‘Uniqueness’, which separates your brand from the hoi polloi of corporate beige and you are well on your way to building a distinctive brand.
The third, and most elusive, ingredient is, ‘Desire’, which, if you can capture it, will create a product loyalty that turns your noun of a brand into a verb.
(I was going to use ‘Exceptionality’ instead of ‘Uniqueness’ so I could do a whole riff on QED, but then thought the better of it…)
Quality and Uniqueness are elementals and, as such, can be defined, measured, replicated, and therefore fall under the heading of science.
The magic comes from Desire, as it is an emotion, which can be far more difficult to manifest and hold on to as it resides in an ephemeral realm.
(I could go into a whole thing here about how Apple has exploited these three ingredients to massive success, but I think we all know that story)
Let us assume that your product or service has the first two ingredients, Quality and Uniqueness, in spades!
How can we capture Desire?
We go back to school. Someone once said: (I think it was me) “Real life, with all of its cliques, hierarchies, and social dramas, is just college without the campus.” One thing that college does better than any Madison Avenue marketing firm is build Desire for Brand – in this case, the football team. Schools are known for their sports teams over any other aspect of legitimate curriculum – reaching the realm of Icon. Teams are rallied around and players worshipped – it’s tribal in its nature, creating us versus them fervors tapping into fierce primordial protective veins that can carry on throughout life.
Imagine if you could foster that same emotional Desire – that loyalty – with your customers. What would you give to have your customers painting your logo on their chest? You could get rid of the marketing department – oh, wait…
How do we achieve that level of customer commitment?
I’m not going to go into all of the Jedi mind tricks and team building exercises that play out and into building a schools’ team loyalty because, in the real world, things need to be adapted to a more diverse and dispersed audience. What it distills down to is building loyalty by engaging the customer and making them feel as if they are partners with you in your product – in your Brand. You make them part of the team. Make them want to defend the Brand and, in doing so, promote the Brand. Because they know that it is the best and, by virtue, they are the best.
Pie in the sky stuff is great, but what about practical apps?
The best content is the content that users supply! Youtube and Ebay are two examples of a user supplied content business model showing extraordinary success. Now your business model may be set to a different frequency – you provide a service or sell a product, yet the basic concept of user supplied content can still work to your advantage. With Social Media now in heavy rotation, customer loyalty and customer engagement campaigns are now easier than ever to execute and with minimal budgeting by allowing for a USC program. And by utilizing this approach you are well on your way to building a team with your customers.