There was a time when strong branding was thought of as simply developing a logo, tagline, and color palette that would resonate with consumers and convey the quality of a product. If the brand was recognizable and memorable, and product and services were good, that was all that mattered. That time is over.
Branding now is more personal than ever before. A great logo and brand name doesn’t cut it anymore. Consumers crave more than just a great product, and are increasingly drawn to brands they identify with, that reach past the surface and show people what the company cares about, and why it exists.
According to a 2020 survey, over 84% of consumers are more loyal to a brand that aligns with their values. Simply put, people are attracted to (and willing to spend more money on) products when they feel a greater connection with the brand itself.
Expert brand consultant and author Debbie Millman stated that “branding is not just a tool of capitalism.” She argues that branding is something humans have been doing for thousands of years to self-identify, as well as to recognize likeminded people, and ultimately find communities.
A great brand identity - the narrative informing consumers why it exists - has the power to reach people on a deeper level, persuading them to view your company less as a capitalistic venture, and more as a leader of their community. The narrative will also serve as the solid foundation for all traditional branding elements, like your logo, tagline, and color palette, and should also be used to frame all of your company’s marketing materials, like the tone of voice and photos used in advertisements.
For instance, The North Face doesn’t just make high quality jackets and sportswear; all of the The North Face brand’s communications, like photos of mountain climbers and white water rafters wearing the company’s gear, support the overall brand narrative that The North Face stands for: safe adventure and the enjoyment and preservation of nature. The narrative is consistent yet mutable enough to reach all of the brand’s various audiences across geographic locations and demographics. What does a 67 year old male hiking enthusiast living in Washington state have in common with a 22 year old female streetwear fan living in Melbourne? They both belong to communities that loyally wear The North Face.
It’s not just big brands that are telling stories that reach the people’s heartstrings. A lot of small companies are also leading the way when it comes to great brand narratives that resonate with consumers. Consider the subscription-based razor and body care brand, Billie. The company calls its main product “a razor built for women (at half the price.)” Advertisements show women of all shapes, sizes, and skin colors actually shaving real hair, something industry leaders like Venus, which shows its razors gliding over already-smooth skin, had never done before. This all conveys that Billie is a brand for all women, but particularly Gen Z and millennials, a demographic that is drawn to progressive marketing that conveys real-life people and circumstances.
So, how does a brand develop a narrative that attracts loyal consumers? A good place to start is to briefly put aside the questions of what your brand creates, and how you create it, and focus on why. Why does your brand exist? Why does your brand do what it does? This question can help create a mission statement and set of core values (what your brand stands for) as well as a brand narrative that will shape the way consumers view your company.
Most brands benefit from an outside perspective when developing a strong identity. Our expert team at Octonano is dedicated and ready to guide your brand to success.