Inside the mind of a brand

Imagine if we lived in a world that was the same, it looked the same, felt the same and everything to the touch did not differ from the rest.

It would be a boring place wouldn’t it? “Imagine all the people”( Lennon)

People often mistake a brand with the identity that’s portrayed as part of the visual identity created at a design level. I was reminded of this when speaking with a designer who thought a lot of our conversation was about design when i thought we were speaking about brand.

From his point of view, branding and design are two same thing rightly. As a designer makes things look nice. (That’s not to take anything from the talent required to create visually appealing designs). The creative process is a good place to build a brand, but it needs to be first.

In Marketing we think more about the business process and the environmental context of our brands. How they fit and work within the chosen marketplace. Which is honestly abit boring sometimes! (and yes I’ve heard myself speak) .Often we start our marketing strategies by considering planning, research, segmentation and communications frameworks.

Ultimately who cares about traditional marketing theory? End-user customers don’t, neither should I, but that’s how I’ve been trained to think some of this theory leads us to our output with academic validation behind our thoughts and ideas.

Over the years I’ve become fond of looking at brand leaders that go above and beyond to connect with customers. I’ve always asked myself how and why?

What makes them different?
Is it design?
Is it the processes, systems adopted within the company?
Is it leadership?
Intent?

All of the above I think..

Those who don’t differentiate will get left behind! or squeezed in the middle (echoes of Michael Porter’s generic theory’s there, sorry I couldn’t resist) A franchise is a good example of a successful brand strategy because not only are you buying a business model and systems. You are buying the licensing fee for a brand with proven results.

My personal definition of a brand is;

‘A brand is a summary of all that is thought, felt and known about a product, service or company. Which is held within the collective mind of customers, clients and stakeholders.’ (Rafiq 2011)

I enjoy learning and understanding about how brand leaders like Innocent Smoothies or Virgin Galactic form their ideologies which transcends into brand / customer value.

Much of my work in Search Engine Optimisation recently has been leading me towards Content Strategy as Inbound Marketing.

It’s branding, building content that people like, connect with, engage and want to share. It’s just transferred online at a much faster pace. Google refer to this as ZMOT (‘the zero moment of truth’)

Digital Marketing / Marketing, re-branded or call it what you will, but Content Strategist, Copywriters, User-experience Managers, Designers, Web Developers, Marketing Managers all do some of the same. They create value for customers at the centre of everything most good companies seek to do well, or should.

Search Marketing is interesting because you’ve got customers / clients searching for what you have created. You create a digital environment that supports you business process’.

Some of this material might have educated, inform, persuade. Online you’ve had your material viewed around the world 24/7. You’ve got the chance to re-engage, compared to a one-sided print advertising model.  (alot of push and very little pull)

Wasn’t it Peter Drucker who said:

“Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.”

Most companies were formed with a goal in mind, to serve a particular market, or more to the point specific groups of customers.

Every company has a different way of going about it which creates a specific methodology and some of this speaks to their ideology. This goes beyond the appearance of a company at an emotive design level it’s the brand that’s being built by action or intent.

All companies should have a mission statement that everyone signs up to, which goes beyond a funky strap-line that we create and use in Marketing, but honestly many organisations don’t put the mission into everyday practice, it’s a little like the company’s best china. Only brought out on special occasions and used when there are guests around!

As we look inside an organisation everyone’s got a job to do. Often people don’t see the relevance of the mission statement today or of how their role directly effects on the brand promise.

The mission statement should direct the organisation towards this goal which is never an easy task, because they are aspirational statements that should inspire those to carry the mission with a sense of ownership, but that requires strong management and leadership.

At Liquid Silver you may have noticed the statement on other pages that says,

Liquid Sliver Marketing developing the brands of tomorrow.

You may find that a little ambiguous, but we seek to create brands that focus on the customers journey. Our focus is primarily on researching and understanding clients and customers needs. From this we build content around the needs of a client and work on the touch-points within the brand to enhance user-experience.

We believe that brands must adopt an ‘Inbound Marketing Strategy’ that focuses on needs and content that works; Rather than pushing messaging that has no relevance due to targeting or understanding of what the clients’ needs are.

As you have seen I have used the word: Believe,

A belief system can be a powerful thing if it’s used to support the brand, which forms some of the brand values.

Every brand tells a story.

What do you believe in?

Give me a core belief and we will build a brand.

 

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