Brands That Inspire, And How To Be One
Where a company starts is only sometimes where it ends up.
Before starting Apple, Jobs and Wozniak had a business making a phone phreaking tool called a blue box. So do not get disillusioned if your first business idea is not a keeper.
Top brands that inspire that we all know and love take time to happen. Core to their success is a brand strategy coupled with constant iteration, innovation and a desire to succeed and lead the market.
However, many companies are happy with just being part of the market. Following this strategy usually results in the following:
- Many like-for-like competitors
- It is harder to stand out
- Price becomes a deciding factor
- No one will dominate the market for long
If you want your brand to be unique and stand out, there are plenty of companies to draw inspiration from: innocent smoothies, MailChimp, Apple and Nike, to name a few.
Your Unique Brand Strategy
But to start with, you need a unique strategy. Then, you can build a whole business around a core idea or philosophy from the ground up. A thought that runs through every fibre of what you do and produce.
If you follow this strategy and differentiate yourself, this will lead to the following:
- Fewer like-for-like competitors
- An obvious point of difference
- Price is not a buying factor
- You can lead and create brand loyalty
Any size company can benefit from this idea and implement it at any point in its journey. Of course, starting a company with a brand strategy in mind is the preferred option, but you can refresh and rethink a brand at any time. It just takes more money and commitment.
It’s simple… go the extra mile and you will stand out from the crowdRobin Crow
But What Is A Brand Strategy?
You must develop your brand to influence and shape your customers’ perceptions. Try to appeal to their practical needs (cost convenience, speed, robustness, quality) and their emotional needs (make them feel good about themselves, make them feel cool). A well-thought-out strategy will raise you above the competition, giving you a market advantage.
What Every Brand Strategy Needs
You need to start with a central mission and purpose. This can come from where you position yourself in your market. Look at competitors and decide if they are expensive or cheap. Are they geared toward customer service or efficiency? Are there any gaps where you could fit in?
For example, could you develop an electric saw that charges itself as you use it? Could you build a high-quality small modular home with everything a young couple needs without the hefty mortgage? Where will your company fit into its market? Try and find new ground that this is the first time anyone else has claimed.
Find a niche segment of the market that relates to your product or service. See if a need still needs to be met at the moment. This could be the starting point of your unique offering and brand philosophy.
Getting Your Brand Messaging Right
Your brand messaging must communicate the following:
- What pain points does your product/service solve for your customers?
- What benefits does your product/service deliver for them
- Why should customers buy from you specifically
People should be able to see instantly what you offer and how you make their lives easier. Why they should use you and not your competitor. Following are some brands that inspire and their well-pitched mission statements.
innocent. “To make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people and the planet live well and die old.”
Airbnb. “To help create a world where you can belong anywhere and where people can live in a place, instead of just traveling to it.”
Apple. “Bringing the best user experience to its customers through innovative hardware, software and services.”
Tesla. “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
The Tesla mission statement makes perfect sense when you view everything they do with their mission in mind. If they built a train tomorrow that used sustainable energy, it would fit perfectly with their mission. If they found a new sustainable energy source, they could implement it, which would still be congruent with their mission.
A well-worded company philosophy/mission will allow for organic flexibility in what a company does. However, it also tells a company what it should not do and what will not work.
A coal-fuelled cargo ship with Tesla plastered on the side? I do not think so.
Fitting in is a short-term strategy; standing out pays off in the long run.Seth Godin
Give Your Brand A Soul
Brands that inspire need to be relatable. Be different in the words you use in your copy. Try a board meeting photo on a beach or in the local park. Show you are human, show your character in everything you do as a company.
Do not be afraid to have an opinion. Opinions inspire healthy debate. Do more than just make a profit; do something meaningful with some of that profit. Plant some trees, give a scholarship to an underprivileged teenager, donate to or help the homeless.
Being business-like is all fine and well. But speaking to customers like they are friends will resonate far more. Humanise the customer experience, and you will create brand ambassadors for life. Any touchpoint where you can show your brand personality, do so.
You will create an unbreakable bond if you show that you care about the same issues your customers do.
You can’t plough a field simply by turning it over in your mindGordon B Hinckley
- Create your own space in your market. That will also give you a competitive advantage
- Have a mission/philosophy to use as a brand foundation.
- Make everything you do a demonstration of this.
- Find your human side and show it to your customers in words, imagery, service and deeds.
Sometimes brand strategy is more than just a one-and-done. It can develop and be tweaked over time. Companies very rarely go from nothing to overnight success. Hard work, constant iteration, creativity and perseverance will pay off. Good luck.