The who, why, how and what of branding

Posted on: March 16th, 2018

Your logo is not your brand. This statement becomes even clearer when we realised that apples don’t sell computers. It’s the brand behind the computer company, that gets us excited enough to camp outside a store in order to be the first people to lay our hands on the latest technology.

If your logo is not your brand, what is?

Your brand is made up of multiple things. Your promise to your customer, the commitment to that promise, the culture you install and the brand experience that is created. There are many other elements which I will leave for another blog, but ultimately, your brand is your reputation. Pretty powerful stuff!

I’d like to focus on the Who, Why, How and What of branding – in that order.

Who is your brand?

This may seem like a really strange question as your business is not a person, so why am I asking ‘who’ it is? The reality is that people like to do business with people. Create a brand that has a personality, and your customers will feel a much stronger connection to your brand. Added to this, by know what your brand personality is, it means that it becomes so much easier to create a brand that resonates and engages your customer. After all, if you don’t know who you are as a brand, then how do you expect your customers to know. Is your brand funny, funky or intelligent. Is it about intimacy, freedom or creativity? Knowing who you are as a brand is the first critical step in the branding process.

Big Red, the M&M mascot

Let’s take M&M’s as an example. They are what we would call The Entertainer. Everything that they do is about fun and playfulness. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Big Red is their fearless mascot. He sets the scene for the brand, and to his delight, he appears in nearly every commercial produced by M&M. Chocolate is chocolate, but M&M’s bring personality to their brands. This creates greater connection and engagement and ultimately sales.

Find out your brand personality.

Why do you do what you do?

Simon Sinek in his famous Ted Talk covers the essence of this question. What makes you get up everyday and do what you do? What drives you? This needs to be far more than simply making money – you can make money doing anything. Why this? What makes your heart sing? This drive is something to keep at the front of your mind to ensure that your brand oozes this purpose. If a brand has a purpose that they share with their customers, it will naturally do well and the money will come.

Coca-cola might be the worlds most famous soft drink company, but there purpose to “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift” can be seen around the world. In their latest ‘Drink an Ad’ campaign you can see how through their purpose and promise to their customers, they are endeavouring to always surprise and delight.

How do you do what you do?

This connects directly with the personality of your brand. It’s not what you do that makes you unique, it’s how you do it.

I could ask a room full of people to make me a sandwich and I would get a smorgasbord of sandwiches back. Perhaps there’ll be Vegemite on white bread with the crusts off, tuna on rye or a chicken focaccia. There’s no right or wrong to this question. There will always be customers who want Vegemite and others who want chicken.

By attracting the right customers by infusing your brand personality into ‘how’ you do things, you will ensure a stronger connection. If they love how you do what you do, they will tell their friends, come back time and time again and increase your bottom line.

Oprah the Sage Brand Personality and Ellen the Entertainer Brand personality

Oprah and Ellen are wonderful examples of this. They are both talk show hosts so do exactly the same job. But how they talk, resonate and inspire are entirely different. Oprah is what we call The Sage brand personality. Her brand is all about being a philosopher, teacher and advisor. Ellen, on the other hand is The Entertainer – witty, lighthearted and a bit of a trickster. They do the same thing but they do them differently which is what people are attracted to.

What do you do?

What your brand does is the least important thing to worry about. You really don’t have to talk much about what you do, however business owners instantly want to talk about ‘the what’. All dentists do the same thing, all designers do the same thing and all deli owners do the same thing. Trying to compete with your customer on what you do is like pushing a boulder uphill. Its hard work for very little satisfaction.

There are multiple reasons why a customer may purchase from you versus your competitor. It could be convenience, price or quality but the majority of times, people buy into your brand because of how it makes them feel. They buy into the reasons you are doing what you are doing as this is what resonates with them. Your personality, purpose and performance transcends the obvious answer of what you do. With these three elements in play, a profit is just the result of your business activities and decisions.

I’d like to challenge you to start focusing and talking more about who, why and how you do business.

Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker
Creator of Brand Magic Masterclass

2 Responses

  1. Chad Kroeger says:

    This is such a simply concept yet so powerful! I can’t believe that I’ve never thought of it this way. As a big Simon Sinek fan I totally get both his view and yours. The two together are very powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Aileen Gallardo says:

    Excellent post! I’ve been focusing too much on what I do. Now it’s time to look at ‘how’.

    Thank you this is great!

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