Ask 10 brand experts how they approach brand development and you’ll get 10 different answers.
In fact ask those same experts the question again a week later, and they’ll likely give you 10 new answers.
And so I’ve always been drawn to the David Aaker school of brand, which helpfully breaks it down in a range of highly structured categories:
- Brand as organisation – vision, values, etc
- Brand as product – all the rational stuff like features and benefits, pricing, customer journey
- Brand as person, so tone of voice, how the brand walks, talks and acts
- Then brand as symbol of course, so logo, typeface, iconography and colour palette.
Super simple. Nothing ever falls through the cracks. Dead easy for clients to understand.
But it was over 30 years ago he created this and rather a lot has changed in that time. So it got me thinking about some of the other things that also deserve a home within this model.
And before you start thinking that these decisions aren’t important for your business because you’re not big enough or this stuff just doesn’t matter in your market, then, ignoring, for now, the fact that you’re definitely wrong, at least consider them for the sake of operational efficiency. After all, defining a process once is quite a lot faster than doing it differently every time.
So, here are 3 manifestations of brand that you’ve probably never considered:
- The first is the employee journey. Most forward-thinking brands now have well-defined customer journeys, complete with wow moments, magic moments, whatever you choose to call them, but how many have done the same for their employees? We have 10 magic moments in our employee journey and honesty I think mapping that out is one of the most fun and important things you can ever do.
- My second suggestion is what I’m going to call “Brand as sound” – If you have so much as a single video on YouTube you’ll need to have defined your audio, and spending 40 minutes to find a track that ideally communicates something about your brand, but at the very least doesn’t sound like the intro to an 80s training video, is, I would suggest, time very well spent.. Taking it a step further, we, for example, even have a branded office playlist. 23 hours of absolute bangers from the last 6 decades that we believe say something about the Boss brand, albeit with perhaps a slight overemphasis on 90s hip-hop.
- The third is properly random and I guess I’m including it to illustrate the sheer scope of brand. In the hundreds of interviews with CEOs and thought leaders I’ve conducted, the most creative manifestation of brand I think I’ve ever encountered was with a company call Juro, a contract automation start-up. Their mission is to “make contracts more human”, and so they thought they’d practice how they preach by making the world’s most engaging and user-friendly privacy statement. Sounds like a complete oxymoron but it’s genuinely a thing of beauty and shows that brand really does touch everything.
Now I don’t usually ask questions in my videos as to be frank I’m far more interested in my own voice than the opinion of others, but if you do want to share any other examples of surprising or very specific manifestations of brand, then please do. The prize for anything good will naturally be the uncredited theft of your idea for use in my future videos.
See you next time.