Brand Sense 101
It's 1:39 pm and I'm sitting down to write this blog. The baby has already been asleep for thirty minutes so I'm on borrowed time, but I have a really great idea all organized in a notepad to my left, so I should be able to type this up in no time.
Then an email notification comes up across my screen. I must read it. It's from a potential client. I have spoken with this person a few times about their brand and it looks like they're getting ready to make those hard decisions.
"What should I offer to those new clients? What [do] I want to really do? Now [that I'm established] I can choose, right? Which is the market that I should target? At the moment my work is [in] high end luxury. Should I go the same path? I know my abilities, I know that I am a creative person able to do different disciplines, but If I want to get to the next stage I need to become specific.. I need to know which path to follow, which are my services, etc..." she writes.
I smile. I'm rolling up my sleeves getting ready to answer her, but now I'm maybe thinking I should just email her the link to this blog when it's finished. Hold my drink.
If you're wondering where the hell I've been lately I have about a dozen terrible excuses, with the obvious cherry-on-top answer "I've been busy", but really I've been exploring and researching! I had already made changes to my brand strategy process for 2018 with a detailed focus on MISSION, MESSAGE, and VISION; 3 components that I strongly feel shape brand culture and brand experience. These three words allowed me to create a fundamental foundation setting process that will kick start every brand strategy I produce going forward. Up until a few days ago I was all ready to tie everything up and start planning for 2018. I didn't realize I'd have another huge wave of inspiration and that everything I knew was about to get EVEN BETTER!
So I've been considering different ways to encourage behavior and enhance experiences, and the best way to do both of those things simultaneously is by appealing to the senses. Stimulating the right sense in someone can positively impact their emotions, their impression, and their memory. Knowing how people respond to different stimuli can help us to create environments that make them feel a certain way.
Long story short: we discover and understand everything through our senses.
Brand strategy has the ability to positively manipulate an environment or a presence. That manipulation comes from a number of different needs that must be met to move forward and create relationships. They are:
1. Your need as a business owner to create an accurate and genuine experience for your audience.
2. Their need to understand what your business is about and if it can help them.
3. Your need for your brand to positively impact their opinion, stick out in their mind the next time they (or someone they know) need you.
4. Their need to use and benefit from your product or service.
Back to that email for a minute. Its not uncommon to forget the human experience- usually our own -when it comes to planning out a business model. What do we WANT to offer? What brings us joy and feeds our soul? How can we be that person or presence that offers soul filling joy to others? At the root of our why we're not considering target market as much as we're thinking about making connections. If this client has luxury experience then yes absolutely stay there, as long as you enjoy it. Next, what are you supplying that makes a difference? What do people in this market need? How can we make their lives better?
More importantly why do we need to write rules for ourselves? Why are we putting ourselves in box before we've even started? If we decide on services before we brand they could be completely different by the end.
OK so now I've probably created more questions than offered answers, but if YOU don't know I definitely don't know. The good news is I have a really REFRESHING place to start! It starts with PEOPLE, their behavior, understanding what they need and want, how to make them happy, and building a brand around those visions. Then we tell an amazing story about the business, make creative decisions that help represent it's values and enhance that one of a kind brand experience.
Close your eyes and think about how you can make your audience feel better cared for and understood in a tangible way. That means constructing spaces (yes, even the digital kind) that speak to all the senses and encourage whichever behavior and experience you'd like to create. This one additional step in my process takes development and discovery so far past imaginations potential. There are so many great concepts bubbling to the surface once you breakdown an experience into the different ways various materials (hint: not just visual) make us feel, and how we perceive and consume content.
I'm thrilled that this has come full circle and that all strategy sessions next year will include this process!