Seth Godin’s recent blog, “The elegance of nothing”, does a great job of illuminating what a brand is and why it is important. A brand is not merely an advertising slogan or a logo — it is the design of a coherent and nuanced customer experience.
At its best, a brand is elegant, instantly recognizable, and emotionally resonant to its customers, and its products and services deliver on specific promises. Godin goes on to say:
But design requires a point of view. The confidence to make an assertion. And the skill to turn that assertion into something that resonates with the person you seek to serve.
The confidence Godin refers to is really important, and often difficult to attain. But we’ve found the most effective way to achieve this confidence is by uncovered, practical and deeply considered insights about your customers, brand, and market. The clarity this allows brands to stand apart, lead their own category, and make a real impact in our culture.
The most seemingly effortless brands might feel as if they came out of the ether, but they are in fact designed with a layered understanding of the customer’s needs, desires, and behaviors as well as the practical, social, and emotional factors that affect their decision making.
It also matters what you do with this knowledge — enduring brands don’t just use this data to improve targeting or seek short-term profits. Instead, they find real empathy with customers, and seek to serve them well, to matter to them emotionally and culturally, to intrigue and inspire them. They focus product innovation efforts on delivering novel solutions to customer needs. They develop a more profound sense of purpose around why they exist, what good they do in the world. They approach every aspect of their connection to customers as a coherent whole. They hold a meaningful place in our society.
Most importantly, they aim to endure, to continually evolve and grow, to build lasting relationships with customers, to continually provide value beyond the price they charge.
We believe just about every organization could benefit from pursuing this deeper approach to brand, built from insights that provide the clarity and confidence required to truly stand apart.