Why ‘brand essence’ matters… even for a small business

Consider any of the world’s largest brands. It could be Apple, Coke, Toyota, Shell, etc. While each of these businesses have different offerings, and operate in different markets, they all have one thing in common – a clear and well-defined brand essence. These brands know their identity and how they want to be perceived, which allows them to implement appropriate strategies to get them there. They then communicate this effectively to their targets audience via well designed brand messages. This doesn’t mean that they always get it right, but you get the general idea.

Unfortunately, when we start to provide examples like these to a client that runs a small business, they struggle to see the relevance. What many of them don’t realise however, is that the principles are just the same. It really doesn’t matter if their turnover is $100,000 or $100 Billion.

The brand essence is the emotional heart of a brand. It is well documented that brands that deliver emotional benefits to their customers have a higher degree of customer loyalty, and are therefore able to command higher margins. The real challenge is learning to tap into this emotion.

Here are a few areas that when considered, will start to get you on the path to creating a brand essence.

The Core Brand Promise

This is a single sentence summary of the primary unique emotional benefit of the brand, summed up in less than 10 words. Write it down and see what you come up with

Brand Personality

A great way to kick off here is to ask your customers the following question, and record the response. “If this brand was a person, what would it be like?

How the brand makes the customer feel

This is the emotion that the brand inspires in your customers, and moving forward sets up the building blocks to creating a ‘brand promise.’ Ask your customers how the brand makes them feel, and again record their response

The brand’s key points of difference

What differentiates your brand from your competitors? It’s an important question to ask yourself, your colleagues and your customers, as it helps to paint the bigger picture.

This is just the beginning. Creating a clear and well defined brand essence is a thorough and involved process. Yet, when done properly, it sits at the core of turning any good business into a great brand.

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