People use brands to make choices; to express their beliefs and desires; to belong; to rebel; to create and be part of something new; to be heard.
Brands are of vital strategic and economic importance to any organisation, but their value is released only through their place in people’s hearts and minds. Great brands are driven by simple and meaningful ideas. If people believe in them and love them, they become compelling.
Today, the economic and cultural position of brands has never been more challenging. How do we reconcile people’s desire for growth with the increasing pressure on resources and our duty of care for life for everyone?
Few of us want to bring dishonesty, cynicism or greed into our lives. Honesty, beauty, spontaneity and perseverance attract trust and loyalty. Without trust and loyalty,
no brand lives well or long.
As individuals, there is a need for a sense of ‘giving back’ beyond the simple value for money and self-expression transaction. But you can’t manipulate people, ‘make’ them love you or choose you. There has to be a real reason to do so. You need to be clear what that reason is or why it exists. Cheap or fashionable is no longer enough.
In a more connected world, ‘Business’ versus ‘Consumer’ is an artificial divide: people exist in both worlds and expectations and standards in one area move to the other. Trust is at the heart of the relationship between businesses. Especially now.
Brands are strong where virtual reality and reality coincide. Virtual reality is all the words, images, sounds, gossip that make up modern communications. Promises. Reality is the personal experience of what the brand delivers. When communications and behaviour are as one, brands are compelling and strong.
Today, there’s an increased danger of dissonance. People are acutely alert. It’s not enough to communicate the right thing. What you say has to match what you do. You can’t control what people say about your brand. You have to open up, let go and be part of a wider conversation. If your customers, your own people and their friends believe in what you stand for and do, they will shape your brand with you.