For centuries the word “brand” has been used in order to establish ownership of particular material items. Artistic works have long borne the mark their creators, livestock have been branded to show ownership, and countries’ symbols have covered the landscape.
Now, a brand is no longer seen solely as a symbol but is ultimately the determination of who you are as a company, based on an amalgam of what you do and how well you tell your story. This umbrella term “brand” now includes visualization and careful consideration of brand voice and tone.
Think of your brand as a book
Have you ever walked into one of your favorite bookstores and noticed a particular book on the shelf that caught your attention? Was it the cover design and artistry that drew you in? Though a brand is no longer exclusively about visual components, those visuals (like logos and style guides) are still an important part of how an audience views and remembers a brand.
After opening the book, you often come across the table of contents. The table of contents gives insight into the main ideas of the book. For companies, this is your mission and vision, which are an important part of creating a brand. These ideas function as a guide that will tell your audience who you are and establishes a roadmap for consumers on what they need to know.
Every good book needs developed and relatable characters. Without characters, a story won’t evolve very far. For your brand, your characters consist of your stakeholders (the employees, customers, and partners that are impacted by your company). Stakeholders serve an integral role in the formation and continuation of your brand’s story.
All good stories must have a compelling plot. Without unique ideas and the evolution of a storyline, most of us wouldn’t last very long in a story. Your brand has a story to tell – about goals, ambitions, innovations, accomplishments, talents, and ideas. This is an essential part of your brand’s story, all while establishing your voice.
Take a brand, for example, Coca-Cola. If you had to envision this particular brand as a person what would it look like? Surfer? Youthful? Smiling?
Coca-Cola has spent years cultivating a certain brand identity. They have created a story and voice that conveys a persona of friendliness, youthfulness – a brand that is inclusive and fun.
Think about brands that you would recognize.
Just like you can visualize the faces of famous individuals, your child, partner, parent, or friend, you want your audience to be able to recognize, not just the image of your brand but your story as well.
Tell your story
Brand stories are cross-functional obligations that should encompass your entire organization. Your board members, executives, associates, and entry-level professionals should all be involved in formulating your brand’s messaging.
By establishing your brand, you are beginning to tell your company’s story. Those stories can establish your brand with a powerful voice, whether you’re running a philanthropic organization, small to large business, or start-up.
If you have questions about getting started or feel that your story is ready for the next chapter, get in touch with one of our marketing professionals. We’re happy to help!