Reporting without facts. Click bait headlines. Failed PR stunts. The instantaneous and diverse ways to access information in this digital age are overwhelming and a lot of it can be downright fake. Consumers have wised up to this abundance of unreliable messages and now have a more cynical view of what advertisers push their way.
What’s a brand to do in the era of fake news? Be the truth and authenticity your audience is craving. For external communications to be genuine, brands first need to look within. Brand messaging developed on the company’s story, culture, personality and vision helps communication remain consistent and allows your audience to feel like they’re really connecting with someone versus something.
Here are some of the areas to consider when branding your company from the inside out:
Everyone loves a good story
If we were to gather around a campfire, what story would you tell about your brand? How did your brand come to be/how has it changed? Storytelling is a key component in consumers’ understanding of who you are.
Many established brands have decided to go back to their roots and share those stories with their consumers. Chili’s recently launched a marketing campaign that pays homage to its founding in Dallas in 1975 complete with retro-looking footage and ‘70s music. Bacardi has looked back into its heritage for revitalizing a logo from the 1900s and carrying their “untamable spirit” through the decades to the current generation.
Get to the core of who you are
By reflecting on the past and looking to the future, what are the core values that your company stands on? What’s important to you? We challenge you to think beyond the cookie cutter responses and really dig up what your brand emotionally connects with. Understand what the few things are you stand for and how you can communicate those succinctly. Consumers will get lost with elaborate explanations.
Core messages should permeate every aspect of branding and be consistent so that every touch point your customer comes in contact with builds that bigger brand story and experience. With values to guide you, your brand can stand out from the sea of other companies and be recognizable—leading to brand loyalty, which grows your business.
Showcase that personality of yours
When companies are looking for a rebrand, they may just be thinking about the visual identity. “Oh I just need a new logo” or “the mustard yellow isn’t working for us anymore.” It’s easy for us to be caught up in the visual identity and forget about the verbal identity.
What’s your brand voice, tone and personality? It’s about creating your own brand persona to become that “someone” for your customers to interact with. Once personality naturally radiates out of your brand story and values, your brand will take on a life of its own. Home Depot has the do-it-yourself attitude to get the job done. Harley Davidson has the roaring passion for freedom on the open road. A stronger personality means a more trusted brand. We want your customers to say they like you for your looks (ahem, branding) but that you also have a really great personality.
Brand your people and your stuff
Now that you know your story, core values and personality, share that with your team! Get them excited about the brand and empower them with the tools to talk about and live out who you are as a company. Your brand starts with your employees and is shaped from the inside out. After all, your employees are on the front lines with your customers, influencing how they experience your brand each day. Craft a one-of-a-kind brand experience that reflects your organization’s brand story to give employees and visitors a truly tangible way to experience it. Transform your space into a memorable one.
Whew! All that and we haven’t even gotten to talking about print ads? That’s right. We believe branding starts and is most authentic when you move from the inside-out. This approach reflects a deeper theory of brand development and produces more powerful long-term benefits. I’m an art director, so believe me, I’m all about getting my hands on designing the outside look of the brand. But, it’s so much easier to design something great that’s true to your brand when I really know who you are. So, do you?