Over the last few years there is no doubt that people these days are generally more informed and certainly have a much better understanding of the term brand. This post will explore how you can challenge your own brand and hopefully understand further why brand is an integral part to any successful business.
Gone are the days that ‘brand’ was just a term used by large corporate companies like Nike or Coca Cola. It’s amazing though how frequently these brands still pop up in ‘brand’ focused presentations, and the number of clients that we speak to that still get put through painful presentations of old.
As a brand focused design agency, we really love any opportunity to talk with our clients about their brand or brands. It is quite often when we have these discussions that we really start to unlock new ideas, reinforce core values and also highlight any areas of weakness.
With any branding process the more we can get core staff and the wider team on board and talking about the brand, the better the understanding they will have. More importantly with knowledge comes power and in this case it’s the power to represent and translate the brand story to all your amazing customers.
So, branding traditionally where do we start? Well that’s obvious you would be asked to answer the following questions;
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
This would seem logical, and it is, however about 10 years ago now a certain Simon Sinek delivered a Ted Talk that still continues to blow peoples minds today. If in the unlikely event you have not come across this video then search ‘Simon Sinek, Golden Circle’ and you will be sure to find it in Ted or YouTube.
Before we move on to Simon Sinek and the Golden Circle, it is important to understand that as a brand we do need to be able to answer the three questions above.
The first question ‘Who are you?’, there hasn’t been anyone we have met yet that has been unable to answer this question. The second question often makes you think a bit more and usually makes you realise you do not have a succinct way of describing ‘What do you do?’. The great thing about this though is it comes back to this idea of talking about your brand. You talk about your brand day in day out so how hard can it be? What you soon come to realise is that actually you are quite able to articulate and sell your brand day to day, but when you take the sales focus away and just concentrate solely on the brand you can become somewhat tongue tied. However, we are yet to answer the third question, ‘Why does it matter?’. If you can answer all three confidently and have a dedicated customer base, then it would be pretty safe to assume you have a ‘Brand’. The third question though is usually the one that many struggle to answer.
So how did Simon Sinek manage to totally turn this on its head and really get people talking and understanding more about why?
Well he introduced us to the concept of ‘Start With Why’ and how great leaders inspire others to take action. His concept and philosophy are built on leaders inspiring others by communicating the ‘Why’ first. The concept that “people don’t buy into what you do but why you do it”. Simon Sinek’s golden circle spans from the 3 questions above but challenges the order in which we must approach them. Instead of Who, What and Why he challenges us to think about Why, How and What?
As we have already mentioned many people struggle to articulate the ‘Why?’. Why represents your purpose as a brand, why the company exists and ultimately why anyone should care.
‘How’ will generally represent our USP we all know how we do what we do but these
are often used to explain how something is different or perceived as being better.
Discussing ‘What’ we do is by far the easiest for any of us to describe, we all have an innate understanding of our products and services no matter what sector or size of our business. It is for this reason that organically many of us would start with ‘What’ because it is by far the easiest thing for us to communicate.
When you start with ‘Why’ you communicate from the inside out. ‘Why’ provides us with the information and reason to buy and ‘What’ simply represents the product or service.
In Simon’s Ted Talk he uses Apple as a great example of a brand that starts with ‘why’. Apple challenge the status quo and believe in thinking differently. They do this by designing beautiful products that are functional and easy to use.
“They also happen to make great computers, do you want to buy one?”
Time to address the misconception of a brand logo…
There is so much great information on brand whether it be books like ‘Start With Why’ or online content from key influencers. Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions about brand which we will try and address.
“Our wordmark or logo is our brand” You may or may not know that the word LOGOS is Greek for ‘word’. Your logo or wordmark makes up your brand identity but is not representative of your brand as a whole. Don’t forget this is just one element of many that is required to make a great brand.
When we talk to our clients about brand, we try to get them to think about all the tangible and intangible elements of your brand. This idea that your brand is a tangible product is simply incorrect, your brand is much more emotional and sensory as it is a product or service. Ultimately, each of your customers will have their own interpretation of the brand and what it means to them.
So, what is a brand?
That is the question but do you have the answer?
We would love to hear your thoughts and understanding of the term brand and what it means to you?
In the next part of this post we are going to explore the Grey Coffee brand gap and how we have challenged our own brand and what this means for Grey Coffee in 2019 and beyond.
Grey Coffee have built up many years of experience working with and developing brands. If you did want to discuss with us any of our brand services and how we can help tell your story then please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org