We live in a purpose-based economy and as Blumenthal, -founder of Warby Parker- said in a recent interview with Tony Robbins, “We really need to expand our thought on what a brand is.”
Branding is no longer a marketing strategist buying ad space; it’s not billboards or networking, it’s both your on- and off-line experience. This includes your customer experience, and, an important and over looked experience: when your employees are sharing “what they do” with the outside world. If you notice there is a disconnect between your company’s mission and how your employees are showing up at work –burnt out, overwhelmed, or frankly, leaving the company– consider that the company’s business goals and Brand Commitment are not resonating with your staff and you are literally losing money and talent because of it.
Nowadays the majority of employees feel burnt out and are lacking purpose in their work. Emerging leaders are underdeveloped and the internal culture is hurting the company brand. So, as an holistic branding agency, I use design thinking and leadership practices, in a workshop or 1-1 setting, to get straight to the heart of what’s getting in the way. This results in everyone, engaged and driving your internal culture. Just imagine– what’s possible if your employees are in alignment with your Branding Commitment?
STEP 1: Find your Brand Commitment
Building a successful brand starts with aligning your business goals with heart, purpose and brand commitment.
I call the heart of a brand the Brand Commitment. In business speak, this is the Unique Selling Point, or Proposition, or Mission Statement. In branding terms, we soften it up a bit to pull on our customer’s and client’s heartstrings and make a human connection.
“Vulnerability is key to relationships. Brands can create relationships just like human beings create relationships.” – Neil Blumenthal
Your Brand Commitment is what is going to make you wake up in the morning and create a fantastic internal culture, and build loyal ambassadors that wildly promote and share your brand.
From a personal branding standpoint, your Brand Commitment is your highest life purpose. What were you put on this world to do? From this place, we set the intention for the brand.
I take my clients through a series of design thinking tools and leadership coaching techniques to reveal their Brand Commitment, whether they are a small business or a corporation.
For the sake of time, let’s imagine you’ve created an intentional, heart-centered brand on the inside of your company with a mission statement that resonates and is actionable, now, what happens with the outside of your brand?
Branding on the outside is how we approach our customers and clients through visuals and strategy.
Often, brand strategists and ad agencies skip straight to building the exterior of a brand, which is a sure-fire way to fail. Anyone can learn how to execute the best ad campaign out there; it’s only a success if people connect with you as a leader, care about your business, and most importantly –for your employees– share what they are proud to be a part of.
STEP 2: Choose the Right Suppliers
Holistic branding means that what you do matches the core values of your company. An example? Suppose you, as an entrepeneur, are very environmentally conscious, but your product is made of plastic, then something is not right. You are not aligning your brand to your own personal values and remember, your company is you. Choose the companies your work with well. Choose your suppliers well. Choose your packaging well. With every decision, ask yourself: does this align with my purpose and therefor, with the purpose of my brand?
STEP 2: Target your Target Audience
Moving forward, let’s imagine you have the Brand Commitment in place, it’s in alignment with your highest purpose and your employees + suppliers are committed to the future vision.
It’s soaked through your culture, language and it’s your “reason for being,” as Blumenthal says.
The next step is to take a deep dive into your target audience, your tribe. I always say that it’s called “Target Audience” for a reason. You need a target to hit.
The obvious question is: where are they?
Where are they having conversations, and where can you add value to those conversations?
Who are they? Who do they want to become?
Why would they care about you as a leader and your business?
Take time to answer these questions, it will point you in the right direction when you need to connect to the people who you want to serve.
STEP 3: Find their Pain Point
Diving deep into what your target audience’s pain points are and recreating their experience by solving their problem, is a beautiful way to make your brand stand above the rest.
As a leader of your business, consider how you can empower your employees to invest time and energy into deep conversations with their customers to find their pain points. Truly ask them, ‘What do you want? What else? What else?” And finding the gap in what’s available to them, and filling it with what you offer.
With your target audience in place, brand strategy is the manifestation of your brand in the world, how it shows up and touches your customer and client at every interaction, on and offline.