If you are selling a product or service to a business or consumer you need to ask yourself this question.
What does your brand mean?
It’s an interesting and complex question, but the aim here is not to get into a theoretical or academic debate. It’s to examine the emotional side of this conversation.
How do the physical representations and behaviours of your business make your customers and people feel?
What does it mean to them? Does it make them feel the way you want them to about your business?
Why is this even important?
Why do we go to great lengths, employing narrative, symbolism, metaphor and other creative and psychological tools to express our vision of our business?
Surely we can cut all that out and cut to the chase with plain English?
We know about business and can help you improve your business. We’ve done it for lots of other businesses like yours.
We make software to remove manual processes from your financial services jobs and we’re really good at it.
We are a good company, we pay good salaries and treat people better than a lot of other companies. Want to work for us?
What’s missing? Why doesn’t it connect?
It has meaning, but only literal meaning.
Most people are hard-wired to look for something deeper. Something distinct, with a meaning which connects with them.
We search for meaning which aligns to our vision of ourselves, our value system and worldview.
We look for it everywhere and go through a subconscious check-list as we make decisions to engage.
Our cars, shoes, coffee, employer, takeaways, beers, the TV programmes we watch and the YouTubers and TikTokkers we follow…
We don’t think they’re going to make us richer, smarter, happier or more interesting and attractive.
But something emotional connects with us. It doesn’t have to be based on fact or logic. It just needs to fit into the story we tell ourselves to help make a decision and move forward.
We want to buy from companies who inspire us and make us feel better about becoming our ‘ideal selves’.
We want to work for & with companies with missions we believe in.
We want to work with people we trust and admire.
The meaning we extract from our interaction with product and service propositions is what determines how we move forward with them. Meaning is everything.
The main way we express meaning in business is through our brand. Visually and verbally, it is how we want the world to see us. It is all of the deliberate communication we have with our audiences. The non-deliberate stuff is somewhere we can let the brand down but that’s another story.
If we’re agreed that meaning is everything and our brand is how we express meaning, ipso facto brand is everything for our business? Well maybe not everything but it means a hell of a lot!
With that being the case, it’s definitely worth putting some serious thought into the meaning that your brand is expressing. Is it communicating what your customers, team and stakeholders need to allow them to put you in their story for the future?
Think about it, it means a lot.