Written by Brad McElroy
It comes as no surprise that there are more brands today than ever. And that will be a true statement tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. (We could keep going, but you get the picture.) Consumers are exposed to hundreds of brands a day, thousands of messages a day, and even more images.
In advertising, there’s a lot of discussion about how to “break through the noise,” but one of the most immediate ways to do just that is to have a clearly identifiable brand.
Ever see a new product launch of the hottest tech as you’re scrolling through your Insta feed? Every piece of that brand has been developed and crafted to make you stop, look, and consume that content. But how do you do that for your own brand? In two words: brand immersion.
At Eighty Three, we consider ourselves brand engineers. We’ve even developed our very own comprehensive brand immersion that walks you through every stage of building a consumer-winning brand — from research to execution. Although we won’t peel back the curtain entirely, we’ll give you some tips and steps to begin building your own brand identity to help you cut through the noise and accurately define your brand.
We broke down the steps of an ETC brand immersion here, but we thought it’d be nice to give you a peek at the most important aspects of a brand immersion experience and how to get the most out of it. At its core, a brand immersion is a series of exercises that bring to the surface the unique features of your brand. By the end of the exercises, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of your brand and how to execute your message and your look no matter where you’re advertising.
Discovering the unknown is not just for Magellan. Some of your most passionate brand advocates had to forge through the new branding frontier until they uncovered your brand, who you are, and how you resonated with them. After we’ve done the necessary pre-work, such as looking through your SWOT analysis and any existing brand guidelines you may have, we do a lot of brand soul searching in the discovery stage.
This is where we dig into your brand to uncover the uncommon traits of your brand that really makes you unique. Essentially, it’s where we start, and it drives every action moving forward. Kind of like with a therapist, you have to be honest in all areas of your brand to really see improvements.
At the core of this stage, we find out where you’re struggling to connect with your customers and how we can fix it. At the deepest level, this process isn’t just for you to unpack your brand, it’s for the entire Eighty Three team to immerse themselves in what you do and who you are. By the end of the discovery stage, we’ll have uncovered the heart of your brand, ultimately opening us up to brand-new insights we haven’t fully explored.
As a re-brand consultant, we recommend having some fun to help the creative ideas flow. After the discovery stage, you can’t discover intriguing insights if you’re bored to death, so we have a few brand activities you can do yourself to see how you can develop your brand and give it some more personality.
OK, so we might be able to call this the Your Brand Walks into a Bar exercise, and you’ll see why in a second. Stay tuned.
But before that, some of the best, most timeless brands have been able to build their entire company from a single adjective. By driving that association into the minds of their customers, they’ve controlled the marketplace. Think about Louis Vuitton and luxury, or Apple and innovation, or Toyota and safety. Even if their competitors could argue that they themselves are more luxurious, or more groundbreaking, or safer, these brands have driven those associations home.
So, if your brand were a person, how would you describe him or her? You don’t even have to narrow it to one. Make a list of 10 to 15 adjectives and start discussing which ones describe your brand. You’ll notice similar adjectives are consistently brought up as a branding word map forms right in front of you.
Also, consider what your brand might wear if it were a person. Is it in a three-piece suit, or a graphic tee and jeans? Does it have tattoos, does it wear glasses? These exercises may seem silly, but you’ll see strong opinions about the brand get established, and at the end of the day, it’s about zeroing in on who you are. All discussion is good discussion at this stage. If some people are on opposite ends of the spectrum, explore why they feel that way and you’ll begin to see some holes in your previous brand that you should pin down here.
Now, imagine your brand walking into a bar and it’s had a few drinks. How would it act? Is it talking to everyone at the bar? Is it loud? Is it trying to squeeze in a few more before the night is officially over? Is it wittier, kinder, or more serious?
These are all questions that can help you discover how to amplify your brand and dial up its tone and personality.
By this point, you’ve torn your brand down to the studs and built it back up into something to behold. Now what?
Maybe you already have a logo you love, or you have a mission statement that perfectly encompasses everything you do and its practically tattooed into your brand’s history. However, for some reason, you just don’t feel your brand identity has really been nailed down and there’s just something missing that’s not being communicated to your customers. What gives?
At Eighty Three, we have a full brand immersion experience to help you discover what exactly you want to say, who you’re saying it to, and how you need to say it. At this stage, it’s about addressing everything from the colors you use and what they mean to the different pieces of communication, like a value proposition or brand promise. Every element will help you pinpoint who your brand is and how it should be best represented in your industry.
The truth is this: brands are changing. Even the most established ones are seeing how to better position themselves to capture their market. This presents risks because you don’t want to push away customers you’ve worked hard to acquire; however, change is a part of advertising. Today, content is being produced at rapid rates, and as a result, customers are more receptive than ever to brands reinventing themselves, and most of the time, this risk pays off — if done well. Although you don’t need to change your entire brand image to get noticed, do something that will surprise your audience and keep them engaged. Becoming stale is a bigger risk than rebranding.
Question where you want to be, where you want to push your brand. If it makes you a little uncomfortable, that may be the perfect place for you to go. Your customers will catch up, and you may even get a few new ones along the way.
Got some questions for us instead of your brand? We can’t wait to hear it.