Your brand is the heart and soul of your business.
Humans have a hard-wired need to have a relationship with other humans, as well as the functional and fun items and tools we use in our daily lives.
Consumers typically have the most powerful connection to their smartphone engaging with it 150 times a day.
While we love novelty and change, we also have a strong need for constancy and commitment.
Brands serve a vital human purpose. They give identity, meaning and connectivity to our experiences and possessions.
Ultimately we want to create a passion for our brand with the customer.
This is done on seven dimensions:
1. Form -- the physical manifestation of the brand. Visual as well as audio elements including tone, timber, beat and harmonic qualities. Form is the face and voice of the brand.
2. Function -- those that are indispensable and unique to the brand. Explicit functionality can be easily and well articulated by the consumer and implemented by the product designer. Implicit functionality is found to be valuable and indispensable by the consumer but they have trouble articulating these elements verbally.
3. Feelings -- automatic emotional associations arise at the thought or mention of a brand. Shorthand for a large network of attributes and connections (e.g., place, social setting, occasion; act of preparing; enjoying; post enjoyment; larger cultural context; and, live events or cycle of life).
4. Values -- broader social and moral values that a brand may be connected with either explicitly or implicitly. Values that may be relevant to the essential character of specific brands are: personal, spiritual, moral, communal, social, political, economic, philosophical, historical, traditional, cultural, national, environmental, legal or lifecycle-related.
5. Benefits -- personally meaningful rewards we expect to acquire by using brands. The following benefits stand out in associating a brand with a consumer's personal identity: beauty, intellect, sexual attractiveness, fashion, knowledgeable, success, pride, exclusive and elite, access to power and resources, genetic and racial pride and uniqueness of personality.
6. Metaphors -- reveal larger than life expectations that come to be consciously or subconsciously associated with a brand and its meaning to a consumer. The metaphor is useless unless it is tangibly and consistently reinforced (e.g., Volvo = safety).
7. Extensions -- natural extensions make sense in the consumer's mind. The most successful extensions use one of the following strategies: functionality addition (e.g., 3M sticky notes); functionality merge (e.g., shampoo and conditioner); occasion merge (e.g., turkey beyond holidays); interaction and interface merge (e.g., Baskin Robbins and Oreos); technology merge (e.g., Intel inside); and, device merge (e.g., iPhone).
Established brands should drive home the core feelings consumers have about your brand.
New brands need to focus on unique benefits and function that will differentiate the brand.
Commodity brands need to focus on form, function and benefits to engage the brain on a practical level.
Luxury brands need to generate an emotional response to compensate for the premium pricing.
How does your brand stack up on these seven dimensions?
Have you asked your customers?