Is Your Brand Functional?
In my last column, I wrote about the need to ensure your brand is connecting with people on an emotional level. If you make a quality product but the competition is besting you, it’s because your brand isn’t attractive to people. You need to find out why, and then fix the disconnect.
There is one reason, and one reason alone, why a brand doesn’t resonate with people: they don’t feel the brand aligns with their values.
Research tells us that a brand truly connects with people when they feel the brand reflects who they are. People choose brands they feel reflect them as a person, some examples being brands that reflect certain identities such as “conservative”, “athletic” and “hip”.
Think about your favourite brand. What do you feel it says about you? Why do you choose it over other brands? Sure, maybe it’s partly due to quality, but there are plenty of high-quality products on the market under different brand names. You’re loyal to that brand in large part because you feel it reflects you in some way.
If your brand isn’t doing that for others, it could be for several reasons:
- You’re forgetting who your customers are. Your target market may have changed over time. With every new generation comes changing demands and customer preferences. If you’re a company that’s been around a long time, you may not realize that your primary customers are now primarily younger people. Younger people are highly tech-savvy and gravitate toward brands that match this part of their identity. How tech-savvy are you?
- It’s all in the message. What’s the primary attribute of your brand that you communicate to people? Once you determine what that is, ask yourself this question: are you actually doing what it is you claim to do? If there’s a disconnect between what your brand says it does and what it actually does, that’s something that could be hurting you.
- Are you engaging? People like to purchase brands from companies they feel challenge them in some regard, or that are interesting to them for various reasons. Yours may have become a bit stale over time. Strategies that worked 10 or 20 or 30 years ago may not work so well today. It may be time to make yourself more relevant.
- Looks matter. Has the look of your logo or product changed over time? Or have you kept it the same? Your logo and the images and colours associated with it are what people associate with you when they hear your name. You may need to think about making some changes.
Once you decide what to fix about your brand, you need to figure out how to go about fixing them. Stay tuned!