When it comes to branding, it needs to make sense for your vibe and feel comfortable for the skin you’re in. Branding should be consistent with your values and everyday lifestyle. It wouldn’t make sense to build a brand promoting cussing like a sailor and drinking beer if you tend to be docile and drink lattes. When it comes to branding, it should reflect what you love.
We are influenced by branding all the time. We choose our favorite coffee shop, sneakers, grocery store, and more all based on branding. Don’t be fooled into thinking you aren’t affected by branding- we all are!
Branding includes visual and other influences- Brands use all of our senses to attract our loyalty. Their visual materials, logos, storefronts, and collateral are all designed to attract their target audience. If you find you are repeatedly accessing specific brands, that’s probably because you are their target consumer, otherwise their visual effects and other influences on the senses wouldn’t resonate with you. A popular brand, Abercrombie and Fitch use a specific scent inside their stores to attract their target customer. Victoria Secret uses color in their stores to attract and entice their target customer. Burger King pipes smell into the air outside their building to make people want their burgers as they drive by.
Branding includes emotional influences- People don’t remember what you did, they remember how you made them feel, is a loose interpretation of a Maya Angelou quote. It’s very true. We tend to recall experiences and use them to base our decision to embrace or reject a brand. How you feel when go into a store can affect your attraction to a brand. Your customer service experience can also affect your opinions about a brand. Some companies like Dick’s Last Resort restaurant are known for hiring obnoxious waitstaff who poke fun at guests on purpose as part of the brand’s unique style. Though it may not be for everyone, it does entice their target customer.
Pay Attention to What you are Attracted to
When thinking about your own brand, pay attention to what you are attracted to. While there’s no good in copying someone’s brand, there’s nothing wrong with emulating a brand or using what you love about them to influence your branding decisions. Typically, good service, good design, and other positive aspects of a brand are great influences and inspirations for your own brand.
Also, your brand should reflect the values you hold highest. If you are all about aesthetics your branding should reflect your attention to visual detail. If you are an experiential person, your brand should reflect exceptional customer service, or some sort of concierge experience that is unique to your personal standards.
Paying attention to what you love about other brands can give you a guidebook and insider information on what works in branding.
Pay Attention to What you are NOT Attracted to
The only way we know good is to experience bad. Life is about polarity and the duality is what helps us determine what we love and what we don’t. While you are likely aware of brands you love and return to over and again, I am sure you also know what brands you don’t love and why. Thinking about what you don’t like in a brand can help you avoid similar aspects for your own brand and help people fall in love with you. In the example of Dick’s restaurant, if you cringe at the thought of rude waitstaff and don’t find being publicly humiliated the least bit fun, it’s likely a good thing to avoid when building your brand. Your aversion to that sort of service may help you build guidelines for your brand to ensure positive customer service as a standard.
Building a brand has a lot of steps and a lot of moving parts. You can check some of the to-do items off your list by paying attention to the brands you love…and don’t and be more intentional about why you do or don’t love them. Use this information to guide you on your path while building your brand.
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