Brand Building – “Everything Communicates”
For 20+ years, our hybrid brand consultancy / creative agency has worked with clients across the health and wellness industry to help shape and change the trajectory of their brands and businesses. One of the fundamental ideas behind our brand building work, whether shaping a brand or creating new brand energy, is that everything communicates.
Inside and outside of organizations, across the entire business and across all brand identity elements – from purpose, story, positioning, messaging and portfolio, through to culture, design and experience, actions, communications, experiential and advertising – everything communicates. And everything either contributes to growing brand perception, brand value and business growth, or detracts from same.
Successful brand building requires orchestrating all of these individual touch points, so they build a powerful and consistent impression among a brand’s audiences. This begins with organization leadership aligning around the “4C’s” principles for building a brand:
- clarity of brand direction
- conviction of management belief in the brand
- consistency in execution across the organization
- commitment from top down to reinforce brand direction
Important to understand is that building a powerful brand doesn’t just happen. It takes an ongoing, coordinated, company-wide commitment to creating, nurturing, defending and strengthening an enduring bond between a customer and a brand. The kind of bond that facilitates and expedites decision-making and creates “category of one” shopping.
A 360 Degree View of Brand
We define a brand as the set of ideas, promises and experiences that extend across the entire organization, delivered from the inside out; which then live on in people’s minds in terms of how they interpret your actions and perceive your organization.
In our definition of brand, everything communicates and every part of the business can be used to fuel loyalty and love. Every decision and every action is an opportunity to make a brand distinguishing and amazing.
The sum of these actions creates a network of connected ideas — like an operating system – that guides business decisions, products and experience, brand design, customer experience and marketing.
Aligning With Today’s Consumer
Today, people have visibility into everything an organization does. Nothing remains behind the curtain. So everything does literally communicate. Which means brands need to behave with integrity and purpose, inside and out. No longer can a company be one thing and a brand be another.
Beyond demanding transparency, today’s value-led consumers and communities also want brands to make an impact beyond their products and services. Profit has been replaced by purpose, and consumers are looking to brands to deliver a combination of people and planet benefits. It’s not how much you make but how you make it.
Case in point:
- 68% of US consumers say that a company’s social responsibility reputation has at least some influence on their purchasing with that company
- 41% of US consumers want to buy from a company with social, political and environmental ideals
- 70% of the most empowered and influential consumers believe a company’s social responsibility is important
And, authentic brand values are good for business:
- 37% of values-driven firms report double-digit, year-on-year revenue growth vs 32% of companies overall.
Trajectory’s Brand Building Framework
At Trajectory, we use a brand building framework built around what we call a Unifying Brand Idea. It’s a compelling statement of overarching brand intent or mission that drives the brand, captures its spirit and ties together the experience across the business and the organization’s internal and external marketing activities.
The Financial Rewards of A 360° Experience
Three research studies support that brands that take a 360° approach – win in the marketplace.
Interbrand Best Global Brands
Interbrand, the largest consultancy around the globe related to brands (and in full transparency where I used to be on the management board), released its annual ranking of Best Global Brands in October.
During the analysis of BGB 2021, the fastest risers significantly outperformed other brands on three factors, revealing their fundamental priorities:
- Direction: These brands set a clear direction, ensuring that the entire organization knows where they are going, and are working towards the same ambition.
- Agility: These brands move fast, bringing new products and services to market and, where necessary, pivoting to address changing customer needs.
- Participation: These brands ultimately bring people on a journey with them and make them part of the movement to create an engaging brand world.
Interbrand’s Global Chief Strategy Officer, Manfredi Ricca – inspired by the data from this year’s study, writes of brands as “Acts of Leadership.” He notes that the most inspiring brands are extending their leadership role beyond their direct product category to confront the biggest challenges we face.
Tesla, the biggest riser in the Best Global Brands report this year, is driving us towards a low- carbon future and is a leader in its category. The work of PayPal and Salesforce in addressing issues such as economic equality and reproductive rights are further examples of how the best brands are providing systemic solutions to systemic problems.
The top 100 brands are represented in this visual below:
Wunderman Thompson Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands
Wunderman Thompson released its second annual ‘The Inspire Score: Top 100 2021,’ a ranking of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World. The ‘Inspire Score’ measures a brand’s “inspiration status and uncovers the brand attributes that fuel business growth through their ability to inspire people.”
According to Mel Edwards, Global CEO at Wunderman Thompson, “Our research proves a strong correlation between inspiration and brand growth, which is why our annual list of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands is a powerful tool for large and small brands alike.”
According to the report, the research shows that Inspiration is a process. One where the brand puts forward a new, positive possibility for people that they feel compelled to take advantage of. Based on research into inspiration in the field of motivational psychology, Wunderman determined that inspirational brands score highly on three factors:
We feel good when we think and act in an altruistic way. Elevating brands demonstrate a positive impact on society and a caring approach to their own customers. This in turn creates a sense that choosing them would help us be the sort of person we aspire to be. It’s measured in the dataset by looking at scores for ‘cares for its customers’, ‘socially responsible’ and ‘helpful’.
This talks to the social power of a brand in making us feel like we are making a popular, exciting choice. The Magnetic score is derived by using the scores for ‘leader’, ‘best brand’, ‘would recommend to a friend’, and ‘gaining in popularity.
Motivating says that the brand offers something different that will help people accomplish their goals. The metrics that make up Motivating are ‘good value’, ‘high performance’, ‘simple’, and ‘distinctive’.
Barkley Whole Brands Advantage Report
Advertising agency Barkley released their Whole Brands Advantage Report in Q1, 2021. It contains the results of the agency’s first Whole Brand Study: an analysis of 123 brands in 16 categories. It’s an introduction to both the model and measurement (Whole Brand Index) of the power and performance of such brands.
Whole brands, which are brands that spread their strength across a defined set of strategies and actions, grow faster and win more customers than their weaker, more fragmented competitors. And they do so decisively on at least eight key performance metrics:
Building a whole brand, according to Barkley, means leaving nothing to chance.
Every action your organization takes is the brand and everything communicates. Which means that brand is everyone’s responsibility, not just the marketing department.
The actions that consumers expect organizations to take are increasingly being judged beyond their ability to make profit – but to lead with Purpose and impact People and Planet.
The brands that embrace the above ideas, ultimately win in the marketplace.
Since 1999, Trajectory has worked with clients across the health and wellness industry to build stronger brand-led businesses. Reach out for a no-obligation consultation.