Poet and College Professor Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The same can be said for your brand.
This is why it’s important to think from your heart when creating a plan, or “blueprint,” for your brand. In the process, you’ll more accurately – and memorably – capture how your brand looks, sounds, feels and speaks to consumers.
Build your brand blueprint by evaluating it across the following five categories:
1. Brand Features and Benefits
Start by identifying physical features and benefits of your brand. Never underestimate this important step, which helps you generate powerful reasons for customers to believe in what you have to offer. Ask yourself:
What are my brand’s features?
For example, “Round and smaller than a dime, plain M&M’s® have colorful, candy shells that surround sweet milk chocolate.”
What does my brand do for customers?
For example, “Purell® kills 99.99 percent of most common germs that may cause disease.”
How does my brand make customers feel?
Try to come up with an unforgettable example to illustrate your brand’s impact, as Suburu® has in its love trilogy:
- The love loyal Suburu owners have for their cars
- The love parents have for their children
- The loving act of transporting others in a safe Suburu
What impact does the product have on consumers’ senses or usage experience?
For example, Yoplait® Light represents its line of dessert-themed flavors as “sinfully” delicious to eat.
2. Brand Target Audience
Develop a deeper understanding of your prospects and customers, or “target audience,” to connect with them on a more emotional level. Get a better idea of what motivates them by learning their:
- Demographics, such as gender, age, and life stage
- Psychographics, such as attitudes (e.g. sincerity), orientations (e.g. family oriented) and values (e.g. honesty)
- Experience, including the most relevant context in which your brand is used (e.g. Use Vaseline® Spray & Go Skin Care Line after the shower and when you do not have a lot of time to moisturize your skin)
3. Brand Personality / Character
Your brand’s personality or character is its ultimate projection. Identify its traits, which will form, in part, the basis of your and your customers’ relationship with your brand. Answer the following:
If my brand were a person, what would he or she be like?
A brand example that springs from both a product characteristic and its users is Harley-Davidson, with motorcycles and riders that typically have rugged, masculine, macho and unique identities.
4. Brand Insight
Still thinking with your heart throughout these exercises? Great! Chances are, your “brand insight” is starting to take shape. To uncover your brand insight, ask yourself:
- What problem does my brand solve? (Or which opportunity does it leverage?)
- What makes my brand different, new and/or better than the competition, and how do I deliver it?
For example, the Sony Wii brand insight is that interactive gaming experiences are fun and memorable for people of all ages. The solution delivers on its core values of inclusiveness, customization, fitness fun, togetherness, and healthy competition. Best of all, it enables family, friends and co-workers to play together.
5. Brand Essence
The Disney experience is often expressed as “magical.” This is a “brand essence.”
Quickly, state what you want your brand to stand for in the minds of prospects and customers: ________________________________.
A strong brand essence can help you:
- Augment your brand story
- Inspire prospects to choose you over the competition
So remember when determining the essence of your brand: people will never forget how your brand made them feel. So create a unique, authentic and believable brand – an achievable feat when your brand blueprint comes from the heart.