Imagine your brand as a movie, and your audience as a film critic who wrote single-word reviews. What would you want them to say about you? What would be that one big word in quotes on your matinee poster, summing up how your movie made them feel?
That’s your brand essence. It’s the promise you make to your audience, the idea that your brand provides a specific unique experience. It’s something your consumer relates to, understands, and desires on a fundamental level.
Harley-Davidson is rebellious.
Corona is relaxed.
Home Depot is capable.
What are you?
A well-defined brand essence will help in developing a brand strategy and guiding your individual marketing efforts. Consider it carefully when you begin any new initiative or communication on behalf of your brand—upholding your brand essence will reinforce the relationship you enjoy with your audience, but straying from it with inconsistent messaging and attitude is a sure way to lose the good faith of your base.
With that goal in mind, you should make sure to consider these 6 qualities of a compelling brand essence:
A brand essence longer than a word or two is disjointed and lacks focus. This shouldn’t be a list of qualities you’d like your brand to have, but rather a single feeling you instill in your customers.
Your goal is to be outstanding in your field. Your audience will come to you for the differences that set you apart from your competitors. If you were the same as all the rest, you wouldn’t be a brand; you’d be just another herd member.
When someone chooses your product or service, how does it make them feel? Your brand essence has to capture the gut reaction of your consumer or client in an encounter with your brand.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your company’s industry and aspirations, forgetting that your brand essence is all about the customer. Don’t use internal jargon, and don’t focus on how providing the service makes you feel, but how receiving the service makes them feel.
Dream big! But be realistic. If you’re trying to build your brand essence around an experience you aren’t delivering, you’ll have a hard time connecting with your audience in a meaningful way.
From campaign to campaign, from product to product, your brand essence should remain intact. It’s okay for each project to have its own personality, as long as they accommodate and reinforce the greater brand essence.
So think about your brand. What’s your essence? What’s your one-word, five-star review? If you can’t answer these questions clearly and honestly, maybe it’s time for a brand refresh and a new perspective on your company’s role in the marketplace.
Since a lot of people’s first interactions with your brand begin with your website, its important to ensure that you’re not delivering a mixed message with your branding decisions. Download our e-book on branding and clear the waters with your business's current brand.