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When thinking of the term “essence,” it’s helpful to compare it to the people you interact with on a daily basis. A person’s essence acts as their defining character—their personality, personal drive, and emotional tone all help to make this up. Now, compare this to the way your marketing company describes its brand. You may have a few specific adjectives such as fearless, inspiring, or bold.
Your brand essence is a defining trait that makes your brand not only resonate with your audience but also stand out from competitors. Here’s how your marketing company can define its brand essence.
Your brand essence should emotionally resonate with your audience
Sure, not every brand is going to have a thrilling, decade-spanning story behind it—it might even be as simple as “two friends wanted to start a digital marketing agency together out of college.” It’s not always about what happened that got your brand to where it is today; the how and why provides the emotional resonance your brand essence needs.
How has your brand solved key questions in your industry or enriched the lives of others? Why does your brand provide help and guidance to other companies? You can throw around complex terminology and data left and right, but none of those factors are going to land if there’s no real emotion behind it. This is especially true if you are a b2b company, branding under the misconception that b2b is overly-professional (we like to have fun too!)
Here are a few ways you can bring more emotion to your brand essence, without sounding artificial:
- Share previous case studies and customer accolades. Let your audience know how you’ve helped other companies in the past through your services and solutions.
- Don’t be afraid to show some personality in your brand voice. Just as there’s a time and place for a professional tone, there may be opportunities to engage in more lighthearted conversation with your audience. This is most often seen on social media.
- Above all, be honest with your brand messaging; its essence should never feel forced.
Avoid over-complicating your brand essence
Perhaps one of the most innovative and impactful companies in the world today is none other than Apple. This is a company that built its brand essence around the idea of “simple elegance” and has consistently kept this at its core decades later. So what can your digital marketing company take away from this? Your brand essence in itself should be easily-defined and, well, just plain simple.
No, we’re not saying to mimic Apple’s essence; rather, you can apply their concept of a single phrase that’s both understandable and believable. When we think of Apple, we don’t doubt the idea that they’re a company built around simplifying everyday tasks and digital interactions. Likewise, your company’s brand essence should be a single, defining trait that your audience can look at and say “ok, I can believe that!” If your essence is too vague or too complex, it risks confusing your audience.
Review these suggested qualities for your brand essence
A few years ago, we shared 6 keys that marketing companies could follow to develop their brand essence—and these keys still hold relevancy today. Let’s explore each in more depth:
- Build a brand that has focus. This relates to the previous discussion on avoiding complexity with your brand essence. You don’t need to tell your audience every last detail about your company’s history in order to share your brand story with them.
- Strive to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Remember, many brands want to be the next Amazon or Apple—but inspiration and plagiarism are two totally different terms. By copying another brand’s essence, you’re only hurting your credibility and making your brand stale as a result.
- Be visceral, and understand how your audience feels about your brand. What is their initial reaction to it, and what do you want their lasting impressions to be?
- Always keep your brand relevant to your audience. At the end of the day, your brand serves a purpose to provide clarity, help, and insight to your audience. Your brand essence should reflect this, not just how “groundbreaking” your service is.
- Present your brand to be authentic. There's only so much you can realistically accomplish with your brand; there’s no need to try and make bold statements about everything your brand can potentially do for others.
- Make your brand essence durable and lasting. You may need to refresh your brand messaging and personality in the future, but its core essence should stay in tact.
It takes time to truly define your brand essence, but these tips can help your company get started. Thinkdm2 is a digital marketing agency from New Jersey that focuses on brand development, web design, and marketing strategies for b2b companies. For more strategies, you can check out our other blog content, or download our branding truth or dare eBook!