The world of branding and marketing has evolved over the last 100 years. We went from mere organisations selling products and services, to absolute interactive machines surviving in a world drowned by content and diverse ideologies.
'Product + Comparison + Benefits' versus 'Beliefs + Mission + Product'
For a long time marketing strategies were product-centric. They included highlighting certain product's advantages against its competitors rather than the philosophical beliefs of the company itself. But things have changed since social media came along.
Social media implies being socially relevant.
Well, if you understand the basics of marketing and social psychology, you will know that people identify themselves with others who share similar beliefs, culture, language, habits, jobs or skills.
In the past, you would find a product and then attach an image to it. As of today, brands define themselves before the product. It is important to know what role the company will play in the world before anything else.
In brand strategy we use a chart to help us define these brand attributes, which are typically divided in:
Philosophical - The main beliefs, values and behaviours of the company.
Emotional - The type of relationships and communication the company establishes with its public.
Physical - The actual services, products and market presence.
Sustainability, veganism, anti-animal cruelty, diversity, global warming or poverty. There is a long list of relevant social matters which brands may endorse in order to better project themselves into the market, while making a positive impact in the world.
Nike has been particularly good at this.
It is a very simple equation.
If people share common beliefs with a company, they are likely to value it more, therefore having a better chance on becoming a loyal customer.
The fact is, having a good product or service attached to a logo is no longer enough.
As companies become more interactive, they also carry the need to implement human-like behaviours: a purpose, a mission, a set of beliefs which creates and drives the 'tribe'.
Emotional and philosophical connection has never been as important as it is right now. New consumers want to know what the ethical practices of a certain organisation are before they support it. They want to know what are these companies specifically doing in order to change the world we live in.
So my last thoughts:
Be relevant to world, not to yourself.
There is a possible clash between exploiting this social causes for profits and actually caring about society and change, but we can leave this topic for another time.
Ultimately, only the ones who actually have genuine beliefs will grow. As humans, we can only fake who we are for so long, and the very same lesson applies for brands and organisations.
How do we define our 'social positioning'?
As I have discussed in one of our previous articles, it is important to define what we care about and how we want to be perceived by our desired community.
Here are a few tips on how to better find your brand's social purpose:
Find a cause which correlates to your products and services.
Make sure the cause is relevant enough in order to truly become part of the ethos of your company.
Do not force it. Find something you and your team truly believe in. Something relevant to world, not to you.
Check what your desired audience is talking about and interact with them. Ask them questions.
Do you need help defining your brand? Drop us a message.
A chronicle by Mario Alcantara Monteiro - Creative director at Noance Studio.
As part of our mission as a social problem-solving team, we are offering 2 hour brand strategy calls with brands and organisations which need strategic and creative support during this moment.
You can also book it directly here.