Brand Share of Mind (Rational). These are logical, physical features or attributes that are rational and appeal to the mind:
2. Differentiation. Your brand essence must be unique, not replaceable. You must own a single idea. See the previous week’s blog post for how to figure out your brand’s core essence or attribute.
For example, you will never hear:
Most importantly, create a new value curve to make your brand stand out from everyone else. The Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas advises that you compete on attributes that your competitors have failed to serve. For years high growth companies have entered markets by first catering to an underserved niche market.
For instance, Netflix started by mailing cult classic films that you couldn’t get at Blockbuster, Vimeo focused on professional videographers unlike YouTube, and Tesla started making luxury vehicles instead of competing with electric low-end hybrids. This strategy of differentiation is key for disruptive start-ups and established companies.
Share of Heart (Feelings) These are the attributes that appeal to people’s feelings or emotions.
Relevance. There is no point in identifying an essence that is irrelevant to your audience. Essences that don’t connect are the reason behind many failed brands. Research to make sure you nail this down.
Test your brand against these 4 branding principles to make sure that your brand has a solid, well-grounded foundation that will appeal to people and fend off the competition. If you have any gaps, identify what is missing in your brand essence. Use it by consistently incorporating it into your messaging.
In addition, you may want to ask your customers what they think and feel about your brand. Global companies with large market research budgets do this all the time to make sure that their branding resonates with their target audiences. Likewise, follow their example, even if it means something and inexpensive as simple as picking up the phone and talking to your customer!
Every strong brand stands for something—one differentiating attribute.
Some call it brand essence. Others call it the brand. Or any of these…
Your brand essence or core attribute gives your audience the primary reason to choose your brand over competitors’ brands. Your brand personality captures what your audience feels when they experience your brand.
Examples of well-known brands:
Volvo = Safety and reliability.
Tesla = Luxury and state-of-the art electric car technology.
Porsche = Sporty performance.
Lamborghini = Exotic luxury performance.
A brand becomes stronger… when you narrow its focus.
Tap into what your audience feels.
Be single-minded. Stand for something and own it. One word to describe your essence is ideal. Maybe two. More than two words indicates that the brand has no focus.
Because a brand (by design) delivers a unique experience, having no focus makes for a weak brand.
Your brand essence must be authentic and credible, or your audience will not believe you. To find out what your audience believes about your brand, ask them. How did people react to your car brand description during the ice-breaker? Did they believe you? Or was it a stretch for them? How hard was it for you to zoom in on the words you chose to describe yourself?
(It’s okay for the brand essence to be aspirational, but only if your audience believes you can deliver on the promise.)
Here are a few resource links to help:
Brand voice test: Do these words pass the sniff test? If people can't tell who's talking when your logo or trademark is covered, then your brand's voice is not distinctive enough.