Ryan Stoner | Brand Strategist

In order to build a brand with transformative potential, you need great branding. The way I think about marketing and branding is this: You need to know the consumer, you need to know the magic, and you need to connect those together. Connecting the two means bringing the magic built by your team to the world in a way that is both relevant and compelling to your specific demographic. You need to focus marketing and advertising on your most loyal core audience, and you also need to have a strong and consistent central point-of-view.

If you don’t know what the magic in your company is, I strongly suggest holding off on moving forward with anything else in your company. If it doesn’t seem like magic to you, how will it ignite fire in your audience? In your employees? You have to not only know what you are selling, but you have to be the first one to drink your own Kool-Aid.

The best brands in the world connect the magic and the consumer. They operate in a way that is reflective of a strong emotional understanding of their core consumer. They communicate both internally and externally in a way that makes the brand’s product feel emotionally resonant or fun to the consumer, and look to deliver added value to the core audience versus trying to disrupt their life.

Your brand positioning isn’t about painting a picture of what you are doing right now, it’s about showing people what’s possible. And that is what separates memorable brands. No one likes feeling interrupted by a sales pitch. Even your advertising can add value to the lives of the consumer if you really know the heart of your audience.

Your end game plan should be identify what’s most important to your consumer or to the challenges they are facing to come up with a plan of action that involves people using your product, business or brand campaign to solve the problems they are facing or integrates into their lives in a way that expresses your core brand values. Don’t tell a customer what to do, but gives them tools to do something they didn’t even know they wanted to do or needed until they were presented with the opportunity.

A memorable brand strategy is something that will elevate the course of your brand and business moving forward. It shouldn’t simply be a new advertising campaign, or a new look and feel for your latest promotion. You are looking to create a movement with the customer at the center.

Here is my quick primer for building a memorable brand.

  1. Begin with the magic. What’s your brand’s purpose? Identify and prioritize the key bits that make your brand special.
  2. Think ‘customer first’. Focus on really loyal audience, even though it may be small. The power is in their loyalty.
  3. Tell a brand story that make the product/service feel fun and resonates with human emotions. Aim to add value to your customers lives, have a clear point of view, and inspire action.
  4. Look at creative development from the ground up as a multi-channel storytelling strategy. Everything should support and strengthen your big idea. Determine a platform strategy that’ll best reach your audience and engage across all core touch points to influence how your brand adds value to your customers’ lives.
  5. You need people to tell stories with the technologies or platforms you are building. You’re going to have to take all the data you have and turn it into something your customers will feel in their gut.
  6. Advertising is, at its heart, storytelling. It’s function may be to sell, but its format and equity comes from destinations or channels, not an individual campaign. If you produce the right amount and type of content for your core loyal audience you can consistently sell them your brand stories that engage at an emotional level.

At the end of the day, your goal should be to build a memorable brand that can influence culture and connect with consumers in a meaningful way. And to do that you need to understand the emotional pulse of your consumer, connect it to what you do best, and embrace consumer participation in the brand experience.

There are many ways to visualize a memorable brand strategy, your central POV, brand positioning, et cetera. Whatever framework you choose, it should answer three primary questions:

1. Who are we for?
2. What we do?
3. What do we offer?

By answering these questions you should come to some sort of agreement around why your brand matters to customers and how it can drive action for your users. With enough understanding of those three questions, you should be able to align why your brand matters with not only your customers, but also with shareholders, investors, and most importantly,  yourself.

Traditionally a creative brief is most often used between and agency and a client about a product/project, and if that’s you, keep reading! But creative briefs are also an extremely important tool for business owners in helping you refine and communicate a memorable brand strategy. The main thing you need to remember when developing a creative brief is that its single purpose is to inspire your team to produce great work for you. It needs to effectively communicate your idea and move the needle for your business. However, real-time marketing has collapsed the time frame between conception and execution dramatically. The creative brief needs to change for an ‘Always-On’ advertising world. If you are needing to get things to market quickly, and learn the process faster, I would recommend using a Minimum Viable Brief to execute for a real-time marketing world. You can read more about my approach to developing a ‘MVB’ here.