Maslow's* Hierarchy of Branding
Branding. It's a noun, it's a verb, it's my job, but what does it mean?!
I think I've figured it out. Scroll forth to learn the differences between building a brand, branding itself and the intangible and tangible benefits of branding your brand! I promise it gets clearer.
These are the foundational elements that will inform every decision moving forward.
First you need a company or organization with a product or service to market. I have some ideas if you need one. Next, answer these questions.
- What does your company hope to do?
- What purpose will drive you there?
- How does this product/service fit with the company mission?
- Who is it for?
- Why should they care?
And no, choosing that your product is for “everyone” is not an option. Even if literally anyone could use it. Target specific consumers with a product or service you know they will find relevant. The goal is to develop a strong perspective those specific people can champion and relate to.
If you have an idea of who you are, what you want, who you’re talking to and why, it’s time to figure out your branding.
These are the creative expressions of your Brand that will become recognizable over time.
It should include a visual look and feel, a distinct voice and personality, even auditory cues (NBC chimes, anyone?). This section is always worth investing in and doing your homework for. If your branding isn’t aesthetically pleasing or accessible to the people you’re trying to reach, no one will pay attention. Which means no one is buying your stuff.
If you bungle this step and people pay attention anyway, find out why. It’s either bad news (your branding is offensive or really bad) or a gold mine (there's an untapped market for you to own).
This is how other people perceive you. Don't freak out, but it's constantly evolving.
It includes intangible things, like personal memories people associate with your product or company, or what your overall reputation is. And it includes tangible things, like press coverage and the people actually using your product. It might seem like it's out of your control, but keep in mind that the choices you made about your Brand and Branding can affect the impression you make. And vice versa! You should use the perception of your "Brand" to drive Branding and basic Brand-level changes. This pyramid flows in almost every direction.