Famous brands tell great stories, suck us in whether we like it or not, they inspire and motivate us, and leave us hooked for more.

All our favourite brands started somewhere, with a bunch of guys and gals sat round a table trying to work out what their brand was going to give the world. Today we’re pondering how brand can become a reality. And this means getting beyond just the logo.

Who are we talking to?
First up, who do you actually want to talk to? Arguably the best place to start and most important part of your brand planning. Paint a picture, a persona of your ideal customer, this is who your brand needs to appeal to. Creating personas is a great, fun way of doing this (more on personas in a future blog!) And customers are tricky business. They want to know what’s in it for them and why they should care. It’s important to remember you can’t be all things to all people so forget about trying. Better to hone in on a small, specific audience, than try to sell to everyone.When a campaign really clicks with your chosen customer you’ve hit the jackpot.

Key messages
Next up, gather your people around, and work out what you’re really all about. Your key messages are the building blocks for anything and everything you push out from your business. Consider your customers, why you’re in business and where you sit amongst the pack. Less is more, you don’t need hundreds of these. But make them true, packed with emotion and let them tell your story.

The brand campaign
Now for the fun part... go tell the world who you are and what you stand for. This is the brand campaign. Designed to shout about the brand rather than products and services. Keeping your name at the front of the customers’ mind, and sticking at it so they don’t forget who you are, is key. This is the reason why large companies pump money into big adverts despite having already won global reach. Think John Lewis and their Christmas campaign. Every year their advert is one of the most anticipated of the year. Their sole motivator for securing great advertising spots in the ad breaks of popular TV programmes is to raise and keep awareness high at their busiest period.

And that’s not to say brand campaigns have to be based on big TV advertising. Dorset cereals took an innovative approach in 2015 to drive up awareness. They toured UK festivals and seaside towns with a pop up ‘breakfast lodge’ delivering tastes of their breakfast cereals and offering takeaway samples. The experience, along with the tangible cereal samples to take home ensured people were talking about Dorset Cereals long after they had interacted with the brand.



Engage with your chosen audience
Customer interactions define brand. Seamless experiences should be delivered, and your brand needs to adapt whenever it meets a customer. Social media has added layers of complexity to this engagement. Customers can now complain as well as compliment, freely online for all to see, and how this is handled speaks volumes.

Popular sandwich and coffee shop chain Pret a Manger famously profess not to use traditional forms of advertising, preferring instead to create attractive shop fronts, and encourage staff to perform ‘random acts of kindness’ throughout the day. Their twitter feed reflects the brand’s sense of fun, pushing out cool, witty responses. Pret’s ‘Not just for veggies’ campaign remains faithful to their passion for listening to the customer, responding to a high demand for more veggie options on the menu. Pret have hit the mark for customer engagement and giving the customer what they want. In the heavily saturated market they sit in, this is central to their success.

Consistency
Keeping things consistent protects your brand and enhances the experience. And this goes for every time your brand interacts with a customer. Your tweets, your Facebook updates, LinkedIn profiles and pictures on Instagram all need to mirror your brand and your values. At this point a quick nod to Innocent drinks is necessary. A brand widely respected, often copied and envied by many. Innocent’s unique tone of voice permeates everything they do. Cheerful, fun, laid back, their website is a joy to read, and a superb example of how consistency pays off.

Measure, measure and measure again!
As with all marketing activity, measuring is a must. You have to make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck! Brand awareness can feel highly un-measureable at times, and customer research can be costly. Simply seeing a spike in traffic/leads/sales when you deliver brand activity into the market will be your best indicator. Test, deliver, measure and refine.

Who do we think is buzzing?
A great example comes from the folks at Yeo Valley.
In 2010 the company realised it needed to stand out from other yoghurt brands and increase brand awareness. Their ‘Live in harmony’ campaign was born. With smaller budgets than global brands they had to use their money wisely. The advert premiered during The X Factor, a catchy rap number appealed to the audience, things quickly went viral and there was a massive social media buzz around the campaign, trending on Twitter. Updating their tone of voice and packaging  to match the campaign meant they had considered the customer experience when purchasing in store. Needless to say, brand awareness, household spend and sales all increased. A masterclass in how to deliver a brand campaign.

To finish off…
A quick whistle stop tour of how brand can be brought to life. With attention spans at a minimum, now is the time to make your brand buzz and not bore. Stay true to your values, be different and don’t try to be all things to all people. Make your chosen audience WANT to be part of your journey.