Most business leaders understand the importance of lead generation and the positive impact the resulting sales have on their company's growth and ultimate success. However, we often underestimate the power of our Brand and the significant role this has in building awareness with our target market.
The recent pandemic taught us some very valuable lessons about the importance of a purpose-driven brand. With the explosive growth of ecommerce and online sales, consumers have more choices than ever before, and according to a research report from Razorfish, Gen Z consumers, in particular, prioritize purpose when making purchasing decisions, with 76% stating the brands they buy stand for a greater mission/purpose. But let's not get hung up on this being a Gen Z tendency - the research found that 62% of consumers of all ages surveyed say that when it comes to making purchase decisions, a brand’s values are important or very important to them, with 40% actively researching a brand’s values and practices. Brand purpose (41%) also outweighs other benefits, including innovation (32%) and discounts (26%), when choosing a brand.
So, what does all this mean exactly? Well, in today’s ever-evolving business landscape, where AI is reshaping how people engage with content and information, placing utmost importance on your brand and your brand messaging has become imperative for entrepreneurs and companies alike.
Your brand serves as a beacon that distinguishes you from competitors, entices customers to choose your products or services, and ultimately determines the fate of your company’s success.
Introducing your business to your desired audience, a well-crafted brand not only captivates their attention but also reinforces their trust in you and maintains their interest. Failing to grasp the significance of a strong brand to your bottom line could, in fact, prove detrimental to your business.
So, let's dive into the various facets of a purpose-driven brand and how and why it matters.
What Is a Brand and Why Does It Matter in Today's World?
A brand is so much more than a logo or tagline. It's a precious company asset that helps tell the story behind your company, conveys your passion for your products and services, and ultimately creates a connection with your employees, who, in turn, are proud to work for the brand.
It's also more than just a slogan or a catchy name for a particular product (think of things like Fenty Beauty, Nike, Amazon Essentials, etc.). When we talk about the term brand, the name, design, symbol, and other identifying features of a company make it what it is.
At WSI, our brand is encapsulated in our brand mission: "Unlocking a world of possibility for those we serve." And our brand video communicates how our WSI Consultant network reflects that back to their clients and prospects:
A company's brand encompasses its design features, motto, core values, reputation, and image. So, why does all of this matter in today's world?
We live in a day and age where consumers are bombarded with hundreds of choices, tons of confusing information, and various companies selling similar products and services.
When a company has a great brand, it can help guide the customer to choose its products over a competitor's company, build trust, and help the company establish a loyal and returning customer base.
Many companies are jumping on the “purposeful” bandwagon to “tick” this box with their potential customers. However, brands that walk the walk and not just talk the talk build a much better connection with their customers. A great example of this is Patagonia. They sell outdoor clothing, but their core mission is to preserve and restore the natural environment. They make a real difference by committing 1% of their profits to environmentalist groups and have donated over $85 M since 1985. To drive home this goal, the banner on their website is about the environment and not their clothing line.
A good brand will help connect with a customer more deeply than just the surface level. As consumers continue to get bombarded with options, they are more likely to choose a brand they connect with, trust, and feel is the best fit for them. And at the end of the day, that's why having a brand identity is so important.
Why Is a Clearly Defined Brand, Purpose, and Messaging Important in Digital Marketing?
Whether building a brand from scratch or revamping your current one, clearly defining your brand, purpose, and messaging is vital.
A strong brand identity will enhance consumers' awareness of your company and can decide whether they purchase your goods and services or at least share your company with others. It will also help you build customer trust and loyalty. When customers can trust your brand, they'll continue to boost your business through repeat purchases and share their experiences with other consumers.
But it's important to note that your brand messaging can evolve. And in some instances revisiting your brand's mission, tagline, and even the elements that make your company unique from your competitors is necessary to keep your brand from going stale.
In fact, at WSI, we've gone through the process of tweaking our brand messaging to make it more purposeful and indicative of the needs of our clients today and into the future. We’ve seen how transformative it can be when discussing our "why" (unlocking a world of possibility for those we serve) and purpose with our prospective clients and how it has bolstered our entire WSI network.
Whatever your brand identity may be, embracing a clear purpose and crafting compelling messaging not only strengthens your connection with your target audience but also enriches your internal culture. This powerful combination enables you to build marketing campaigns that truly resonate with your audience, surpassing the impact of generic approaches and fostering an authentic and enduring relationship with your customers.
How To Develop a Clearly Defined Brand, Purpose, and Messaging
Every brand - especially similar brands competing in the same industry - must stand for something uniquely purposeful to stand out. Here's how we help brands create their identities and how you can get started yourself.
Understand Your Target Audience
The first step to defining your brand messaging is understanding your target audience. Even if you know your target audience, researching and understanding them will help you develop your business goals, values, and marketing campaigns based on your consumer's interests. People who relate to a brand are more likely to purchase from it.
This is where persona development comes in, something we have discussed in our blog before. If you need a refresher on what personas are and how to create them for your company, I highly recommend our Persona Ebook and Template resource.
Define a Purpose for Your Brand
Your brand's purpose (or sometimes what is referred to as your mission statement) is the fundamental reason that fuels your every action and drives your entire organization. It is the deep-rooted why behind everything you do, extending beyond mere products or services. Having a well-defined purpose allows you to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace. It helps you stand out by communicating a unique story, connecting on a deeper level with your target audience.
The reality is that the deep-seated core or even the soul of a great brand lives in its people and lives in its purpose, and using our own WSI brand as an example, the very essence of our brand lives in every strategy we've developed, every service we've delivered and every client we've helped grow.
Our purpose/mission statement is: Unlocking a world of possibility for those we serve. You'll notice it doesn't mention the services we provide (digital marketing). Our services (SEO, websites, social, content, reporting, etc.) are "what" we do and what we use to help us realize our mission as a company, but at our core, WSI is about helping others, and we believe every company and individual has untapped potential just waiting to be unleashed, and it's our job to help them find it.
Choose a Tone and Voice for Your Brand
A brand's tone of voice refers to the unique personality, style, and manner in which a business communicates with its audience. It encompasses the language, vocabulary, and overall expression used in written and verbal communication across various marketing channels and touchpoints.
Your brand's tone and voice can be whatever you want it to be. You can go with a more professional style, friendly, casual, or anything in between. Depending on your brand, one tone or voice may be a better fit than others. Whatever tone and voice you choose, you'll want to stick with it and remain consistent throughout your marketing and promotion endeavors.
For example, WSI's tone of voice is a blend of professionalism and personalization. It employs a conversational style that addresses the reader directly and strives to show empathy and be friendly to create a sincere and approachable connection with our audience. Our tone of voice aims to establish a trustworthy and relatable relationship with our prospects and clients.
Create Your Key Brand Messages
Having well-crafted brand messages is integral to establishing a strong brand identity. These can include your tagline/slogan, mission/vision statement, unique value proposition (or what some in the EOS world refer to as brand uniques), core values, social responsibility statements, and more.
The key is to use clear language that is easy for your customers to understand. Too often, brands are being ignored because they are not communicating clearly or they’re using convoluted language that doesn’t make sense—the bottom line is—“if you confuse, you lose.”
These messages communicate how you want your brand to be perceived and shape how people relate to and think about it. Consider your brand's personality and tone of voice, ensuring the messages align with your brand identity. Solid and compelling brand messages are the foundation for effective communication, setting your brand apart and forging meaningful connections with your audience.
Once you have your brand messages defined, put them all together into one document to help your employees and sales teams understand the purpose behind your brand messages and how they should use them in everyday customer interactions. Starbucks calls this their "Green Apron Book," At WSI, we call this our Brand Belief Book, which you can see pictured below.
Integrate Your Brand Messaging Across All Your Communications Channels
Once you have defined your brand's identity, purpose, and messaging, you will want to ensure you integrate your key brand messages across all your communication channels. This means ensuring consistency in your messaging across various touchpoints, including your website content, social media platforms, advertising campaigns, and customer interactions. Maintaining a unified brand voice and messaging creates a seamless and coherent brand experience for your audience.
Things To Keep in Mind for Maintaining a Clearly Defined Brand
Once you've defined your brand, managing it is the next step. Here are a few tips to help you keep a clear brand and be successful:
- Educate and train your employees on your brand's values, purpose, and messaging guidelines
- Listen to your employees and your customers and take their feedback into consideration—remember, it's their brand too!
- Be adaptable to market changes so your brand stays relevant, but do so with purpose and intention
- Try to resist the temptation to chase short-term trends that may not align with your brand identity
- Pay attention to how your customers perceive your brand and make adjustments where necessary
- Monitor and protect your brand from inconsistent representation
Common Pitfalls That Can Occur During a Brand Update
Sometimes pitfalls can happen when you're going through a brand update. Some are minor, while others could harm your company's success. Knowing the common pitfalls can help you avoid them and have a more successful brand update. It's common for companies to experience these pitfalls:
- Not Being Clear and Consistent: A brand that’s not cohesive in its message and purpose is a big turn-off for customers who prefer consistency in the brands they trust.
- Losing Sight of a Core Identity: Sometimes, when the going gets tough, brands abandon what they stand for since it can be an easier path. But the longest-lasting brands endure by doing right by customers and sticking to a core identity - a North Star.
- Updating Your Brand at an Inappropriate Time: “Reading the room” is an important step when updating a brand. For example, avoid rebranding during troubling times, and wait until a calmer period emerges.
- Underestimating the Resources Needed: Updating or changing a brand is a big and complex job. Make sure you’ve outlined the process and have the time, resources, budget, and all relevant stakeholders aligned before starting the project.
Tips for Ensuring a Successful Brand Strategy Update
Updating your brand strategy is exciting, but it can be a complex process with room for error. To ensure that you're successful when updating your brand strategy, here are a few essential tips:
- Conduct Market Analysis: Before you begin your update, you need to do a thorough market analysis to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This will allow you to develop the best brand update possible for your business.
- Make Your Objectives Clear: Outlining clear goals, like attracting a new audience or improving your brand reputation, will help you stay focused.
- Stay Consistent: No matter what you're updating within your brand, it's essential to stay consistent with your brand's mission and values so you don't lose loyal customers or lose focus on why you started the company in the first place.
- Address the Update: You'll want to ensure everyone at the company (employees, stakeholders, etc.) and customers know about the updates. Transparency helps to build and maintain trust.
- Monitor the Effectiveness: Monitor your progress and see if it's working and if any more changes need to be made. You want to continue with a tactic only if things are working.
Curious to learn more about branding? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand what a brand encompasses.
When should a business review and update its brand?
There is no set period for a business to review and update its brand. When this should happen is dependent on various circumstances, some of which include: if you are undergoing business growth or expansion, if you have changed your target audience, if you have gone through a merger or acquisition, if market trends and consumer preferences have changed, or if you are undergoing negative reputation challenges. If you encounter any of these, you may want to look at redefining your brand messaging.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a concise and clear declaration that defines a company or organization's purpose and overarching mission. It serves as a guiding statement that communicates the reason for the company's existence beyond financial objectives. A well-crafted mission statement highlights the positive impact the company aims to make in the world. Here are a few examples:
- IKEA: To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them
- Disney: To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling.
- Warby Parker: To inspire and impact the world with vision, purpose, and style.
What is a tagline?
A tagline is a short and memorable phrase or slogan that encapsulates the essence of a brand and its unique value proposition. It often appears alongside the brand logo and is used consistently across various marketing materials, advertising campaigns, and brand communications. Some of the most famous taglines are: Nike's "Just Do It," Apple's "Think Different," McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It," and Disneyland's "The Happiest Place on Earth."
What is a core value?
A core value represents a fundamental belief or principle that guides and shapes a brand or organization's culture, decision-making, and behavior. Core values drive how a brand interacts with its employees, customers, and all stakeholders. Some people refer to core values as the internal compass of a company since they drive a brand's actions and shape its reputation.
The global market presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges for businesses, making the importance of a well-defined brand even more crucial. At WSI, we firmly believe that being a purpose-driven brand is the key to unlocking immense value for your customers and society as a whole. By embracing a clear sense of purpose and embodying it in every aspect of your brand, you create meaningful connections and propel yourself to push boundaries and redefine what is possible within your industry. Our mission, "unlocking a world of possibility for those we serve," reflects our commitment to this transformative approach. So, as you navigate the digital landscape, remember that a purpose-driven brand can shape the future, inspire innovation, and create lasting impact.
If you want to understand more about the importance of having a strong brand in the age of AI and digital transformation or need help tweaking your brand marketing campaigns, reach out to us today - we’d love to work with you!