BRANDING SERIES: GIVING YOUR BRAND MEANING – INTRODUCTION
After bringing international-standard branding to Yangon for the past five years, we decided it was time to apply our skills internally. As part of an extensive brand refresh for MultiVerse Advertising, we’ve been hard at work developing a new look that represents our brand story and where we’re at as an agency.
As part of the process, we decided to share why branding is important for all companies along with some of the biggest trends we’re helping develop in the industry. Throughout the next three weeks, we’ll post blogs on a few of our branding insights, all leading up to the debut of our new look and a behind the scenes film detailing our brand refresh process.
WHY YOUR BRAND NEEDS A STORY
This is part one of a MultiVerse special series on branding, ahead of our own brand refresh out in the upcoming weeks.
Humans have told stories for centuries, it’s how we connect with others. Our earliest memories can be centered on stories told to us in childhood. We share stories of travels, successes, and struggles with our friends and family. The art forms that define us, from film and music to painting and comics, all tell stories.
Because of the overwhelming universality of stories, brands can harness them. They hold the potential to create a fiercely loyal following that buys into your brand’s ethos, and wants to be part of the story themselves.
But it isn’t easy. Unlike traditional marketing, brand stories focus as much on the emotional and intangible aspects that cause consumers to be loyal to a brand, as the factual. Brand stories must balance facts and utility with cultural descriptors.
For our own brand refresh, we focused on how to communicate our agency’s perspective on the advertising and marketing industry. MultiVerse is named after a popular theory in physics by the same name. The theory describes an infinite number of parallel universes that exist in addition to our own, with endless possible realities in each.
Here are some companies with great brand stories, and how they developed them. They’ll help you think of your own brand’s story, and where you can draw inspiration from.
Origin: High Brew Coffee
Some brand stories emerge from a company’s origin, like High Brew Coffee. High Brew’s founders conceptualized their on-the-go caffeine fix while sailing through the caribbean. They needed a drink that would give them the energy, but that was chilled and portable.
This story of adventure, high quality, and portability plays through across their packaging, tone of voice, and social media presence where the company reposts photos of customers out on their own adventures with High Brew in hand.
A corporate mission, like Amazon’s to be “Earth’s most customer centric company” can also become a brand story. The company is known weaving this ethos into every aspect of their business, from actual customer relations to their consumer hardware – their chief offering is Echo, a virtual assistant.
Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman once said that, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.” This belief behind the power of sport has made Nike one of the biggest brands in the world. Unlike many of it’s competitors though, Nike does not promise it’s products will guarantee you beat your competition. Instead, Nike helps athletes beat themselves and “Just Do It.” Nike’s brand story is all about the results you will achieve from using their product.
Your brand story can also come from a philanthropic perspective. Launched in 2006, TOMS quickly achieved cult status with their “Buy One, Give One” pledge to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. By providing consumers an easy (and fashionable) way to give back, they created a brand story that people wanted to be a part of and share with others.
The company has since expanded to offer bags, sunglasses, and other apparel items with sales benefitting those in need all around the world.
When Sir Richard Branson and Nik Powell formed a record shop in London, they named it Virgin because of the fact that they had no entrepreneurial experience. The Virgin Group is now a $25 billion organization with ventures that have ranged from airlines to movie theatres, and film production to vodka.
Their brand story is all about a personality of disruption and bringing a fresh outsider’s perspective to business. Virgin enters markets and industries the company has little or no experience in, because that’s what makes them special and trustworthy. People now follow the Virgin brand, because they know they’ll bring unique offerings to the market.
Now that you have a few examples of companies and their own uniquely successful brand stories, we hope you can start thinking about your own. It’s an important tool in modern marketing, but one whose success is rooted in a human truth.