This is Your Brain on Branding

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What’s in a brand?
A brand is not a logo. A brand’s positioning is not its tagline. Apple’s brand is not the apple. Coca-Cola’s brand is not the bottle or the color red or the classic script font.

Fact is, branding is an elusive concept. It’s whatever your audience says and thinks and feels it is. That’s your brand.

 

Want to create a brand? Tell a story.
There’s a cerebral connection between branding and storytelling. There’s a reason for this. Contrary to client belief, branding is not about the product. Branding is not about the features; it’s not about the benefits; and it’s certainly not about the USPs. Branding is about the connections that are made in the brain—from commercial to cortex. To create a brand, tell a story—because stories plant seeds that grow in the minds and hearts of your audience.

What makes a thumb-stopping story?
A thumb stopper is what every creative strives to deliver. When you get your audience to actually slow their scroll—and stop on your post. That’s a thumb stopper. Below you’ll find three examples of brand stories that aren’t (gasp!) about the product, but I think they are thumb stoppers. Take a look and let’s analyze the strategy and intended brand positioning for each.

#1. GE’s Brand Story


What’s the Story?
A young girl tells us a tale about what her mom does at work, hearing her childish tone instantly takes us to a place emotionally. She is our tour guide through a magical world. The journey concludes in her bedroom, where the best stories are told—where imaginations run wilder.

Strategically Speaking:
Few things go together like GE and innovation, except for childhood and imagination. That’s why the strategy is to see the complex world of GE through the innocent eyes of a child.

Brand Positioning:
Innovation—influenced by imagination.

#2  Chobani’s Brand Story

What’s the Story?
Beginning with the words, “Thank you,” we hear the voice of a swimmer share her testimony. The first frame reveals to us that she has one leg. Next we learn she’s a veteran and an Olympian. In the end, she proves that turning the negative into a positive is an act of will.

Strategically Speaking:
This is a celebrity-endorsement-meets-documentary-slice-of-life. The strategy here is to portray what happens when you choose to focus on the good stuff…you develop a great outlook on life.

Brand Positioning:
When you fuel up on goodness, it keeps you going—no matter what.

#3. Android’s Brand Story

What’s the Story?
You know Rock, Paper, Scissors. Well, this is the story of how they came to be a trio. It begins with Paper getting bullied at school by other Paper. Next, we see Scissors. We’re quick to assume that Scissors always cuts Paper, but in this story, Scissors save. Then we see a Rock fight breakout. That’s when Paper comes to Rock’s rescue. In the end, the three live happily ever after as unlikely friends.

Strategically Speaking:
The strategy is an animated creation myth that primarily sends an anti-bullying message and secondarily portrays (very loosely) key brand attributes of Android.

Brand Positioning:
There’s strength in our differences.

The End.

Wait. Before you go, what did you notice about these stories?
I’ll tell you what you didn’t notice. You didn’t see a single greek yogurt, a jet engine, or a technological device. Yet your brain (and maybe your heart) just made new connections with these brands and their products were never shown. That’s the power of storytelling in the context of branding.

Mobile Privacy: The New Brand Builder?

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Our smartphones are basically a limb. Just how attached are we? About 46% of smartphone users say their device is something they couldn’t live without.

We love our devices deeply. Mobile phones also provide incredible opportunity (and risk) for advertisers. It’s important for content marketers to understand that the way they use mobile data can either build up, or break down, their brand relationships.

Here are three ways to build your brand with privacy matters in mind.

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[Infographic] Stuff Content Marketers Should Know for Smart SEOing

Legendary mad men Bill Bernbach revolutionized the ad industry in the 1940s. How? By devising art-copy teams. Today, we need to arrange a different type of marketing marriage. Now, more than ever, content writers and SEO specialists should be best buds. So, what’s the problem?

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4 Marketing Trends You’ll See in 2016

The Future

It’s December. Otherwise known as Potluck Season. Yep, it’s the only perk you miss out on when you telecommute. Well, that, and the weekly smell of burnt popcorn wafting from the breakroom microwave. Consider this post my potluck approach to predicting trends in 2016. What do you think will be a crowd favorite? Let’s dig in.
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[Infographic] Why Brand Storytelling is Old School

“After a few days at the desk, telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat.” - Anne Lemont.jpg

True stories make your brand. They make it more relatable, more accessible, and best of all, stories make your brand different. Different is good.

Why do marketers tell stories?
There’s no other way to distinguish your brand. Everything else can be replicated or clickbaited or 3D printed. Traditional advertising is blocked, ignored, and DVRd into oblivion. But stories? They stand the test of time. So it should come as no surprise that brand storytelling is all the rage these days. But I think it’s rather old school. Here’s why. Continue reading

3 Rules for Hiring Content Marketing Copywriters Like a Boss

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They say rules are meant to be broken.
Well, “they” never hired anyone.

The hiring process is no joke. I know this because I spent the last three weeks scanning and sorting and Google-doc-organizing dozens of resumes. I have been clicking and scrolling and clicking and scrolling through digital portfolios. But mostly what I have been doing is crying on the inside.

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[Infographic] 5 Trends Driving Digital Media

Thanks to social media and the www it’s never been easier for marketers to reach an audience. Take a look at this infographic and dive in to five digital media trends that are shaping consumer behavior. Why check out this infographic? Because data like this is what makes now an incredible time to be a marketer.

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