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Storytelling – Making Your Brand Promise

When you complete your brand strategy exploration, you will have absolute clarity on what your brand promise needs to be. You will know – without a doubt – how to position your business for competitive advantage. But then what? What do you do with this invaluable information? Well, you have to start making your brand promise, of course. You need to get the word out about your product or service. You have to find a way to get in front of prospective clients or customers. You have to make that brand promise directly to them and in a way that the rest of your market can witness and verify. How you do it will depend on your budget and the nature of that market.

Marketing communication has more channels that ever before. Online or offline, your choices as a marketer are more plentiful than ever. Almost everyone can turn to online advertising, of one kind or another, just because it’s relatively easy, inexpensive and fruitful. But, before you launch that pay-per-click campaign, remember that you have a brand promise to make in addition to your advertising message.

Your advertising messages will change over time as you add products and services or respond to your market as it evolves and changes with the times. You will have topical messages that you’ll want your customers to know about. But you need to dress these messages with visual cues that will make your brand promise.

Imagine a hotel has a bar/disco, called Skybar, in their penthouse. They want to entice hotel guests to go up there and spend more money. So they put the message (at left) on table tents in the rooms, lobby and restaurant as well as on posters in the elevator. That’s all you really need to do to get your advertising message out there. Put the words on a medium of some sort. Then put the medium where your target market is likely to run into it. But the words, alone, though they may communicate the who, what, where and when of the event, will not convey what kind of experience is to be had there. You could spell it out, relate what kind of place it is, what kind of music is played, who goes there, etc. etc. But that would take a whole paragraph describe and we all know no one will read that much.

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To convey the experience, the marketer must speak a visual language. Note how when you add visual messaging (semiotics) to the text, a whole world of addition, meaningful, information comes across. First of all, you learn that Skybar is an upscale establishment. People dress up to go there. If you show up in Crocs, shorts and a t-shirt, you’re going to feel out of place. This comes across in how the women are dressed but also in the background, in the creatively lit photography, in the typographic choices and in the color palette. The way the women are dressed also tells you what to expect in the kind of music you’ll hear there, likely to be danceable R&B, modern pop, hip-hop or a mix. One thing is for sure. This is no country western bar. Notice too that the ad depicts two women, not one. They are both shown as powerful and confident. This tells you that women can feel safe here. They can enjoy themselves without worrying ab out the scene getting rowdy or out of hand. It’s upscale and respectable. That’s the brand promise the hotel wants to get across.

It’s an easy thing to do, of course, to use a bar to demonstrate the difference between advertising messaging and brand messaging. But it’s important to remember that every business has both kinds of messaging to consider. Even a “boring” B2B manufacturer has a brand promise to keep. The visual language used in the manufacturer’s messaging will tell its market whether to expect superior service, innovation, quick delivery, sturdy construction or any other type of brand promise.

You make your brand promise through your marketing communication. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to do so, whatever media you use, online or off.

Best Branding Reads – Week of February 10, 2020

Ranked: The Most Valuable Nation Brands
Once again, Brand Finance keeps score, brought to you via Visual Capitalist.

Trust: The Brand Opportunity Of Our Times
Trust is on the wane worldwide. Prove your brand as trustworthy and watch it grow in strength and value.

Paramount Lessons from Successful Rebrands
Every business needs its brand refreshed or even replaced sometimes. These are good best practices to keep in mind.

The Future Belongs To Brands That Connect Ideas
Amazing how we’re still learning from Steve Jobs.

New Logo and Identity for Multiply
A way to make stodgy, old financial services approachable while still building trust.

Logo fix or logo flex? Marketers should be more playful.
Great article from the great Mark Ritson.

Re-Branding Your Company: How Steven Tyler Taught Us to Be Bold
This blog post is about nine years old but it’s a quick read and the message is more true today than ever.

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Best Branding Reads
Week of June 1, 2020

Empathy Emerges As The New Marketing
You don’t have to read this article. The important, true insight is in the headline.

The Power of Data Visualization in Finding Insights
Humans get more understanding from seeing pictures than from reading numbers.

Brands Without Meaning Are No Longer Essential
So true! What does your brand mean to your market?

1,200 Post-It Notes to Fix a Broken Brand Culture
Using the rose-bud-thorn game to define and shape a culture.

2020 Logo Trend Report
Don’t let your new logo fall into one of these clichés.

New Logo and Identity for Popeyes
I order Popeye’s every week just to admire their packaging. Mmm.

The Local Versus Global Marketing Debate
It’s a tie. Sort of. It depends. Still, this is the best article on this subject I’ve ever read. Or is it?