What’s at your core?

As we all recover post-Australia day from a patriotism high: BBQ’s, inflatable pools, the Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown and all things ‘Aussie’ – I was left wondering about identity.

More specifically, brand identity – what makes a brand unique and special in an over-saturated marketplace?

Your brand essence is one of those terms that basically sums up how your brand connects emotionally with your customers. However, it also serves to give your employees a sense of purpose –  the ‘why are we here?’. This increases brand loyalty within the company as well as establishing a strong consumer following for your product or service.

It is often hard for companies to drill down and really draw out what it is that sits at the very core of their organisation. In an economy of ROIs, KPIs and such intense focus on the tangibles of a bottom line, it is easy to discount the value of identifying what makes your business unique.

Instead of constantly focussing on targets, we should be connecting – forming deeper connections with our consumers and our employees.
This should be the defining communications purpose of your brand.

Your brand essence comes from harnessing these connections. It is something which must be felt!

Think about your favourite brands, whether it is your new yoga mat that makes you feel  free and calm or your new car that evokes a sense of freedom or adventure  – established, strong brands have easily defined essences.

Still not sure of the power of a brand’s essence?
Let’s look at these well -known brands for example.

Volvo drivers feel like their family is in safe hands.

NIKE wearers feel inspired to Just do it/Never give up / Make it count. Anything is possible. Nike are all about athletic inclusivity.

Apple is different. These industry leaders have established a loyal customer-base and cult-like following, based around unique product design, and the appeal of ‘thinking different’.

To discover your brand’s true essence, you must first truly understand how your customers experience your brand.

7 steps to help you easily define your brand essence:

  1. Simplicity: Keep it short, focussed and to the point. Your brand essence should be easily accessible.
  2. Intangible:  Get into your customer’s head – how do they feel when using your product or service.
    Market research can assist in finding out your customer’s perception of your brand.
  3. Unique: What do you offer than your competitors don’t?
  4. Consistency: Whatever your essence, it is important that it comes through in all employees, all brand touch-points and is consistently felt by your customers.
    If not – then this is NOT your essence!
  5. Sustainability: Does your brand essence work as opportunities for your brand grows?
    It should be ingrained in your employees, workplace culture as well as your offering. This is it – your brand essence does not change!
    Think of it this way – in an ideal world, everything a brand says and does should be a confirmation of its essence.
  6. Authenticity: Your proposed essence must be credible – or it will not be accepted.
    Your essence should be meaningful to your consumers. Not connecting with consumers is the reason for many brand failures.
  7. Ambition: It’s okay to be aspirational, as long as your customers believe you can deliver on the promise – and provided you don’t leave them hanging either!

A brand’s essence is not be something tangible or something a business normally promotes explicitly to their public.
However, this exercise is important in many aspects of developing a successful brand and marketing strategy
– helping you to understand both your consumer and your business on a much deeper level.