Iconic: a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.
We live in the digital era. No longer is the only way to connect to the masses through securing ad space on television, radio or other expensive and competitive channels.
With TV and radio advertising, you had the captive audience to yourself, you could stand out amongst your competitors leading them where you wanted, with a big budget investment. Then came the Internet.
Now, we have thousands of products and services screaming at us, like seagulls vying for the last chip. The noise is deafening, and your audience (clients, customers) have become savvy about how they consume this information being downloaded 24/7 across the globe.
Your audience today has evolved into sophisticated media consumers. It has access to not only your marketing messages but also to what the rest of the world is saying about you – customers can now track every move of yours if they look hard enough.
They are looking for authenticity, for you and your team behind the brand. They are looking to see if what you say stands up to what you do. They are looking to be the characters in your brand’s story myths.
In short, they have radar now to see whether your values match your brand story message. When they see congruence and you syncing with their values, deepest desires, dreams and fears then you rise up from the noise into iconic status.
“The symbolic importance of an iconic brand’s identity enables it to leverage its recognition far beyond that of other brands.” – Millard Brown
Case study of ‘Apple – Think Different’
Consider Apple’s brand story. I’m an Apple user to the core (pun intended). I have travelled the world with my trusted Apple MacBook, following my entrepreneurial dreams believing I have everything I need within my silver machine to create, prepare and launch the biggest company of my dreams. I am the innovative, unstoppable empowered dreamer creating a freedom in my life while changing the world.
Apple’s brand story speaks directly to my values and deepest desires – empowerment, innovation and freedom. It shows me this in the advertising, values and in its stories.
I’ve never even considered a Dell or a Sony. I look at PC users and wonder how they create anything. That’s a powerful brand story in my consumer psyche!
How to create a consistent brand story
So how does Apple do this? How does your favourite cafe draw you back, time after time, when you could go to five others within a two-minute walk? Why have I worn Nike sneakers without even looking at the competitors for over a decade? (Because I like to ‘Just do it!’)
“According to the WPP, Iconic brands have higher top-of-mind consumer awareness than other brands (58 per cent for iconic brands vs 26 per cent for non-iconic brands).” – Susan Gunelius
This is because their brand stories, their marketing messages and what they communicate is consistent across multiple channels.
Here are five steps you can take to get clear on your brand story and begin positioning yourself as the authentic leader in your market, aligned with the values that your tribe immediately connect with:
1. Know your Customer Avatar intimately: Know thy tribe. By this I mean throw away the ‘ideal’ customer cheat sheet and get to know the real people who are your customers. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the two most important things in their lives?
- What keeps them awake at night?
- What are their top two values in life at this particular life period?
- What’s their biggest vision in life?
- What are their two biggest pain points in life right now?
- How does your product or service directly solve or improve these pain points?
Also Read: Change the digital marketing rules in 2016
2. Myth-making: Write half a page on your brand story. Write this as though your brand was a person, a friend. Then make your customer the hero of your story, take them on the journey of your brand and how it changes their life.
Use imagery here, create a branding Pinterest board if you’re a visual person. Tell your customers how your brand resolves and supports them in reaching their highest vision.
3. Research where your tribe hangs out online and offline: This is where you’ll meet them, speak with them and connect them with your brand story. Make a list of where they are hanging out, which Facebook groups they are a part of, who are the leaders and influencers in their worlds. Keep adding to this list as you become more intimately aware of your customer tribe.
4. Choose the mediums that best tell your brand story: Create shareable rituals, then reduce the badge so your tribe carries it on. This is where you get strategic in your marketing.
If your tribe hangs out on Instagram, then utilise video and imagery that tells your brand story. If you are looking to build your list then create promotions to draw them in as the heroes into your brand myth. Leverage great platforms like Heyo for competitions.
5. Brand management through frequency and consistency: Continue being visible. Stay in the conversations your tribe is having, online and offline. How can you stay connected? Create a weekly podcast show. Host an ask me anything on Twitter, develop a Youtube series, write articles for Elephant Journal or Huffington Post.
Create a Facebook photo album with images of quotes and pictures that tell your brand story and get your followers to tag their friends. Brainstorm the ideas that best spark the imagination and inspire your audience. Then keep doing it.
Follow this up by creating monthly marketing goals and breaking them down into weekly and daily actions. Then allocate these tasks to yourself or your team, and make sure each scheduled action is non-negotiable.
Being iconic means being true to yourself, your vision and your values then communicating that to your audience in your brand story myths. We have an opportunity in this digital era to tell our stories and be heard, with minimal resources and a whole lot of heart.
The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co
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