We encounter hundreds of brands every day, both online and offline. Yet branding as a discipline is much misunderstood, and often confused with visual identity.
To me, a brand is:
- What the brand looks like (the visual identity)
- What the brand says (the copy, words, and tone it uses)
- How the brand acts (the actions it takes and the philosophy behind them)
But how can an organisational or personal brand build empathetic connections with their audiences?
Brands that really want to connect with customers on a deep and meaningful level will have to identify common ground and areas of similarity and synergy with these customers.
Jean-Claude identifies seven areas where brands could try to do this:
- Shared Values (Peace, equality, liberty…)
- Shared Roots (Religion, ethnicity, language, culture, citizenship, education, profession, geography…)
- Shared Fights (Politics, environment, wildlife…)
- Shared Interests and benefits (Wealth, power, information, notoriety…)
- Shared Lifestyle (Fashion, housing, restaurants, vacations…)
- Shared hobbies (Sports, arts, music, travel…)
- Shared Preferences (Food, drinks, cars, clothing…)
What’s particularly interesting is that these seven areas can be equally be applied to public relations and blogging – they are essentially types of communities that are more likely to form, whether around a blog, product, brand or service.
There’s also some relevance with personal branding. How can you use the seven doors to enhance your personal brand connections and professional network?
Jean-Claude’s full paper is well worth a read as it has some good examples of the seven doors at work. It’s at www.brandchannel.com/papers_review.asp?sp_id=1290.