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?
Jean-Claude Saade has an interesting paper on brandchannel.com about how brands can build deeper connections.
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.