friend or enemy

We filter information based on how we categorize the sender: friend or enemy.

Even when provide with the most objective argumentation from our worst enemy, we will always question every piece of it trying to prove them wrong.

On the other hand, when your best friend gives you the most obscure explanation on a topic, you have the tendency to accept it way easier.

The main difference? Trust. And a brand needs to behave in a way that inspires that trust and establishes a relatable and consistently-so persona.

focus on your brand, not a product

When I was looking at articles around brand all over the internet, I couldn’t find many that didn’t confuse branding and advertising. In this article, Susan Gunelius calls out these 4 principles that I truly believe in and explain the difference between brand and products, or between brand strategy and product advertising:

  • companies make products, people make brands.
  • products can be copied, brands are unique.
  • products can become obsolete but brands can be timeless.
  • products are instantly meaningful but brands become meaningful over time.

So when you look at your benefits, do not mix the benefits of your product and the benefits of your brand. They should be aligned and coherent with each other, but as many brands have several products, the brand benefits should always be a super set of benefits that can be applied to all products within a brand portfolio while product benefits should be easy to link to 2 or 3 brand benefits to be true expressions of that brand.

people have 3 brains controlling their decisions

Even if cultures, languages and society make rules different from one country to the other, there is one thing we all have in common: we are human beings made of flesh and blood. Even if our brains are wired differently, we all have brains, and most of our decisions are taken unconsciously.

As our brains have evolved over the millennia, it has developed 3 main layers:

  • the most ancient one: the reptilian brain assuring our survival and managing a lot of our self-protecting reflexes. It is the most advanced layer since it will be the one taking over all of our body when our life is in danger (from the smallest cut or burn to the most life-threatening situations).
  • the limbic brain is the one playing with our emotions.
  • the neo-cortex is our rational mind.

Even if we prefer to believe that we are objective people, our emotions and survival instincts are preconditioning the way our brains are wired and, thereby, most of our decisions.

6 layers to a brand strategy

A brand strategy needs to contain 6 different sorts of elements:

  1. a consistent core essence that defines what it stands for at its center, and to which individuals can relate to during every interaction.
  2. a few key differentiators that when put together make that brand truly unique.
  3. three to five items that your audience can concretely benefit from.
  4. behavior attributes that people can identify with when interacting with a brand, as if it was another person.
  5. a story that will engage an audience emotionally by transporting them through a narrative they feel part of.
  6. sensorial elements that activate as many senses as possible to deepen the connection through different levels of connection.