Whether you know it or not, you are worshipping at the altar of brand. Everyday. And so are your customers.
As our purchasing and destination choices have multiplied (and are multiplying) each year, we have become overloaded with information and pressed for time. Purchasing decisions are no longer based solely upon features and benefits. More and more they are based upon the emotional perception and intuitive connection that a person associates with a company or destination. They are based upon the power of brand, which answers such fundamental, defining questions as “Who will I be if I buy this or travel here?” and “To which culture do I belong?”
It’s human nature to want to belong. We seek definition and meaning within smaller groups or what have been called “tribes” of like-minded individuals. In many ways, today’s successful brands have evolved to become these tribes—with their goods and services serving as mini-gods to which you worship and that rule your passions and desires, while offering you the comfort, acceptance, and security of family.
Think Jeep. A brand that defined itself on the battlefields of World War II, Jeep has successfully spawned both actual and virtual tribes of off-roaders—from hard-core enthusiasts to weekend warriors—around the world.
This is a tribe to which I personally belong.
Although I’m on my third model, I have yet to use my 4×4 beyond the unploughed streets of big Alberta cities in the throes of winter. Still, would I buy another brand of 4×4? Nope. Mechanically, are there superior SUV offerings in which to transport my family or commute to work? Quite possibly…but in the reliability, joy, and rugged urban adventure lifestyle of Jeep I trust, even as I traverse the ‘burbs to my daughter’s roller derby – yes, roller derby (I’m hip!) practice. Pot holes be damned! Right or wrong, my youngest children can really only identify three types of vehicles—cars, trucks and Jeeps.
Now that’s the divine power of brand.
So, how do you entice your audience to worship at the altar of your brand?
Ask yourself: WWJD. What Would Jeep Do?
The obvious and nebulous answer is to roll with it…yet stay the course. Consider that despite its bold heritage as a battlefield workhorse, Jeep as a lifestyle remained approachable and cool enough to truly become man’s (or soccer mom and derby dad’s) best friend.
Be bold enough to get noticed, nimble enough to respond to the needs of your consumers, take strategic risks to connect with new audiences, yet never lose focus of your living, breathing, evolving brand. Then, go and spread the good news.
If your brand is authentic, you’ll be forgiven your sins should you inadvertently take a wrong turn or two. For example, in an economic and environmental climate where SUVs are considered blasphemous, Jeep has remained the most successful, high performing, and resilient of Chrysler’s brands – despite its poor ratings in quality and fuel economy.
The TAO: let your brand live and its tribe find its way…but always know exactly who you are, why you’re different, and why people want it. Do this, and you’ll become a saint in the hearts and minds of your audience—and your board of directors.
Contact us today! Amen.