Constructing worthwhile Brand narratives – it’s all in the story, stupid!

“Branding is inherently simple. It implies the construction of identity.
Yet, an identity that matters is hard to construct and even harder to maintain.”

Brand power, do you believe in it? I sure do! There is definitely a case to be made when arguing that, nowadays, in our hyper-visual culture, the brand and its story are more important than ever.

The theory and practice of branding has undergone massive shifts and radical transformations in the wake of disruptive technology adoption and the ceaseless rise of customer-centric paradigms provoked by the ascension of everything digital.

Branding has obviously evolved to mean more than mere advertising. In this article I’ll discuss its evolution and the essentiality of emotion.

The power of the Brand: pursuing market capitalization

Branding should encompass an all-inclusive, unified promotional strategy.

Some companies,” Jesper Kunde, who authored A Unique Moment, explains, “tend to equate branding with the company’s marketing. Design a new marketing campaign and, voilà, you’re on course. They are wrong.

Branding seems inherently simple. It implies the construction of identity. However, an identity that matters is hard to construct and even harder to maintain. Yet, the potential financial rewards implied by a sustainable brand presence are impossible to ignore.

The case: the prevalence of the brand in digital times

Digital leads to market disruption. In times of market chaos, it seems consumers look for signposts. What is a brand if not a… signpost? The dynamism of our current predicament demand such signposts.

In Funky Business, Swedish business professors Nordström and Ridderstråle write that we live in a Surplus Society. A society which, “has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, working in similar jobs, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality.”

Pouring oil on this ardent fire, Danish marketing phenomenon Jesper Kunde argues that, “Companies have defined so much ‘best practice’ that they are now more or less identical.” Hence, the desperate need to distinguish oneself.

Following on, he claims that, “Most companies in the old, product-oriented economy waste far too many of their resources on product development, management systems, and logistics (…) compared to what the company could achieve by investing in the strength of the brand and its positioning in the market.”

Emotion rules: your product is less important than your story

Before thinking about anything. Think about what you want? What do you want to tell the world in the future? What does your company have that will enrich the world? You must be self-confident, assured and believe in ‘it’ strongly enough to become unique.

Rolf Jensen, head of the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, elaborates, “We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion.”

Thus, companies will need to understand that the product is inherently less important than its story. Scott Bedbury, who played a lead role in the branding of both Nike and Starbucks, comments, “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told. A brand is a metaphorical story that can connect with something very deep – a fundamental appreciation of mythology.”

Behind great branding is an even greater story. Herein Mr. Kunde sees a practical problem, “Most executives have no idea how to add value to a market in the metaphysical world. But that is what the world will cry out for in the future. There is no lack of ‘physical’ products to choose between.”

Real branding can’t be faked!

REAL branding is personal. REAL branding is integrity. REAL branding is consistency & freshness. REAL branding can’t be faked. REAL branding is a systemic, 24/7, all-departments, all-hands affair. REAL branding is the answer to; who are we? Who cares? Why do we matter? What is our dramatic difference?

I’m flabbergasted by all of this. I’m impressed. I’m turned on. Branding. I believe in it. Sincerely. Truly. I believe in it not only for myself. I believe in it for you. Branding equals distinction. There is nothing more to it than that. 

Thanks a bunch for reading. Tune in for more. That’s it from me, Maxime Van der Aa at World of Digits signing off.

  • Branding is all about building your company’s identity
  • Your product is less important than your story
  • We live in a Surplus Society – distinguishing yourself is paramount
  • Behind great companies are even greater stories
  • Real branding can’t be faked

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