Your brand – you’ve spent years getting it to the exact place you want it to be in and now it’s there, in that perfect position in your market. Your audience can now make an informed, rational decision on your brand. Everything’s perfect.
Except, it isn’t perfect. And your audience won’t make a rational decision.
Let’s take a step back for a minute. It has become increasingly accepted that your brand is no longer simply your logo, or visual identity, but is more about the experience or environment linked to your business, product or service. Your brand can no longer be considered a vehicle through which to facilitate a desired transaction, from business to consumer. It shouldn’t even be considered the sole property of the business it is associated with.
Your brand is shaped by the relationships formed in that space in-between business and people, and importantly between people themselves. It is in this acknowledgement of brand being about relationships that we must appreciate two key points:
- no relationship remains the same – relationships always evolve
- no-one wants to be in a relationship with someone perfect
In order to have healthy relationships you need to appreciate that people will not seek to understand your brand intellectually. Decisions are very often not made intellectually but intuitively. What is important isn’t what people know about a brand, but what they feel about a brand.
Consider a personal relationship that may well be close to your heart – you and your mum. In one way your relationship with your mum will always remain the same, she is your mum and you are her child. That will never change. However, is that really your relationship, or is that simply a label?
Let’s consider the actual relationship you have with your mum over a lifetime. If we think about the relationship rather than the label we can see how our roles and expectations are constantly evolving. At birth we are totally dependent on our mum, without her we would die. As we grow into childhood we are nurtured by mum, but we are becoming less dependent. As older children / young adults we challenge mum, pushing for independence. Entering adulthood we become friends and equals with mum, still getting support and guidance but being able to share some of our own guidance. As mum ages we find that the dependency role switches, with mum becoming reliant on us and relying on our support. Throughout our life we remain mum and child, but the relationship is constantly evolving.
When considering your brand be aware that your relationship with people will evolve. Be open to changing roles and expectations.
So what about perfection? Well, how would you like to be in a relationship with someone who is perfect? Someone who never does anything wrong, is always right, always the best, infallible. Sounds pretty awful right? Of course it does because we know that no-one is perfect, we all make mistakes and bad decisions. That’s not a bad thing though, it is what makes us likeable. It’s what builds relationships as everyone is fallible, we are all prone to mistakes. ‘To err is human’.
So if you are hoping to build a relationship with people through brand then forget about trying to seem perfect. We are all fallible and prone to mistakes, but what that gives is the opportunity to show growth, improvement, self-awareness. Perfection leaves no room for improvement – it is a dead state. Forget perfection.
The Space In-Between
When considering your brand, consider it the ‘space in-between’. Your brand is the space in-between numerous contributing factors, such as your business, staff, product, visual identity, customers, detractors, the current environment.
This ‘space in-between’ must be a space of vitality, of evolution, of imperfection, if you want people to relate to the brand and the brand to remain relevant. This ‘space in-between’ is not static or stagnant, it is always in-process. It should be considered temporally rather than spacially. It will most often be appreciated and experienced intuitively not intellectually. When considering your brand – the ‘space in-between’ – it’s not rational, it’s emotional.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at Halo
The Blake Project Helps Brands In All Stages Of Development Define And Articulate What Makes Them Competitive And Valuable In The Brand Positioning Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education
FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers