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Take your brand from acknowledged to adored

Marketers have a tendency to set their sights on creating a brand that people notice. Now, that’s no easy task in and of itself. But it’s aiming too low. After all, we need those we hope to serve to prefer the brand. But again, even that’s not the most potent aim. We should be aspiring to have them love the brand.

Starting with this as our goal transforms everything that we do. Most notably, we shift our approach from the rational to the emotional:

  • We spend less time trying to detail why our features and functions make us preferable. While these things have a place in what we need to impart, they are too often the full focus — and how we engage ends up sounding like us talking about us.
  • We spend more time understanding and imparting how we can make a difference in their life — or even better — how we can help those we hope to serve feel like they are part of something that is making a difference for another human, or a community, or even the world (I call this the Big Audacious Meaning.)

Getting to the ‘loved’ status has many benefits. Those we serve become more loyal. As a result, we find ourselves spending less time trying to re-win their business each time and more time on how we can deepen that love, creating a virtuous circle for our brand rather than a desperate clawing to retain business.

We also create a halo around our brand. Those we serve readily tell others about this brand they love. And our reputation for being loved becomes a beacon for others who desire to feel like the dollars they spend are connected to something meaningful to them.

Becoming loved

Getting to that status of ‘loved’ takes a real dedication to not only clarifying why it is that you should be loved, but also having an unceasing passion for bringing it into your story. And telling that story to everyone the brand touches.

Here are 5 things you can do right now to begin.

  1. Clarify your Big Audacious Meaning — this is your purpose. It is defined as the profound impact you have on a life, a community, or even the world. It lies at the intersection of what you’re best at, what you’re passionate about, and the difference you could make for another. This is important to get right – because it is at the core of everything you do.
  2. Embrace your hero — understand who it is you hope to serve. Understand who she or he is. Understand how she thinks and what she does. Most importantly, understand her desires and aspirations. These are the things that you should aim to help her work towards.
  3. Get intimate with the villain — now that you understand your hero, get to know her villain. This is the thing keeping her from that desire or aspiration. Help your hero with this and you will become her sage guide.
  4. Articulate your hero’s triumph — help her understand how she will feel once you help her defeat the villain. Help her imagine that idealized state.
  5. Reveal the transformation — show her how it all connects back to the Big Audacious Meaning. Show her how she can feel like she is part of your movement to make a difference for a person or a community or even the world. This transforms her from a consumer to a collaborator in spreading something good in the world. There is no more powerful bond you can create with those you hope to serve.

Now take these elements and let them provide the framework for the stories that you tell (these are part of what I call the Thrust Story Framework.) You’ll find yourself spending less time talking at people and more time really connecting with what’s relevant and meaningful to them. And that’s how brands move beyond simply being acknowledged to becoming adored.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at on August 1, 2019.

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Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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