When you think of your brand, it’s too easy to think of it in terms of who you are or what you do. Maybe you’re the manufacturer of stylish athletic shoes. Or you’re the maker of very user-friendly digital devices.
This is how the majority of brands end up defining themselves. Then when they want to tell us about their brand, they do it by detailing functions and features. This makes sense to them. They’ve been thinking hard about who they are or what they do. And they want to tell us about the conclusions that they have arrived at.
So why do we care so little about what they have to say?
Because it has nothing to do with us. It’s all about them talking about themselves. It’s an inward focus.
The real magic is when the inward focus turns outward.
Let’s go back to that manufacturer of stylish athletic shoes and the maker of those user-friendly digital devices.
When Nike chose to express its brand, it told us to Just Do It. Its message wasn’t about who they were or what they did. Instead, it focused on helping us discover the athlete in each of us. Just Do It recognized that there is potential in each of us to discover what we’re capable of. Most of all, Nike showed us that the brand wasn’t about the company. It was about us. And our aspirations.
Apple did something similar. They told us to Think Different. It was a message founded in the belief that we are capable of finding the innovator in each of us. Think Different challenged us to envision an elevated version of ourselves. Like Nike, the Apple brand wasn’t about the brand. It was all about the people that the brand hoped to serve.
Helping us imagine a better version of ourselves
These brands stand apart because they don’t assault us with who they are or what they do. Instead, they help us imagine what we can become. They help us see that better version of ourselves.
As each of us thinks about the brand, we should take a cue from what Nike and Apple have shown us. That to be irresistible, we don’t have to invent something magical about ourselves. We simply need to understand the irresistible aspirations of those we hope to serve. And then serve them.
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 www.dansalva.com.