When we think branding we quickly jump to the visual; the logo, website, promotional materials, ads but before you start writing clever tag lines and copy or analyze different colours and font styles ask yourself one question – Who are you? The answer is your ‘pull’, your expression of truth or value, the foundation from which all those other pieces fall into place.
A compelling brand strategy sets you apart from the competition. It is one of the most important aspects of any business, large, small or solo, retail or service based. Customers and clients want to know who you are before making the decision about your products or services.
Trustworthy companies know who they are, who their intended market is and precisely how to communicate with them. The outcome is authenticity. The Fairmont Hotels – Unforgettable since 1907 – is so secure in their brand they encourage guests to share memories on Fairmont Moments.
Have you noticed while some guy is shouting about cheap bathroom cleaner, luxury brands have the quietest brand presence? Think Matthew McConaughey’s ads for Lincoln – story told, emotional connection made, loyal customer reached, then a finish with the tag line “The feeling stays with you”.
So does a company create a brand or embrace what was in front of them? Here are three businesses; for two the answer was in front of them, the third created it from a thorough understanding of who their intended market was.
A Stutterheim Raincoat is the rainy day choice of the urban hipster, Kanye West, Kate Moss and the couple walking their dog. This Swedish fashion brand was founded by Alexander Stutterheim in 2010. The brand’s vision has been ‘to create beautiful yet functional rain- and outerwear of the highest quality. Coats are handmade using the finest craftsmanship and are characterized by simplicity, functionality and timeless design.’ It is not just the quality the brand has grown on; this company markets itself around what many consider a negative, how gloomy rain can be. They embrace it right down to their tag line “Swedish melancholy at its driest.”
Here is an excerpt from a recent December newsletter –
December is finally here
For many, the most depressing month of the year
Full of high hopes and disappointment
Forgotten wishes and no holiday cards sent
Anxiety, stress and an endless list of to-do’s
Wanting to be merry, but having the blues
Wishing for snow, getting rain
Happy holidays, we hope you stay sane
INC. nominated them one of the Top 15 Companies to Watch in 2017 , Wheelys Café is a simple concept with huge potential and more importantly the name says it all. What started as a coffee cart business has grown to “…………. a juice bar, a crêperie or an ice-cream bar! The greenest, meanest mobile restaurant on the market. Wheelys 5 Open Source.” The beauty of the recent expansion is in how it stayed true to the original branding.
Copy on their website avoids hype; this company knows who they are, what they are offering and who they are marketing to.
What is not to love about Scumbag Barbers of Rotterdam, this is one of my favorite examples of accurate branding. A barber shop in the blue collar Netherlands city of Rotterdam; packed morning until night; men lined around the block, willing to wait for hours for a haircut from one of the outlaw Schorem Barbers.
The shop is a no women allowed mecca of masculinity; cigarettes, whiskey, tattoos, girly magazines, rude jokes but when a customer is in the chair the barbers are all business; classic old school barbering. “It is not just about the haircut it is about being part of something”.
- If you are finding it difficult to answer the Who are you? question for your business watch this 10 minute documentary about the Barbers of Rotterdam directed by Seth Henrikson. Guaranteed by the end you’ll realize the answer is just not that complicated.
Jill Crossland is a business and marketing consultant who can take your business and social media to the next level.