Stand for Something

by Brad VanAuken, BrandForward, Inc.

Brands that stand for something connect with customers on an emotional level.

    Does your brand scream status?
    Does it value generosity?
    Is it elegant and refined?
    Does it care about the environment?
    Is it a rugged brand?
    Does it support family values?
    Does it love the outdoors?
    Does it cater to children?
    Is it open minded and progressive?
    Is it a brand for achievers?
    Does it believe in survival of the fittest?
    Does it scream creativity?
    Is it non-conventional?
    Is it rebellious?
    Is it fun loving?
    Is it naughty?
    Or is it nice?

People connect emotionally with brands that stand for things that are important to them. They become loyal to those brands and they become advocates for those brands. They also often use those brands as a way to say, “This is what I stand for.” That is, people use brands to express themselves.

Organizations that work with their customers to further common values become almost like trusted friends to those customers.

We work with brands to help them identify their values and their personalities and their character and their archetypes. For instance, a brand whose archetype is Healer heals or attempts to heal or restore others to full health. A brand whose archetype is Achiever is driven by accomplishment, while one whose archetype is Guide is driven by helping others navigate through obstacles to particular destinations. Archetypes identify the underlying motivations of the organization.

It is well worth the time and effort to determine what your organization stands for, what it values, how it behaves and what motivates it to behave in those ways. Then it is important to systematically reinforce and communicate those values inside and outside of the organization.

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