Category: Branding Insight

Foster a Community with purpose

From our work with an exciting new coworking space downtown, and our following of the soon to be open Public Square Coffee House right around the corner from our La Mesa office, it feels like the idea of “community” is surrounding me lately. The concept is an important one, as often studies and films have show it as a measure of happiness. It’s deep rooted in our physiological needs to be a part of a community where we feel safe, valued and connected: a place where we belong.

Good brands know this. When I was studying advertising, it was a one-directional conversation. It’s been so uplifting to see the industry shift over the years to less telling, and more discussing; less what, and more why. There’s more transparency and accountability. The shift has forced companies to think about what is important to them, and why that matters to their customers. Thanks to technology advances, we can get to know our customers better, to alter our behaviors and offerings to suit them. It’s not only more cost effective than large advertising campaigns, but it’s more impactful.

We will continue to encourage our clients to foster community in their own brands, from they way their employees work with customers, to how they promote themselves. It’s a simple idea, but a strong asset for growing companies.

Own the mind, Be specific

When you set out to brand your new company, or product, what should you focus on? What should your brand stand for and who should it attract? I always advise clients to avoid being too general. What I typically hear in response is, “but I don’t want to alienate potential customers.” Especially true of new and untested concepts, there is a fear that trying to attract a specific segment, or pushing a specific product or product feature, will hurt the potential for broad success in the market.

For product offerings, we’ve seen just the opposite is true. Dollar shave club, Groupon, Google, Timbuk2, and many other current success stories started offering one thing done right, then they expanded.

It’s true of the brand and messaging as well. Offer one solid promise, to one specific segment of the market. It will preferably be a promise that isn’t offered in the current landscape, and deliver on that promise. Once you have the trust of your loyal followers, then you can broaden your approach if it makes sense.

Laura Ries wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com, where she suggests that branding starts, grows and wins in the mind of the prospect. In this article she asks, “How can we focus on one thing we can own in the mind?” The main takeaway overall of this article is “own the mind” in a category, and be first in that category. But she also offers a suggestion for when you aren’t first to launch, and are competing with others in the space. Her suggestion speaks to my point about being specific.

“Narrow your focus. BMW narrowed its focus to “driving” and became the largest-selling luxury-vehicle brand in the world. Subaru narrowed its focus to “four-wheel drive” and became the most successful automobile brand on the American market, in terms of market-share increases. Subaru even outsold Volkswagen in 2015 by 40 percent.”

By narrowing your brand’s focus, you can win in the mind of your prospects.