By Sarah Major
If a potential client asked one of your front-line employees about the history of your brand, would they be able to use the power of storytelling to share your brand story? Would they know why the company was started and by whom? Would they know the product ingredients and why those specific ingredients were selected? Would they know why your specific manufacturing processes were selected? Would they be able to share the personal brand stories that make people lean in for more?
And most importantly, would they know your brand truths?
As often happens with successful, growing companies, brand truths and brand stories get misplaced along the way as employees come and go, and as small, local facilities become multiple, specialized facilities around the world. Unfortunately, forgetting brand truths can also mean forgetting what makes a brand truly great, those unique brand characteristics that set an extraordinary brand apart from an ordinary brand.
Companies that know their brand truths and keep them alive among all of their employees use them to discover meaningful insights and ideas. These truths create a way in for creating and positioning new products and new product bundles that deliver on consumer needs in an authentic way. They allow everyone to have a clear understanding of important product elements on the way to building authentic consumer stories and clear brand messaging.
To create brand truths, a clear understanding of a range of product elements is imperative. Here are four to consider.
- Cultural Elements: Part of every brand truth includes understanding consumer held beliefs of the category, the language used, and the visuals. Cultural semiotics can help you to better understand the conscious and unconscious codes and visuals used by the product and category. For example, in this post, we demonstrate how semiotics can be used to learn that a simple apple is far more than an apple. It’s also important to consider the established norms and permissions of the category. What are the generally agreed upon rules for using and not using the product?
- How It’s Made: Brand truths should also consider the craftsmanship of the product including both the ingredients and processes used to create the product. Consider the brand promises that these things offer to consumers, including the limits of those promises. Especially consider how product features, benefits, and experiences specifically relate to consumer needs.
- Edge Cases: It’s also important to consider the edges of what can and cannot be said about any features or benefits. Consider what you’d like to be able to say and what you can’t say (and perhaps while you’re there, think about whether innovations to allow those claims are appropriate). It’s important to understand and respect the legal boundaries for claims within with your category, particularly if you’re playing in medical, pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis (are you ready, Canadians?) categories.
- Competitive Market: While you’re rediscovering your own product truths, it’s imperative to consider the competitive landscape. Work to understand the brand truths of your competitors so that you can identify the truths that are unique to you.