“If you want a strong brand, you have to get the whole picture right. Just look at brands like Coolblue or Foodbag. Every piece of communication is infused with their DNA. This happens far too little today.” Those are the words of Joost Ducatteeuw, Head of Creativity at All Colors of Communication. He has been in the business for 25 year and we asked him how you get that whole picture right. In this article he shares 5 tips for strong brand communication.
1. Look through a magnifying glass
When you think about rebranding, don’t just focus on the logo, typography and colors. A rebrand goes far beyond the formal. Everything starts with the message. What’s the story of your brand? Why does it exist? What is the message the brand brings? What role does it play in society? What language does it speak? And why? All of these questions are crucial. People want to be able to identify with the brand they are buying from. You cannot reduce it to a nice logo and cool colors. Today a brand is a real entity.
Take a magnifying glass and look very closely at your brand. After all, you find the DNA in what is already there. Look at all levels for things that make you unique: the staff, the mission, the products, the social debate … Give those USPs a human translation. Claim what’s yours and dare to exaggerate. Create a caricature, but in a positive sense.
2. The chicken or the egg
Sometimes it feels too early to claim a particular USP. In that case, it’s a matter of the chicken or the egg. The power of a brand lies in its makeability. Infuse the brand and the underlying organization with the principles, norms and values that you find important. Behave the way you want to be perceived. Those who really want it can become what they want to be. Maybe your story is not that authentic in the beginning, but it certainly has potential to become so.
Think, for example, of brands or companies that are just starting up. The DNA often comes from the founder who prioritizes certain values and standards. When the company grows, the founder transfers those values to new employees who will eventually propagate the same values. In this way, the brand will operate both internally and externally according to the predetermined characteristics. A rebranding works the same the way.
3. In the name of the heart, the head and the cross
A good story touches. It triggers something, otherwise it’s just a grey mouse. Test your story on three levels:
HEART: taps into the emotional. Does it move the customer to feel something? HEAD: tap into the rational. Does it cause the customer to think? CROSS: triggers the senses. It is the X-factor of your brand. In other words: do customers perceive the brand as sexy enough and do they want to be associated with it?
Do you score on at least one of these three points? Then you are doing fine. Combining both heart, head and cross in one communication carrier is challenging. But those who manage to address all three levels of the overall communication approach are in a very strong brand position.
4. Dare to stand out
Organizations, brands and companies are springing up like mushrooms. The competition is huge, especially in this online era. Standing out is key. If you want to be relevant, you need to be captivating. The campaigns of United Colors of Benetton are the perfect example. The brand was one of the first to openly take a position and participate in the social discourse. Authenticity is for the daring.
5. Jump out of the algorithm
Brands are everywhere. Through our screens, one brand after another enters the private sphere. Yes, even while scrolling when you sit on the toilet. This way of digital communication is worth its weight in gold. But at the same time, it is also a pitfall.
Digital communication tools such as social media are based on data and AI. Various tests are carried out to see which ads are more effective. Because of this optimization, there is a risk that online ads will look more and more the same. Technological interventions have an impact on design and personality. If it goes too far, it makes brands interchangeable. AI is not authentic, emotion and connection are. Make sure you put enough counterweight in the basket.