The value of branding: Part 2

25-09-2018

In Part 1 of our journey into your subconscious, we explored the birth of branding. In Part 2, it's time to think about what makes a brand good – and what makes a good brand great.

Good brands are everywhere, at any given time; just look around and you'll see them. Comfortingly present. Just a part of life. Certain brands are just your go-to; they're everyone's go-to. And that's because they're safe, never let you down, fit your needs – right?

In reality, in any given category there are hundreds of product lookalikes that are more similar than they are different. The really great brand is the one you reach for no matter your budget, your actual needs or experts' bad reviews. You trust it, it aligns with how you think, it's a natural fit. And somehow, no matter what, you'll make sure that this brand is the one that will always end up in your hand.

Though we might not truly know why we buy the brands we do, you can trust that the best brands know; after all, they're the ones that make us do it. What you sell is concrete – you can show the public something tangible; but proving and showing why you do something is much more complicated. And it's this that sets apart the good from the great.

If a brand is able to communicate the rationale and the heart behind why they do something, people respond more. We all want a motivation, a reason. We want to believe in something – and we want to feel like we're supporting that each time we put our hands in our pockets. If a brand represents what people envision for themselves, what they identify with, it's easier to trust. And the best brands are not only smart enough to know that, but wise enough to make that purpose their north star.

We are drawn to leaders and organisations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us. – Simon Sinek

We all want to believe that we make most of our purchasing decisions based on logic and reason, but most of the time, it's just great marketing. It's why we trust Apple to make a computer but also a phone, mp3 player, watch and TV system – and if they were to make a car, we'd probably trust them with that too. It's why Elon Musk can create the Tesla car and SpaceX and whatever else he can think of – and we will trust him to do it well. It's why you believe in Nike's ability to create great products, whatever those products might be. All of these brands and so many more have managed to communicate their purpose well in their messaging.

It’s not about pop culture, it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. We just want to make great products. – Steve Jobs

Great brands are the ones that earn our trust. And that's not an easy thing to build with millions of people around the world, but it's possible for any brand. It's just a case of tapping into the 'why'– why the company started, why it's continuing, why you're working there. Once you know that, you're half way there.

Orla Carroll is an Account Manager at McCannBlue.