If you aren’t emotional about your brand, how do you expect your current and potential clients to be? To differentiate your brand from your competitors it should bring out an emotional response such as trust, humor, expertise or achievement. These emotions associate positive experiences with your firm. That emotional tie builds loyalty and inspires your clients to tell their friends about you and your firm and your services. In addition to your clients, it encourages your colleagues to refer potential clients to you as well, because this same brand instills confidence and a sense of morality that your peers respect and admire.
To make your brand memorable, connect to the hearts and minds of your target audience. Provide clients with emotional benefits by appealing to their sense of recognition or belonging. Tap into emotions such as joy or even fear. Give them the facts, but don’t forget the feelings.
No question, there are good reasons why the public has such a dismal view of our politicians in Congress today. They can be dysfunctional, lack credibility, constantly bicker and stubbornly hold on to extreme positions. (Especially, in my opinion all of those who participated in this last election!) But these same politicians have mastered the use of words (and technology) that describes their positions (and who they are) in a way that brand marketers can appreciate.
In a recent magazine article that I read, an article provided excellent examples of the pithy expressions coined by Republicans, especially compared to the Democrats. These tend to be short, simple and chocked full of emotional innuendoes – ideal traits for memorable brand names, slogans and taglines that marketers should aspire to with their communications. For example, Obama struggled to explain the circumstances under which doctors might discuss end-of-life provisions of Medicare patients. Meanwhile Sarah Palin undermined this, blithely claiming these were “Death Panels” and leveraging the unfounded implications to scare away voters
When arguing about abortion, Republicans favor a more evocative term, “life”, while Democrats refer to an abstract word, “choice”. Under George W. Bush, we had the “Patriot” act, but Democrats created a mouthful to describe their new health act, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. No wonder the “Clean Air Act” remains the law of the land, whereas the “American Clean Energy and Security Act” of 2009 (the cap-and-trade bill) crashed to defeat.
The differences should be clear. Great brands use succinct expressions loaded with powerful emotional connotations. Words should describe something that can be visualized easily, even to the point where one can draw a picture of it. Similarly smart branding starts with understanding the pain points and dreams of the customer, and ends with terminology and communications that consistently respond to these emotional needs.
The other practice used effectively by Republicans is sticking to a core, simplistic message repeatedly, until people are almost sick of hearing it again. And that’s about when it starts to sink in. This is also a worthwhile lesson for building brand equity. The core brand positioning must be reinforced constantly using the same basic value proposition and all relevant touch points available.
People tend to vote with their hearts, even though some of these Republican promises are misguided and often create a perception that they are “weasels”. Great brands also must appeal to the hearts of their clients, yet also be credible and prepared to deliver on their promises to be successful in the long run.
I always say, be approachable, get personal (not too personal J), let your clients and potential clients get to know you, let them see you – the real you. Why? Because people do business with people and people hire people. And HELLO, must I remind you? – You are running a business! You want them to hire you! Speak to them as though you are having a conversation one on one in everything thing that you do, every message you send out – this is your BRAND!