The quick answer is you start with a company like Distility.
The Most Common Challenge in Branding
Over the last few years, I’ve found one of the most common challenges small businesses face is differentiating themselves from the competition. Many companies find it difficult to spend the time required to really work on their own business and identify all the key traits that make their brand unique. This lack of differentiation often stems from an inability to unify exactly what their brand promise is across all consumer touch points.
This indifference often manifests itself in advertising campaigns. During these campaigns, the message doesn’t exactly match the consumer experience. Good messages are simple stories that accurately reflect the consumer experience. Great campaigns evoke an emotion that is proven by the experience and are additive from one campaign to the next, or one platform to the next. Ultimately, creating an emotional connection can only be achieved by brands who know exactly who they really are and are courageous enough to say it.
Successful Brands are Emotional
Zig Ziglar has said that “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” So for brands to be successful it stands to reason that they need to strike an emotional chord with their customers.
The next time you see a logo from Apple, Nike, Corona, Harley Davidson, Lululemon or Starbucks do you “feel” anything? Just by looking at their logos I get an emotional reaction, each logo feels like something to me. Apple = Innovative, Nike = Inspiring, Corona = Relaxing, HD = Tough.
But how can that be? It’s just a symbol afterall. These companies have build a reputation behind the logo that makes their symbol mean so much more. Their logos represents something bigger. The closer you are to a brand, the more emotional the brand becomes. For me, Harley Davidson isn’t such a big deal, but the Apple brand occupies a large part of my heart.
On the flip side, brands devoid of emotional stock become a commodity. Without this emotional stock, a brand is relegated to defending it’s price margins because consumers don’t feel anything towards the brand. The good news is that every company can have an emotional brand and developing it, doesn’t take as long as you might think.
This is where Distility’s One day, One brand program comes into play.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Axle Davids and Margaret Sims with Distility Branding. You can chat with them on Twitter at @1day1brand
Here are some highlights
The concept of working on your brand and having it delivered in one day is a cool idea. It must be a pretty powerful experience for your clients that have gone through your program?
Distility – We’ve been getting feedback from CEO’s of the companies that hire us. What we’re hearing is that there are a lot of consultants out there and many have a reputation for making their programs really slow. Some even kick off their branding programs with a workshop which creates a lot of excitement. But then the next day, nothing happens, people lose interest and the enthusiasm dies out.
Distility understands that business moves fast and that still remains true. Everything about marketing has been transformed by technology. However, the actual discipline of creating the intangibles (promise, position, strategy) there has been no innovation in this area. Distility’s program is there to help companies who want to “get this done”. It’s not that we emphasize the speed of what we do but customers really appreciate the speed. Our customers come to us and say that we know our product, our customers but want to know why they can’t know their brand. We’re a Canadian company that leads the world in this field. It’s been going well.
I realize that you’re not trying to emphasize the speed, but it must be appealing for companies who want to capture the momentum of branding exercises and then quickly build actionable plans around the experience. Can you comment on that?
Distility – I use the word disengagement. Disengagement can happen in a day and it’s a major issue not just with branding projects but in any exercise. We designed the workshops to try and eliminate disengagement. For example, every participant in the workshops get an iPad that they can suggest ideas and vote anonymously on them.
Also, we designed the program so that by the time the participants are home for dinner after the workshop, they’ve already received the results from the day. The results include a one page brand strategy document so there isn’t even a wait of a day or two. The customers can go to work the next morning and take action right away the next day.
I noticed on your Youtube video that you seem to use some gamification type strategies in your workshop. Can you tell me a little about that?
Distility – Yeah, we use that term sometimes. There definitely are some exercises which are game-like. One of our most recent innovations is with voting on the iPad. It went from a real traditional way of vote and wait to see the answers to a seeing the answers in more game-like way that has increased engagement. Ultimately, when everyone has their own iPad and a giant screen made of 3 projectors, it’s pretty hard to not have something that is more entertaining than people sitting around in a circle. Its part of a steady evolution rather than a game of branding.
What are the most common reasons for people hiring you? Are there any common mistakes?
Distility – Almost everyone that comes to us for branding is at an inflection point. Something major has changed and their current message, website or whatever it is feels off. It’s not at all optimal. The biggest mistake that we see in the small and mid size market is the lack of awareness of intangibles. Intangibles are things like a vision or a mission statement. But they don’t have actually have a collective sense of what the promise is, what their position is in the mind of a customer, the style that they want to have uniformly across customer experiences. It’s like a blind spot and your driving and your about to change lanes and suddenly you see a car in the blind spot. Suddenly they have a realization because of some new opportunity but they realize that they don’t look competitive. The other kind of customers are about 10 years old, they’re doing well, but they realize that they’ve been moderately successful despite their brand. Some of these companies are competing against their own brand. They lack a clear promise, position or personality. There’s nothing compelling about them and so their biggest competitor is their own brand. Everytime there’s a new product, someone wants to put their stamp on it and the company becomes over-branded.
What is the scope of your deliverables?
Distility – the main deliverable is the one page brand strategy which includes positioning, personality and promise. It also includes the top benefits that relate to these three items. During the day there is also a 3 projector workwall that we generate a giant PDF of which allows the team to go back and trace the ideas we’ve spent the day working on. It usually has a lot of extra marketing ideas that don’t make it to the top cut but are great for value propositioning. It’s a really big achievement to have a team of people in a room and do a lot exploration of all the possible promises and the commitment to their brand. Without the technology we use, you could do a 1/3 or a 1/2 at best. Its a defining moment for these enterprises.
As time goes on, we’ll have the technology to a point where we’ll have more time to include and embed our designers in the room to design logos, color pallets, marketing image, taglines, key concepts, fonts and those sorts of things. We’re working on education products as well. In January, we’re launching Distility Brand Quest which is an e-learning product will allow our clients to customize a program and to teach their staff about their new brand strategy, promise and positioning. Also, we’ve got a new product for some of our clients. Lets say that we’ve got a client who has 60 employees. Some customers want say 10 people at the workshop, but the other 50 at the office can participate and share their ideas on positioning, personality and strategy which is included in the workflow of the workshop. So when the 10 people show up, they’ve already got real tangible material to work off of from their office. The real long term vision for out product line is that you could unleash our tools on your Facebook or Twitter fans so that they could help you co-create your brand. It’s a long way a way, but it’s very exciting.
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