Allyn Hulteng, Principal / Marketing Strategist
What is your Brand’s Essence? How to Communicate Your Culture and Commitment
What is your brand’s essence? Many things may come to mind: your mission statement, brand promise, or even your logo or tagline. Or, it may be something intangible such as spirit or culture. Now, how do you boil it down to something that you can communicate quickly and effectively?
The truth is, it’s different for every company and brand. To be effective, you have to distill the most important elements of what makes your brand unique and communicate it in a way that is impactful but still honest to those core elements. In our practice, we start with a series of guided conversations that are just as enlightening for the client as they are for us. In other words, we all get a chance to look under the hood together. Here are a few questions we like to begin with:
Who is your ideal client? What are their key attributes?
How would you describe your business to a potential client?
How would describe your business to an insider such as your banker or attorney?
What are your long-term aspirations for your company?
And what are your short-term goals for the next 18 months?
Once you get to the core of your brand’s essence, it is an exciting and inspiring place to begin a long-term branding initiative or launch a new digital marketing campaign. In the case of a recent project we launched with Buchanan Capital, you literally begin to see it all around.
To help paint the picture, it is first important to get to know Buchanan Capital, a Billings, Montana based registered independent investment advisory firm. Through our discovery process, we observed that they are a true “team” in every sense of the word. While members speak respectfully about one another and their clients, they also clearly enjoy a warm camaraderie reminiscent of family. Engagement, at multiple levels, is a core value.
Good humor, shared storytelling and devotion [to clients, community and one another] hallmark this team. Their lively rapport quickly communicates approachability, yet they are also consummate professionals. While the firm proudly subscribes to “old fashioned” values, that does not translate to an experience that is staid or stuffy. Quite the opposite. We found that this perfect mix of traditional, professional, and approachable is their brand’s essence.
And this cocktail of culture plays out in their unique work space. It was an eye-opening moment when we realized that choices that the team had made in creating a work space was an extension of their brand’s essence.
Housed in a former bank, the exterior exudes formal tradition and experience with brick, stately columns and a bronze “Buchanan Capital LLC” sign attached to the building. But open the doors and these historic bank finishes become the backdrop for an eclectic collection of colorful art and artifacts curated by Norma Buchanan. Like a gallery, large statues, paintings and other unique memorabilia punctuate the surroundings. In one office there is even a well-coiffed mannequin. Unexpected? Yes. Yet, curiously the blend of “traditional” and “boutique” plays perfectly for this unique team of investment advisors and their brand. This is where their brand essence articulates itself and it was right in front of our eyes.
This creative space and eclectic taste became great metaphors for telling the Buchanan story. The details of columns and bright dynamic art were integrated into the website, messaging and branding. These elements are the voice of the brand’s essence that says: this is not your average financial services company.
While this experience and story was unique to this client, it demonstrates the power in uncovering your brand’s essence and learning to use it as a well of inspiration for positioning your business for success.