Brands with a special meaning
A few brands have a special meaning for each of us. Brands we love because they relate to us. Brands that help us do what we couldn’t do before. They encourage growth and resilience by creating meaning in people’s lives. And that meaning comes from two sources: connection and progress.
Brands build a personal connection with people. The most compelling brands tell a story that resonates with the customer’s sense of identity and connects them to something greater. This is more than just preference or relevance, but an emotional connection that creates lifelong value.
As humans, we are tribal at heart. By forging bonds, we can tell the world who we are and who we want to be. Connection is always important, but it is especially important when we are looking for ways to identify and belong.
How can you begin to connect?
There are two main drivers and both are closely linked to how much people say they love a brand.
1. Be true to your audience
Know who your target audience really is. Share their values, reflect the way they live or work and help them with their ambitions.
2. Show that you care
Focus instinctively on creating value for them and always keep their interests in mind.
Brands enable people to progress. The best brands create progress based on strong products and services that solve real needs. They continuously make progress from a performance perspective. The brand must be authentic and deliver on the emotional promise in the experience it delivers.
People find meaning when they make progress in what they are doing. Whether it is solving a larger social problem or the day-to-day problems of (business) life.
How do you make people feel progress?
Again, there are two main drivers and they are related to the extent to which people say a brand helps them do things they could not do before.
1. Manage and exceed expectations
Reset your audience’s expectations of how things should work. Progress is about exceeding expectations and reconciling meaning and pleasure. It is about finding a solution to achieve the most effective result.
2. Advance their world
Solve the big problems they care about, as well as the small ones they haven’t noticed yet. Make meaningful connections with others who are in the same quest. Be the brand that people can follow.
Where do you stand now as a brand?
Brands with high stakes will win. They are the ones who create meaning for people. It lays the foundation for deeper relationships that people enter into with brands. That meaning comes from two sources: the kind that stimulates personal value (connection) and the kind that incites action (progress).
Connection without progress risks disruption and progress without connection risks failure. Combining the two is what sets powerful brands apart.
Connection and progress are already essential for brands, but they will become even more important in the coming years. The user of the future is value-driven and wants to connect with brands they believe in and do good in the world. That’s progress. But they also want highly personalised experiences that create connection. Brands need to perform on both ends to deliver a strong customer experience.