Brand? Soul? Sounds like an oxymoron putting these two words in one sentence. Outside of business circles and investor boardrooms, I have witnessed through the years that “branding” can be a bad word.
For instance, a potential client asked me to help him with his brand. He said it was “amorphous” and therefore he felt like his business was “floundering”. When I asked him what he thought his brand was he winced — then blurted, “Branding is just a way companies manipulate you into buying something you don’t want.”
No wonder he was stuck. But he had a point. And it was clear to me branding has gotten a bad rap. Thanks to the masterful minds of Madison Avenue with weasel words and imagery carefully crafted to lead you somewhere you may not even know you’re going – or want to.
I know. I was one of them.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if at the very center of your brand was “soul”? What if that was the core of your business’ purpose? Your reason for being?
Eckhart Tolle defines soul as “who you are in essence”. Well, that is exactly what a brand is too. The very essence of who you are. What you stand for. Your stake in the ground. And it doesn’t have to just be the bottom line.
A beautiful example of this is Toms, the $400 million company that gives away one pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every pair it sells.
So, what they do (manufacture shoes) is not who they are. Who they are in essence is a company that improves lives. They just happen to do it through manufacturing shoes.
Let’s take another shoe company, Zappos, the billion dollar-plus online shoe retailer.
What they do (sell shoes online) is not who they are. They are a company that is dedicated to world-class customer service that “delivers happiness” to every person they sell to. Their customers are everything – and they live and breathe that every day. That is their stake in the ground. Their reason for being. The very soul of their business. They just happen to do it through selling shoes online.
So, what is your brand’s essence? Its soul?
Here are some questions to help get your brand soul juices flowing:
· Why do you exist?
· Why is that important right now?
· What shared purpose or passion do you have (or want to have) with your customers or potential customers?
· What values are they looking for from your brand?
· How can you become even more valuable to deepen the connection?
· What is an authentic, brand-relevant way to harness the power of social impact in your business?
· How can you communicate that authentically?
Let these questions steep deep inside. They are designed to squeeze the soul out of your brand. Share them with your team or key staff members to create a collective vision that will ultimately attract your ideal customers or clients.
When you approach your brand this way, and dig into its very soul, to serve not just sell, you are joining an invisible band of brands that believe business can be a force for good.
And that is good for everybody.
Want to get to the soul of your brand? Join Devi and I for a 1/2 Day Deep Dive “CREATING FROM CORE: How to Get to the Soul of Your Brand and Connect With Your Customers More Deeply Than Ever Before”