Function + Emotion + Experience = Brand

personal brand brandingAs I like to say, brand development is a messy, creative process supported by facts and data. It is where the left-brain and right-brain coalesce. And it is the alignment of the Functional, Emotional and Experiential views of the brand concept. Here’s what I mean:

Functional view: Branding is a business strategy. It influences all the levers within an organization that make it successful—operations, marketing, finance, R&D, human resources, etc. A well-defined brand at launch maximizes ROI by avoiding the starts and stops inevitable with unclear vision and focus.

Emotional view: This is the driver for the recent paradigm shift in brand development where an organization’s intangible, emotional attributes are equally as important as its tangible, bottom-line benefits.

Experiential view: This is that “first impression” you can never get back. It’s what all internal and external stakeholders think and feel when they encounter the organization. A well-executed brand is expressed through a clearly-defined architecture and common language.

During the research phase of our brand development process, these three views–similar to that of a lighthouse–drive different areas of discovery. Specifically, our process looks something like this:

Functional
*Learn from the client all the business functions (executive, operations, sales, marketing, on-site personnel, account service, etc.) within the organization and how it is structured
*Conduct discovery of industry associations, noted experts and SEO leaders, related non-profits, and companies that take up the client’s competitive space, both directly and indirectly
*Create in-depth brand profiles of the most relevant 5-10 organizations
*Research the state of the industry through credible media sources, trade associations and leading experts

Emotional
*Develop a survey for appropriate client leadership that will begin to uncover the real and idyllic tangible and intangible benefits of the company
*Analyze the in-depth brand profiles of the most relevant organizations to determine the “white space” that the client can occupy
*Review collected research from the emotional perspective of the business. What—within the client’s industry—represents and builds credibility and trust

Experiential
*Learn from the client all its internal and external stakeholders; determine how various brand approaches will resonate with those audiences
*Articulate and evaluate how each stakeholder will “use” the brand and organize the data into categories
*Begin to define the common language unique to the client that delivers its functional and emotional views to stakeholders

There is such vigor that goes through an organization when it undertakes a brand restoration. Momentum is high, conversation is focused, engagement is elevated. I have seen it. Does your organization need a shot of that? How about exploring your brand focus? We’re here if you need us.

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