What Truly Differentiates The Most Loved Brands From The Rest

Love Bear

Love is a four letter word that keeps a lot of pre-teens up at night. It’s a four letter word that is filled with emotion, power and vulnerability. Love opens up the floodgates to happiness but also opens the door to sadness and heartbreak. In business, love is something that is rarely discussed but it’s a key part of the equation when it comes to branding and building trust with customers.

I want you to take a second to think about love. Really. Stop right now and just think about it. Think about what it means to you. What it represents and what role it plays in your life. Now, if you’re like most people this exercise is something you aren’t going to do. So for that reason, I’m going to suggest you stop once more. Right now. Stop. 

Now think about love.

Ok good. 

Your thoughts might have taken you to a place filled with hearts, red and maybe even chocolate. You may have thought about your kids, your partner, an ex, your parents or maybe even your pet. No matter what you thought about, those thoughts are what love means to you. But how can a brand get its identity thrown in the mix? How can a brand capitalize on this emotion to become a part of the “love” section of your brain? It’s not easy. But it’s not impossible.

In a recent report from LEAP, they surveyed thousands of people to create a list of some of the most loved brands in America. Here’s the results:

iPhone, Lexus, Disney, Apple, Audi, Cadillac, Google…

What do each of these brands have in common? Beyond huge budgets, they have differentiated themselves through three key factors. (1) A compelling story, (2) a commitment to staying relevant and (3) an awesome product.

Each of these organizations have a brands that goes beyond the value of their actual product. Of course, each of these brands deliver an awesome product and that’s a core piece of the marketing puzzle. Before you can start building a great brand, you must have a great product. I don’t know how many times people looked at social media or marketing to save their product. Marketing isn’t a doctor who can offer you all the medication to fix your problems. People will only love your brand if first, you ensure the product you’re offering meets their expectations.

An example of a brand forgetting this element of finding customer love was when Coca-Cola launched The New Coke formula. The masses who loved and adored Coke for years turned their back on the brand because their product was no longer awesome. It was new and it was bad. Creating a the first step to creating a brand that is loved. Once you have that, it’s time to establish relevance and tell a compelling story.

Each of these brands have a deep, rich and compelling story that differentiates itself from competition. These brands are loved because they have taken the time to establish brand leadership. Brand leadership is the combination of relevance, storytelling and a quality product. If you’re committed to these things it’s easier for you to build a brand that people love and adore. It’s through this commitment that people will spend a premium on your product and that will lead you to having a clear differentiation from other products.

Let’s look at Google as an example of one of these loved brands and deconstruct how they established love through relevance, storytelling and quality. First, let’s look at their approach to ensuring they have brand relevance 365 days a year.

Commit To Telling a Compelling Story

Storytelling has been a part of our lives from the time we’re kids. I can remember as a kid, sitting on the back of my parents bed as they would read to me the story of a cat wearing a hat or eggs that were green. It’s these memories that stick with us in the form of stories that we pass down to next generations and share with each other around the dinner table. Stories are what connect each and every one of us. Our ability to share moments through words is what allows us to find common ground, common interest and ultimately establish a connection.

Brands who understand this, understand the importance of storytelling. In the video above, Google does an excellent job in crafting a story that is both compelling and rich. The message is obvious as they connect a heart touching narrative with a product that most of us use on a weekly basis. Whether it’s to get from the grocery store to a meeting or from your home to a friends; showing their products capacity beyond the norm is a great way to demonstrate a deeper purpose and value to their brand.

Building a brand that people love is directly related to our ability to tell a consistent brand story through both text and visuals. In marketing, compelling storytelling is the combination of the art and science of communications and technology that resonates with our market. Google has done this with the advertisement above but also with ads like Dear Sophie. It’s this commitment to telling a compelling story that allows their audience to see them as more than a search engine company and ultimately place them among the most loved brands in the world.

Stay Relevant With Quality & New Content

Google-Relevance-BrandWebsites

Brand relevance is all about keeping your brand current and a part of the conversation amongst your target audience and throughout your industry. Brand relevance is becoming more and more difficult for brands today as they are competing with messages from businesses in different industries and brands that have established reached brand maturity. Thus, it’s increasingly important to have make a conscious effort to develop new content that will allow your brand to stay top of mind and relevant.

Brands like Disney stay relevant through their actual product. When a movie comes out, the characters and the story told within the movie allow for the Disney brand to stay relevant amongst parents and children. Every movie they produce allows them to stay relevant and ultimately build a deeper connection with their audience that drives a sense of love.

This scenario is what also allows automotive brands to stay relevant. The launch of a new brand or the latest version of one of their flagship vehicles allows them to have an ongoing voice in the public. People wait anxiously to see what they’ll launch next and scour the web looking at mockups and prototypes of dream cars. It’s this anticipation that allows brands like Audi, Lexus and Cadillac to stay relevant.

But what about a brand that doesn’t have a product that changes on the regular? How can they stay relevant? Well, an example of a brand that does this well is Google. Day after day, the Google search engine improves but from the users perspective, the experience is pretty much the same. Sure, they’ll add in a new doodle once in a while but that’s far from the adjustments that Disney and Lexus make to their products. So how do they stay relevant? They do it by creating things that their audience would find useful or interesting.

Whether it’s an online art museum or a platform dedicated to sharing some of the most groundbreaking ideas, Google has a commitment to creating relevant content. And that keeps them relevant.

No matter what industry you’re in, a commitment to relevance and compelling storytelling will differentiate you from the competition. If you can link these two elements with a great product that is of high quality and real value; you’ll find people adoring your brand and in love with your product.

What do you think? Do you have any other examples of businesses who have combined these elements to create a brand people love?

(Photo Source: Flickr )

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