If you have seen the delightful holiday movie Elf, you are familiar with the endearing qualities of child-like hope and wonder “Buddy the Elf” exudes among believers and non-believers. How endearing is your brand to your customers? What do you your customers believe and understand about your brand? Let’s use “Buddy the Elf” as an example for the four steps to brand building. This week, we’ll discuss the first two.
Step 1: Awareness and Understanding: Who is Buddy?
Buddy is a human raised by elves, therefore, does he fall into the “human” or “elf” category? Mmmm? For some, say children (most likely his primary target audience), Buddy is an elf. For others, adults, Buddy was a “chemically imbalanced” adult man who thinks and dresses like an elf running around through the streets of New York City. But let’s assume that Buddy is indeed an elf, developed and created by the North Pole to fill a need…to make toys.
If Buddy was originally trained to be a toymaker, how well did he compete against the other elves? In the movie, Buddy failed dismally to keep up with the production of Etch-a-Sketch toys against the skill and speed of the other elves in the workshop. However, if Buddy didn’t excel at toymaking, then what was his true strength? Spreading Christmas spirit, that’s what! What is your company most skilled in providing your customers? Does it fill a need? Is it a niche business catering to a specific industry? What does your brand stand for? It’s essential that your brand be built on key strengths that mirror the needs, wants, desires of your target audiences.
Step 2. Brand Associations: What is Buddy About?
Buddy asked a lot of questions because he wanted to understand what made the “human” world tick. What insights have you discovered about your target audiences that are ultimately driving your business? Have you taken the time to wrap your brain around what motivates your customers and what problem they need solving? Just like Santa’s nice list…he knows what you want for Christmas. Know what your customers need to make their lives easier.
Now that you’ve have taken the time to collect and analyze customer insights, you’re just a snowball’s throw away from establishing your company’s features and benefits based on customer needs, wants and desires. Let’s take a look at Buddy’s feature and benefit list:
Buddy’s Features and Benefits – What we know.
• We know that Buddy is a brightly dressed, unusually-tall-for-an-elf, elf. You might say he stands out in a crowd. That means he instills curiosity and excitement. Does your brand stand out in a crowd with product or service superiority? Is it intriguing enough to peak interest?
• Buddy wears the same “uniform” day in and day out. That makes him dependable and customers always know what they can expect. How consistent is your product or service, customer experience, internal processes, etc.?
• Elves love to tell convincing and captivating stories. What stories have you created about your brand that makes it believable, credible and relatable? Are they consistent and repetitive?
• Buddy loved to give compliments and make people feel good about being around him. Are your customers feeling good about your product or service? Are they telling others? Do they enjoy interacting with your business?
• Buddy says, “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.” That means he’s open and eager to serve. How often does your company go the extra mile? Do you make it easy for your customer to do business with you?
Thus far, our Buddy Brand analysis can be summarized rather concisely:
Children and adults who always believe in Christmas spirit
Adults who have lost sight of what’s important in life and don’t believe
Features and Benefits:
Feature: Stands out in a crowd
Feature: Tells stories
Benefit: Inclusive; easy to understand product or service; relatable
Benefit: Instills feel good feelings about your product or service and draws in the customer
Feature: Smiles all the time
Benefit: Goes the extra mile; easy to do business with
How easy is it for you to complete the first two steps? Next week, I’ll continue with steps three and four which speak to how consumers put steps one and two together to start forming opinions, feelings and judgments about a brand as well as how they start building a relationship with your brand.
Cheers to the start of a wonderful holiday season!