During the first week of AMP Agency's Insights Lab Incubator, we asked students the thought provoking question, "What's your brand essence?" We provided the following description and prompt:
Strong brands have well-defined, easily grasped, simply obvious essences. Think of yourself as a brand. When you are interviewing for a job, what is your brand?
According to Kirk Phillips' blog BrandSTOKE, brand essence sums up how your brand connects emotionally with your customers.
Articulating how your audience (potential employer) feels about your brand in an authentic and meaningful way is often challenging but important. A brand essence is intangible. Best in Class brand examples include:
- Nike is inspirational
- Walt Disney is magical
The primary criteria for a brand essence are the following:
- Single-minded One word is ideal. Maybe two. More than two words indicates that the brand has no focus. As a brand (by design) delivers a unique experience, having no focus makes for a weak brand.
- Unique The essence of a brand is how it is different from competitors in the same category. e.g., if Apple (and its products) is friendly and approachable, then it is claiming that its competitors are not.
- Experiential The essence captures what the consumer feels during an encounter with the brand. e.g., 'Driving a Volvo makes me feel that my family is safe.'?
- Consistently delivered If the proposed essence is not consistently experienced (e.g, if a trip to Walt Disney World isn't magical), then it isn't the essence. Can your organization deliver?
- Authentic The essence must be credible or the brand will be rejected. To find out what consumers believe about your brand, ask them. It's okay for the brand essence to be aspirational, but only if your customers believe you can deliver on the promise.
Assignment: Represent yourself as your brand. If you were a brand and talking about yourself, how would you tell that story (e.g. via a video, the 'about us'? webpage, a print ad, etc.). You will present your brand essence in the next class.
Check out the students' brand essences.
Xuyan Zhao - Dynamic
For my brand essence, I choose the word 'dynamic'?. Not only does it mean I like to move around, but also means I always keep an open mind to everything happens in the world. I traveled around the world in all my spare time. No matter metropolis or town, mountain or canyon, beach or everglade, forest or cave, there is no limit for me to explore the world. I am passionate with new things. I love challenges and the processes to overcome challenges. Life is short, I want to try more new things I've never done before.
And for my deliverable, I created a Prezi to describe myself through pictures. I think those pictures are the best way to describe how dynamic I am.
Amelia Simpson = MVP
I love football. I'm notorious for skipping class to sit on my floor and watch replays of the 1979 Sugar Bowl whenever it's on ESPN Classic. So, for my brand essence I went with MVP.
Most Valuable Player is someone who hits the ground running every day and shows up with a can-do attitude. Whatever it takes to get the team a W ' I'm your girl.
For my deliverable, I played around with an ESPN NFL player profile and tweaked it to be a player profile of myself. It's rough but with some touch ups, it's the kind of thing I'd like to use as a landing page for an about me of a blog.
Lauren Haslett = Bubbly
My brand essence is: BUBBLY!
I've always been very friendly, outgoing and bubbly. My personality makes it easy for me to form good, solid relationship with both clients and co-workers alike. My bubbly-ness also gives me tons of energy that I channel into producing amazing, creative work. I'm also a great team member, and I work really well with others.
I think that people really underestimate the value of having positivity and compassion in the workplace. People are the most productive when they're happy, and I strive to brighten people's days and make them happy.
Here's a Vine I made to show off my bubbly personality! I wanted to make a Vine because everyone is busy nowadays, and this shows off my personality in less than 6 seconds!
Emma Groomes = Curious
In my house I am notorious for always being the one to ask questions and rip apart everything in search of answer so for my brand essence I chose the word 'curious.'?
Being curious can sometimes lead to everything getting crazy, but it usually leads you to some pretty amazing information and new ideas. For my deliverable, I created a Tumblr page about 'The 8 Stages of Being Curious'? which pretty accurately describes my process of discovery.
Dan Reineberg = Calculated Creativity
As a former medical student turned advertising student, I understand the research method and the science behind the psychology of design, but still consider myself more creative then analytic. It's a common perception that people are either right brained (creative) or left brained (analytic). I feel that I am able to effectively access and integrate both hemispheres of the brain in a process called divergent thinking.
For my brand essence, I chose two words that I feel sum up divergent thinking and who I am as a brand, Calculated Creativity.
I took a youtube video that describes divergent thinking, edited and shortened it to create a description of my brand essence.
Liana Franklin = Opportunity
So for my brand essence, I chose opportunity. I made a simple print ad as a metaphor for my brand (hopefully it posts I had some trouble before).
The way I see it, everything around us is something waiting to be discovered or seen in a new light. Everything is an opportunity waiting to be acted upon. When you look a little harder, it can open up new experiences, feelings, ideas, and creativity- you just have to be willing to take it.
I made a print ad, kind of playing off of the idea of rose-colored glasses. It's a blank page, but look through the glasses, and you see colors and shapes burst through the lenses.
Quinn Rodriguez = Genuine
I'm a writer- not a Photoshop wiz or a Final Cut pro (no pun intended). I could think of no better way to portray who I am than to just tell you.
My brand is genuine. At least, as genuine as a twenty something going through a reoccurring identity crisis can be. When you look at my website, it's all me. I'm sassy, pensive, and deciding for who I want to be. I admit to my mistakes and when I don't know something, I will never try to lie and pretend that I do.
Coming to college, I figured Communications would be the best fit for me. Writing, creating. Exciting! As my classmates burst with ideas and plot twists and words that would make Hemingway jealous, I realized that I was too logical for COM, but too off the wall for SMG.
I'm not going to pretend that I have a strong expertise in using Avid or Adobe CS, or that financial analysis scares me half to death. I've stopped trying to put myself into a box, and just be me. With me, what you see is what you get- I don't know how to be anything else.
Lucia Ramos = Curious
So for my brand essence, I decided to use a word cloud as my visual because there are a lot of ways to describe me.
In a word, I would say I am curious. I am constantly looking to Twitter or the news for what is going on in the world as well as in my own world here at BU.
Here is a link to the world cloud I made, the image won't post for some reason.
Annie Donnelly = Observer
What's your brand essence? Share with us in the comments box.