Combining your brand story and brand character

Title

Jeffrey Lurie owns the Philadelphia Eagles. They won the 2018 Super Bowl for the first time after 52 years of trying. At the post-game celebrations, Mr Lurie was asked what it meant to him to achieve this. He said;

“Is there a word for… ‘everything’?”

Well….yes Jeffrey, there is. “Everything”

I think I understand what he meant though. Sometimes we want to find a better way to describe how we feel about something than our vocabulary allows. And sometimes, even a superlative doesn’t seem sufficient.

When you believe (or know) that your brand is the very best thing in its marketplace you want to convey that to potential consumers. But simply proclaiming ‘the best’ just doesn’t fully capture this superiority. And yet, what can possibly be better than ‘the best’. What more do we really want..?

Here lies one of the key differences between a product and a brand. A product has lots of rational attributes that can, indeed, make it ‘the best’ in its sector. Until someone else copies it, or improves upon it, of course.

A brand can have all those same rational qualities, but it has something more besides. It has a character, personality, values – it offers a promise that people can relate to and engage with. It attracts consumers and makes them want it.

In that context, the language that we wrap around our brands doesn’t have to push for superlatives – after all, a boastful know-all isn’t necessarily the most attractive suitor. Instead, it should seek to be distinctive.

When Fage first introduced their greek yogurt into the USA they didn’t claim it tasted better than existing competitors, or bang on about Hellenic provenance, or even highlight the pro-active health benefits of the product. They simply used the line “Ridiculously Thick Yogurt”.

Succinct, evocative, a different way to capture what makes greek yogurt appealing. And also immediately giving a sense of the playful brand character.

Finding a uniquely engaging way to present your brand promise to consumers is at the heart of what makes a strong, compelling brand strategy.

When Google talk about what lies at the heart of their brand they don’t talk about the technical complexity and sophistication of their search engine software that enables people to quickly find the website they are looking for. They talk instead about “Discovery”. It’s a single word that captures so much, and also presents the brand as forward-thinking, exciting and inquisitive.

So the words we choose can (often should) focus on the more emotive qualities that people find deeply engaging. Desire is a powerful emotion – one that we find hard to resist and that can become addictive. Making a brand desirable elevates it above rational attributes into much more enduring and valuable territory.

So instead of trying to be ‘everything’, make sure you are ‘something’ – something that is different, and interesting and that people want to have as part of their lives. Something distinctive.

Now you just need to put that into words.

Words by Chris Blythe