2020 has changed us all. We have had our perspectives changed, our lifestyles changed and our eyes opened to underlying issues and the things that matter most. the biggest thing I think most of us are taking away from it all is empathy and the importance and power of people. When everything is a mess and things are going wrong, what matters is people. When we learn the struggles of others and how we may have unconsciously been part of the problem or been blinded to what is really going on, them we turn to trying to listen more and care more about people.
So what has this got to do with branding your business? Everything!
Branding is about how your business makes people feel, it’s about how you connect with your audience and customers and about the impact your business has on others.
So as we go into 2021 and beyond, we should be directing our branding more towards how we can serve and care. People are more in-tune with their emotions, mindset and intuition and are looking for brands that will give them something more meaningful.
A pretty brand selling quick fixes and having meaningless messages will come across as just noise. While something new, pretty and exciting can gain initial attention, a long term sustainable business needs a deeper connection with the audience it serves.
It’s like a friendship. A friend who just likes to have fun with us but doesn’t care about how we feel, and isn’t there for us during difficult times isn’t going to become a long term friend we have a deep relationship with.
A strong brand identity should be like a strong friendship with your audience. You listen to them, care about them, celebrate them, offer what they are needing, make them feel welcome and included, help them feel the feelings and desires they crave and help them overcome difficulties.
So how do you apply this to your branding?
People want to feel heard, seen and included. People ignore design that ignores people. If your brand simply looks pretty and is all about you, it isn’t going to attract an audience or grow a community around your brand.
Empathic branding is about listening to the needs of your audience, considering who they are and making sure your brand is accessible, clear and inclusive. It means deeply understanding where your audience is at and what their struggles are and designing a brand that isn’t confusing, over their heads, or assumes they can figure things out themselves. It is also careful of cultural appropriation and doing its best to treat everyone equally.
people want to feel seen and heard and their struggles, hopes and goals recognised. Meet people where they are at. Meet people exactly where they are, speak to them at their level.
Show kindness and be generous.
Of course, this can take time and you will refine and get better at it as you go.
Strong Clear Values and Ethics-
What really draws people to brands today are the values and ethics that brand upholds. We are looking for brands who have the same values and ethics as us. 2020 has woken a lot of people up to the things that matter most to them and they are becoming more conscious careful consumers. When you make your brand values the cornerstone of your branding and allow it to direct every aspect of how you brand and run your business you will attract a strong community.
Consider what you stand for, what you will and won’t do and what really matters to you.
Branding Founded in Strategy-
Your brand can’t just be visually appealing or trendy. Every part of your brand needs to be founded in strategy. There has to be a reason behind why you choose the fonts, colours, style and voice you use in your brand. There is a strategy to choosing the right brand visuals and how you build your brand identity.
With more and more people doing the same things you do, the way you differentiate your brand and find your people and really connect with them, is by using a strategic branding process. You need to know your goals and the message you are trying to get across and who you are wanting to attract, as well as the why of the business.
Realness that you can Connect with-
When you run an online business, people aren’t getting to connect with you face to face. especially as we have been going through a time when many have to work from home and aren’t able to network the traditional way, we are craving realness, authenticity and connection. your brand needs to feel real and authentic, not manufactured, fake or trying to be something it isn’t. Of course you still want to show up as your best self and be professional when you need to, but you can also show your personality and behind the scenes. You don’t need to be perfect all the time. Share your struggles, share parts of your life, chat with your audience.
Timeless Classic Branding-
Following fast trends and constantly changing your branding, confuses and exhausts your audience. In times of uncertainty, People want reassurance, consistency and timelessness. They want brands that feel trustworthy and have longevity. More classic branding will feel reassuring. People would also rather investing in something with longevity rather than a short lived flashy trend.
A Focus on Internal Emotional Needs-
When it comes to your customers needs, they have external needs and internal needs. The external needs are often what we think of first when offering our products and services.
External needs are things like- they need to make more money, they need to lose weight, they need to get some new clothes, they need to decorate their house or they need a new mug.
These are very surface level, and if we only focus our brand on those external needs, we won’t make a deeper emotional connection with our customers.
Instead we need to look at the internal need and the emotions linked to that need.
For example the need for new clothes. Why do they need new clothes? Because they are getting older and they feel there old clothes don’t suit them as well any more, and they want to look good for their age and find a style that makes them look nice. What are the emotions attached to that? Want to feel good about themselves, fear of looking fuddy duddy and old, sadness about ageing and not being young and being able to wear daring outfits anymore.
Once you get to those internal needs and root emotions, you can then direct your branding to help them with those emotional needs. Such as then making your branding feel light, joyful and beautiful, so they can feel confident that buying your clothing will make them feel uplifted and good and they won’t have to be scared of looking old and boring.
This helps customers buy from the heart. It makes interacting with your brand more meaningful to them.
Want to create a more meaningful deeper brand?
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