While brand strategy is admittedly complex, the essence of branding is simple: Strong Brands are true, meaningful, & different.
Strong Brands are built on truth. Sounds simple enough, but truth is easier promised than delivered. It is always a temptation to build a brand around something you want to be true rather than what actually is. Strong Brands are not about manipulating people with empty promises; Strong Brands mine truth and draw it to the surface.
Strong Brands capitalize on an external source of energy—like a surfer catching a wave or a sailor setting her sail to the wind—Strong Brands harness a passion that unites stakeholders around a common purpose beyond mere profit. In a word, Strong Brands are meaningful.
Strong Brands are radically different from the surrounding market. “When everyone else zigs, zag” The real competition of any brand is clutter—market clutter, message clutter, product clutter, feature clutter—there are too many data points competing for our attention. Strong Brands cut through the clutter by radically differentiating themselves and thereby owning a category in people’s minds.