Send Clear Signals, Be Clearly Loved
The three-step approach that creates powerful, relevant, market-ready brands and confident brand leaders
Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to as many as 10,000 brand messages each day. In a sense, we’ve become a culture of mixed signals, caught up in a ceaseless clutter of noise and attention-grabbing that leaves little room for customers to truly connect with brands. It’s no surprise that today’s brands have to fight hard to earn their customers’ attention.
But it’s not just attention brands are after; it’s love.
At the end of the day, your ultimate goal is most likely to be your company’s long-term business performance. The best way to achieve this is to focus on truly connecting and engaging with your customers – the ones you have and the ones you want – in a way that builds trust and loyalty.
In an era when consumers are at peak information, forging a genuine bond makes all the difference in the world. But it can feel like a daunting task, especially with the ever-changing behaviors of today’s consumers.
So how do you stay relevant without having to change who you are at your core? And how do you build a brand with lasting power?
My team and I are passionate about envisioning, creating and activating brands people love. Honed over years of working with a wide range of organizations, we’ve developed an approach that empowers brands with the tools they need to own a clear, focused and differentiated position across their total brand experience – one that resonates in the mind, captures the heart and keeps target audiences engaged and coming back for more.
I’m happy to let you in on our secret!
PHASE 1: KNOW WHAT’S YOURS TO OWN
First, you have to find your sweet spot. The best brands live at the intersection of true, meaningful and different — what we call their “TMD.” They unite their people around what they truly stand for. They connect with customers on a meaningful, emotional level. And they stand out in the market by being dramatically different from competitive choices. It is at this intersection where your brand’s greatest opportunity lives. TMD is one of the most challenging things to articulate – but once you’re able to express it authentically, you’ll be able to reach a level of shared connection with your customers that sets the foundation for building the genuine trust and rare loyalty that all brands crave.
PHASE 2: GAIN POWERFUL, CLEAR DECISION FILTERS
Once you know what your brand can own, be prepared to act. The most powerful brands know exactly what they stand for – and know how to signal it in all they show, say and do across their total brand experience.
The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes words, so the signals your brand sends matter. Turn knowing into showing with the foundational set of brand cues — we call them brand signals — that will align your organization and motivate your consumers at a glance.
Your brand signals should equip you to stand out in a crowd and bring your powerful story to life. They should empower you to inspire and engage like never before. Done right, your brand signals should clear away the clutter and tell the truth about who you are. When you know what’s yours to own and how to signal what you stand for, you'll attract the audiences you want, earn loyalty like never before and achieve the business results you crave.
PHASE 3: OWN WHAT’S YOURS
Once you know what’s yours to own and how to show it, then you have to live it. Sustained brand performance requires strong brand leaders — so your brand leadership is one of our most important goals.
Here’s the truth: The world won’t love your brand unless your own people do.
Why would they?
It’s essential to excite your team around what your – their – brand stands for, and to motivate and empower them to live it out in all they say and do. If you want to inspire passion for your brand outside of your organization, you have to cultivate and maintain contagious enthusiasm for your brand within it.
Brands are nothing more than ideas until they spread their wings, fly from the nest and begin to live in the wild.
So. we consider our most important responsibilities to be guiding our clients in bringing their brand to life, empowering their people to live and love their brand, then supporting them in brand initiatives (as little or as much as they want — for as long as they need). Our clients come out of the process educated and equipped to be adept stewards of their brands, with full knowledge, complete control and a comprehensive set of tools to activate it.
As an empowered brand leader, you emerge from the process understanding what a brand truly is – and what your brand is – in a new deeper, more powerful, more actionable way. And you’ll possess a brand you’re proud of, that really reflects your organization and what you care about most in its greatest expression.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned in all these years as a brand champion: Every well-conceived product, offer or service is worthy of brand love.
The key is clearing away the clutter and discovering what’s beautifully authentic about your brand that your consumers will find meaningful, delivered in a way that only you can lead. By knowing, showing, and owning with confidence, you can build a brand that’s built to last – a brand that can live and thrive wherever you need it to – and generate the sustainable trust and loyalty we all crave.
Cheryl Farr founded SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners in 2009 to help organizations of all kinds realize their real brand power. She empowers leaders who value fresh creative thinking, purpose alignment and the strategic pursuit of excellence to be strong stewards of their brands — and their people to be passionate brand evangelists. She is a noted public speaker, former travel and lifestyle writer, branding expert, mid-century modernist, passionate traveler, kickboxer, Fluevologist and New York Giants fan. If any or all of these appeal to you, chat with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.