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What is a Brand Promise and Why You Need One

What is a Brand Promise and Why You Need One

There’s a lot of talk about the concept of a brand promise. But, what is it? Why does my business need one? How would it make my business stronger? How does it relate to my brand strategy? Here we explore the answers to these pressing questions.  And perhaps more important, what kind of a brand promise does your business need in today’s world to have an impact? A brand is a promised delivered. A contemporary brand promise articulates an idea that goes beyond the rational benefits that worked in the past, and extols a higher-order emotional reward. A brand promise is not a slogan or...
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How Brand Strategy Can Meaningfully Improve Product Design

How Brand Strategy Can Meaningfully Improve Product Design

We’ve noticed a product trend, especially with technology companies. Products can suffer growing pains if they are conceived, gestated, and born into the world without the guiding hand of the brand. On the flipside, brand strategy can have an enormously reassuring influence on the design of a product. In fact, our brand strategies exert positive influences on the product designs of most of our clients, in direct and indirect ways. Here’s how. Empathy Brand strategy always starts with a thorough study of target audiences, which means understanding what makes them tick. Their needs,...
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Your Business Problems Might Have a Brand Strategy Solution

Your Business Problems Might Have a Brand Strategy Solution

When you spend a lot of time working with people in the C-suite, you’re exposed to C-sized business problems. Those larger strategic issues that can’t be solved by the CEO alone, or by existing resources. When changes in your industry push you to shift business strategy, it’s a sign that your brand strategy needs to shift in a synchronized way to reposition for success. Example: We’ve surveyed C-level executives about the number one desire they have for their brand strategy. Know what they want? Differentiation. A competitive advantage. A defensible position. Differentiation is tough. When...
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Does your Business need an Updated Brand Narrative?

Does your Business need an Updated Brand Narrative?

Does your brand need a Brand Narrative? Your brand does if it faces any of these situations: Differentiation: Does your brand have a sober, unexciting, or blurry identity in an increasingly competitive and perhaps commoditized market? Are you able to cut through the clutter in ways that matter? Growth: Is it getting harder to increase market share, drive sales, and improve profit? Are new markets and products growing quickly enough? Talent: Is it getting increasingly difficult for your brand to recruit the talent you need? Is your top talent leaving? Are competitor’s hiring the talent you...
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Meaningful Brands Keep Promises

Meaningful Brands Keep Promises

Meaningful Brands are not so easy to come by Is your brand strategy working as hard as it could be? Or is it being held back by these all-too-common corporate traits: myopia, narrow-mindedness, and self-centeredness? Does your brand strategy focus only on the “what” and “how” of your offering? Does it mostly talk to senior management in the cryptic language only MBAs understand? If so, your brand isn’t hitting the right notes in today’s marketplace. Today’s most innovative and successful brands are built upon a different premise. They seek to forge meaningful connections with people, not...
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Top B2B Business Problems We are Asked to Solve

Top B2B Business Problems We are Asked to Solve

When you’re a brand strategy firm with a B2B technology focus, there’s no better place to be than the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Silicon Valley has extended everywhere the bay waters touch the shore, so our location on the Oakland waterfront puts Emotive Brand at the epicenter of the action. Living and working in the middle of this incomparable start-up mecca, we’re surrounded by some of the greatest technology companies ever built, with leading VCs and amazing entrepreneurs as friends and neighbors. For many years, we’ve used brand strategy to solve business problems. Since we...
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Getting Employees to Live Company Values

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou. The goal of employee engagement is to drive employee attitudes, behavior, morality, and ethics in such a way as to improve their productivity, morale, satisfaction, and usefulness within the organization. However, many companies have struggled with converting their proclaimed values into compelling, work-changing experiences for their employees that reach through to their brand strategy. Often, the problems have been that the values are typically expressed...
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Brand Strategy and the Value of Creative Design

Brand Strategy and the Value of Creative Design

At Emotive Brand, we are keenly aware of the symbiotic relationship between brand strategy and creative design. In the traditional model, the company leadership team aligns on a new brand strategy and design brings it to life. You know the drill: new logo, new color scheme, new typography, new website. But there’s a deeper relationship between strategy and design that yields more meaningful, more memorable results. Creative design is not an appendage of brand strategy. Fundamentally, design IS strategy and strategy IS design. At least that’s how it works at Emotive Brand. Design in...
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The “Best Places to Work” Aren’t Places at All

The “Best Places to Work” Aren’t Places at All

There’s a new trend in Silicon Valley with tech brands. Famous tech brands are building enormous headquarters designed by famous architects. They’re using the greenest, healthiest materials, the latest environmental technology, creating the most unusual, innovative workspaces, and bringing thousands of employees under one roof. What’s the goal? Some companies say to foster innovation. Others tout togetherness. Some have interior design strategies that force ad hoc employee interactions. Others describe the spontaneity that will happen in casual communal meeting places. But it turns out that...
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CSR and Purpose-Driven Brands Go Hand in Hand

CSR and Purpose-Driven Brands Go Hand in Hand

CSR and purpose go hand in hand.  We are always moved when companies make a profound effort to identify and then act on a social issue. Especially very large companies. We know how hard it can be. It’s not always obvious how to identify an issue that matters to your brand, and then do the hard work to identify the brand with solutions that matter to people. Making a CSR part of the brand’s core purpose takes commitment from the top. It takes time and it takes money. But it can have a huge pay-off when handled with authentic, sincere, and meaningful programs that are appropriate for the...
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Give People Meaningful Reasons to Innovate

Give People Meaningful Reasons to Innovate

We often come back to the Fast Company blog post by Seth Kahan, a change specialist and author of, “Getting Innovation Right”, published in 2013. Many of our clients are looking for help creating a brand strategy and developing corporate values that will help create a culture of innovation. Seth presents three practical secrets for the innovative leader. We were particularly struck by his second secret: Secret #2. Articulate the Way Forward People rely on their leaders to craft a vision of the future that makes sense and can guide their everyday decisions. Most of the leaders I...
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Meaningful Brands Are Led by Meaningful Leaders

Meaningful Brands Are Led by Meaningful Leaders

The key to meaning is empathy: the ability to step outside one’s own life and see the world from another’s perspective. In both branding and leadership, the value of this ability cannot be underestimated. Both areas depend upon engaged followers. Engagement only comes when followers see leaders connect the dots between their personal needs and desires, the goals of the business, and the greater good. Brands and leaders that are inward-focused and self-absorbed fail to connect with people who are increasingly attuned to the needs of humanity and the planet. This puts them in a precarious...
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When Your Employees Are Your Advertising Campaign

When Your Employees Are Your Advertising Campaign

I’ve been reading a number of books on branding written by people from advertising agencies. They invariably regard advertising – most often citing TV ads – as the most potent vehicle for branding. They have a case. Television is an excellent vehicle for emotional storytelling. These experts point to ads we all know (and love?) as proof of its power. From cars to sugar water to potato chips, TV advertising has driven brands to success by making even the most prosaic product features resonate with emotional importance. But what about all the (big) brands in this world that...
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Brand Persona: Know Your Audience, Know Yourself

Brand Persona: Know Your Audience, Know Yourself

Do you know your target audience? We mean, not just whom you need to reach, but what they need, want, and feel? Do you know what makes them anxious, alarmed, or scared? Do you have any idea what they think? What fires them up? What they’ve tried before and liked, or completely failed? What makes them assured, calm, trusting, or confident and bold? Hmmm. Maybe you don’t know your target audience. At least not well enough to connect on a meaningful level. We recently read an enlightening blog post from Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator, the renowned start-up incubator. In the...
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Should Your Business Embrace a Purpose-led Brand Strategy?

Should Your Business Embrace a Purpose-led Brand Strategy?

Purpose-led The notion of purpose-led  does more than make brands appealing to people – it makes money for the businesses that embrace the concept. So claims the chairman of Deloitte, an active evangelist for the “squishy business attribute” called purpose. Why invest in a woolly, emotional, and squishy idea like purpose? Won’t it be hard to get everyone in my organization and all my customers to understand and embrace it? What is it really beyond a set of words? What value does brand strategy deliver? These are the questions I often confront as a proponent of empathy, purpose, and emotion....
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