Live from Congility: Branding isn’t Bollocks

Branding isn’t Bollocks, by Mike Atherton

Congility2014What’s the message behind the messaging?
The people who buy the products aren’t always the people who use the products

  • Makes marketing and UX a mess
  • Products get so complex that consultants get brought in so that users don’t have to use products
  • Need begets new need – competitors come along
  • Add features, they are empowering
  • We end up with users saying “Now I can’t do the ONE SIMPLE THING I bought this for!”

How long does it take for a product to get 50mill users?

  • Radio – 38
  • TV – 13 years
  • Facebook – 4 years
  • YouTube – 6 months
  • Angry Birds Space – 50 days

So products are getting features added faster and faster

  • Sometimes this happens when users aren’t sure what the product is supposed to do
  • People don’t buy features. They buy empowered versions of themselves.
  • The products that stay true to themselves stay simple.

The first law of branding: focus

  • If a company focuses their product around a few small things, they are more likely to be remembered
  • What do we care about, and how can we reach out to the people who care about these same things?

You can’t do this in a silo

  • Brands live in the minds of our customers
  • Our brand isn’t what we say it is – it’s what they say it is
  • We can’t create a brand in a boardroom
  • We create a brand by connecting to our users
  • People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

A mission is compelling to everyone

  • Compelling to the people who work there – they feel a sense of purpose
  • Compelling to customers – they buy why you do it
  • Create a brand story – tell the tale of your past, present, and future
  • Work backwards from what you do to what your core purpose is by asking “why” over and over again
  • Core values: the qualities we care most deeply about (goes hand in hand with core purpose)
  • Our values are not who we aspire to be. They are a reflection of who we are.

Having a personality isn’t enough

  • Can’t have the same personality as everyone else
  • Be true to yourself
  • Be honest, authentic, talkable, appropriate
  • Will users recognize your voice as your own, if they see it out of context?

Branding and “personality” is great, but not until the basic needs are met

  • Must have core functionality
  • Must have usability
  • Only then do people care about personality

Choose words carefully – move from personality to positioning

  • Marketing doesn’t run the brand
  • Marketing is only part of the brand
  • Retain the meaning behind the meaning
  • Do fewer things better

If you are better than you look, fix your brand. If you want to look better than you are, fix your company.

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