Whether we’re aware of it or not, brands are part of our daily rhythms. Digital marketing experts estimate that the average American encounters between 5,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day, meaning we’re almost constantly bombarded with brands clamoring for our dollars and devotion.
It may seem like a new brand is born every minute, thanks to DIY web publishing platforms, the rise of social media influencers and nonstop media consumption. Like never before, brands emerge rapidly but disappear into the masses just as quickly. With market disruptions left and right and choice overload for consumers, what does it truly take to build a successful brand today?
To survive and thrive, we believe brands must focus their narrative by answering two fundamental questions, or face invisibility.
What is your unique contribution to the world? What does your audience need?
Brands built in the overlap of those two questions are the eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and dramatic, entirely obsessed with understanding their audience and anticipating their needs. We call it being radically relevant. Let's unpack these two critical dimensions a bit more.
A radical approach gains attention and stands out in a crowd. It demands attention by strategically making bold decisions that result in differentiation in a crowded space. Message, tone, type, color, illustration, imagery, and experience are all ways for brands to embody a revolutionary identity. Understanding the competitive landscape and design trends is critical to presenting something truly dramatic.
This part of branding isn’t easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult because it requires leaving the safety of the familiar. It’s about getting uncomfortable for all the right reasons. While risky, consider the alternative of playing it safe: being invisible and overlooked.
A relevant brand is more attractive because it’s designed from a deep understanding of its audience. Many brands are dangerously deficient in connecting their offering to the needs of the marketplace. In fact, one study showed that 42% of business failures between 2014 and 2018 happened due to “no market need.” To make matters worse, many organizations make brand decisions based on internal politics and preferences, pleasing internal stakeholders ahead of customers.
Being relevant is about finding a message, look, and experience that’s irresistibly saturated with value. The secret to this success is an ever-evolving and rhythmic cycle of good research that in turn builds a healthy obsession with your customers. Build empathy for your customers by understanding their perspective, clarifying their pain points, knowing their fears, and feeling their needs. This isn’t about the CEO’s fears or shareholder’s needs. It’s all about the customer. Everything from products to programs should be directly shaped to create a remarkably relevant experience for them.
Blending the dimensions of radical and relevant into your brand creates a magical cocktail of limitless growth potential for any organization in any market. Often, it looks like a brand identity with a distinct yet attractive color choice, a unique yet valuable message, and a clear and relatable brand position.
Think of brands like Trader Joe’s, Glossier or Chick-fil-A. Though operating in different spaces and serving vastly disparate audiences, each of these brands embodies their customer’s worlds and cater to them with radical relevance.
Our approach to building radically relevant brands begins with an in-depth strategy. By inhabiting your world as an insider, we get to clearly understand your customers — and what it is they need from you. That kernel of fundamental truth drives every decision in creating a radically relevant visual and verbal identity. The reward for this approach is differentiation and an elevated status in the minds of your audience, making it easier for them to cut through the clutter and choose you.