When does a new brand make sense?

That makes sense!

How you can clearly position your brand with a meaningful brand story, anchor it lively in the minds of your target group and, above all, make it sustainable for the future.

A current brand study¹ paints an alarming picture of the importance of brands and their messages: 77% of brands are superfluous from the consumer's point of view and 60% of the published content is irrelevant. Obviously, many companies have lost sight of what customers really want.

W.hat do successful brands that inspire people, have loyal customers and are sought-after employers differently? You stand for an idea and have a strong drive beyond commercial interests. Brands with a clear purpose, a higher purpose, offer high identification potential for customers and employees alike. Why is there a company? And above all, what contribution does it make to a better society? These questions are extremely important for the positioning of a company.

Big brand values, little meaning

Brand identities are typically based on performance and quality promises, attributes, tonality and a more or less interchangeable set of values. Do you also rely on innovation, quality, customer orientation, competence and trust? Then you are in good company, because around every fourth company² represents these brand values. Incidentally, these are not values ​​at all, but generic business principles. The question of why the company actually exists is not answered. "Purpose" - the corporate purpose - does not even appear in many instruments for brand management.

"People don't buy what you do - they buy why you do it."
- Simon Sinek

75% of Germans expect a clear stance from brands

Littering, climate change, food scandals - all the consequences of the pursuit of profit and the achievement mentality. The diesel scandal at VW has shown that a corporate vision such as: “Become global leader in mobility” is dangerous if it is not linked to a purpose. Above all, millennials, the generation relevant to the labor market, expect a clear, ethically motivated attitude from companies. And even more important: More than one in two (55%) believe that companies today play a more important role in building a better future than politics (source: Havasmedia). Incidentally, for the majority of B2B buyers, the purpose is an important factor when deciding on a brand. A good two thirds prefer cooperation with companies that rely on fair processes, ethical standards and sustainability along the entire supply chain (source: Adobe 2019).

Good causes good - also for your company

Companies that credibly represent a higher purpose will be rewarded. You have loyal, loyal customers who are also willing to pay a little more, are recommended more often and are therefore more economically successful. They exceed the development of the stock market by 134% (source: Havasmedia 2019). Investors have now also recognized that the purpose has a value-increasing effect on companies. In an open letter, Larry Fink, CEO of the financial investor Black Rock, urged top managers not only to run their companies on the basis of short-term financial figures, but also to pursue an overarching, socially meaningful purpose.

Does that make sense or can it go away?

The message has arrived. The marketing industry is currently experiencing a real purpose boom, and companies are increasingly committed to sustainable projects. There is actually nothing wrong with that. However, if the drive does not match the brand, the purpose becomes lip service. Companies that are committed to sustainable business practices but buy cocoa that has been harvested by children? Corporations that support initiatives against plastic but do business with disposable diapers? Customers quickly notice when companies just jump on the bandwagon and resent it. When it comes to the question of meaning, not every company has to rush to ecological or ethical aspects, but it should make a contribution to improving people's lives.

Credible and meaningful: dm and Patagonia

According to Havasmedia, dm drugstore is currently the most meaningful brand in Germany. The company's founder, Götz Werner, is an avowed anthroposophist and credibly embodies the company principle “The focus is on people”. Internally and externally, the purpose is lived with fair treatment and payment, externally with fair prices. In addition to supporting numerous sustainable projects, the product range is also constantly being adapted. Own brands are free from microplastics. With the new own brand Share, dm has developed a new product idea. For every product sold, an equivalent is donated to people in need.

Patagonia, manufacturer of outdoor clothing, is convinced: "We are in business to save our home planet". The topic of clothing does not even appear here. The brand is positioned like an environmental activist who supports local environmental organizations and also happens to be selling sustainable clothing. The company is so consistently committed to its beliefs that it inspires customers to wonder whether it is even necessary to buy a new item of clothing. And offers the opportunity to repair broken clothing. The result can also be seen economically: the profit has been rising continuously for years, but is also repeatedly invested in projects for sustainable optimization.

Sensible brand management through storytelling

Successful brands have an authentic brand story that is relevant for target groups and convey it to the outside world in a credible and consistent manner. People think in stories and love good stories. Stories arouse emotions, are remembered and are easy to tell. They give organizations meaning and thus create community. A brand story that comes from your specific purpose,

  • defines your point of view and makes you as a company unique
  • creates the framework for special brand experiences and products
  • is the starting point for new corporate visions, products and even business models
  • makes your corporate brand resistant to change and crises.

"Your ability to make a great unique product will need to be matched by your ability to tell your story."
- David Hieatt, Do Purpose

And what's your story?

How do you come up with a captivating, fascinating brand story? At least not with old brand models that you simply put the label “storytelling” on. The dramaturgy is decisive. You know this from films and dramas - it gets exciting as soon as a conflict arises. Conflicts arise when different interests or beliefs collide and a certain value is at stake. Patagonia stands for an intact environment, for justice. These values ​​are threatened by economic and exploitative interests.

From the brand story to the brand story

What does your company stand for? Why do you do what you do, what drives you? What is the value at stake? What influences are threatening it? Waste, greed, carelessness, exclusion? How do you deal with the conflict and what do you give back to society? With these questions you will come up with a compelling brand story. And what's more: They become an exciting story brand that shows a clear stance and thus becomes meaningful for people. Many companies make the mistake of telling an overly harmonious story about themselves. That is not very exciting and even less authentic, because we do not live in a perfect world. Take the chance to position yourself as a story brand. With a clear demeanor, you might offend here and there, but you won't go down with the first storm either.

Workshop

In our storytelling workshop we support you on your way to your brand story and develop individual practical exercises on your own content.

All information about the workshop

If you are interested or have any questions on the subject, please contact us: by phone on +49 (0) 611. 238 50 10 or by email to kontakt (at) diefirma.de.

Swell:
¹ https://www.havasmedia.de/mx/meaningful-brands/
² http://www.markenlexikon.com/texte/ma_kilian_markenwerte_05_2012.pdf (PDF)

About the author

Marco Fischer
Senior Strategy + Brand Consultant, Founder and Managing Director

For the passionate science fiction and science fan, fear of the future is simply a wrong path - after all, change is an irrefutable principle of nature. The question is rather, how can we use technical developments in a meaningful way for people?