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Why the Brand Connection Matters


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Why the Brand Connection Matters," takes a look at the significance of brand identity in the age of COVID-19.  Most marketers will attest to the fact that every brand's goal is to create a connection with its community that is authentic and emotional. That rationale is seen in examples where the brand identity serves as the closer.  Although we have retreated into our private places and are opting to communicate within the safety of digital environments, we are still emotional animals.  Our selection of brands and products continue to emanate from the tactile sensory perception of how we feel about a product, service, or brand.

And in many cases, purchases between two choices of equal status will often go to the most or best-liked brand.  Consumer preferences are where brand narratives come into play and change how brands should align communications with their target markets.  Some folks prefer data and numbers, and others want to see the bottom line, price versus cost, benefits versus features, or similar comparisons.  However, in this age, it's becoming more evident that brand narrative matters above all else. 

Quote of the Day: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." - Warren Buffett

The Brand Narrative Connects

We have put forth articles delineating how important storytelling is within the marketing mix.  For the most part, most view storytelling as a tool in the sales kit, whereby a memorable storyline seals the deal.  Not to put any dispersion on using storytelling as a sales tool, because it works when executed properly.  However, there is more to the art of storytelling when it comes to creating a brand story, emphasizing any brand narrative.

People remember stories versus sales pitches.  They can sniff a sales pitch, regardless of how well it's dressed.  Brand narratives that fail to engage in storytelling are just pushing sales.  People tend to remember, identify with, and relate to each other via stories.

When people can relate to a brand through a memorable story, the odds are strong that they will remember the brand.  In a sense, brand narratives can create mindshare, which is the ultimate goal for establishing brand equity, recognition, and of course, improving ROI.

For example, Subaru is currently running an ad about dogs, and most notably about their commitment to helping sheltered dogs find homes, which has nothing to do with selling cars.  The commercial storyline begins with how Subaru helped Jack, a youngster with disabilities, find a dog, and in this instance, the dog also had a disability, having only three legs.

The ad continued to demonstrate how much Subaru invested in helping communities place dogs in good homes.  Now, that's a brand narrative that shows Subaru the brand cares about community issues and steps up to the plate to prove that the brand is committed to solving community challenges.  This commercial entitled," Subaru Loves Pets," nails a compelling brand narrative.

Creating a Trusted Community

Brands can build communities that trust over time and, the brand narrative helps to cement that trust.  When the brand narrative can evoke an emotional connection, the brand's trust and support tend to follow.  Folks will tend to believe the brand regardless of market conditions within trusted communities, including changes.

Most brands will attest that a significant amount of time involves solving complex problems and creating strategies that support the brand's endeavors.  This process applies from the largest iconic brands to start-ups and small businesses.

The brand narrative serves as the anchor that defines the brand.  In essence, it's the story of who you are, who you have been, whom you serve, how you approach what you do, and why it should matter.  Brand narratives anchor folks to the brand.

The Brand Challenge

Our current landscape is defined against the backdrop of health, economic, cultural, and political unrest.  Undoubtedly, these divisions make it increasingly challenging to manage marketing and sales messages free from blowback.  Although the current landscape poses multiple scenarios to address, it also places new opportunities on the table.

While many folks need a hug, warm, comforting sentiments, or their safety net restored, others are incredibly motivated and seek changes.  All of these people are looking for something, anything they can trust and believe.  Brands that can muster an authentic, trustworthy narrative that can attract folks, particularly Millennials and GenZs, will develop a new breed of committed brand evangelists.  The brand challenge to create soul-stirring stories provides real opportunities to attract a community that will support them through business ebbs and flows.

The Personal Emotional Connection

It is not easy to evoke an emotion for any brand during these times.  Social media is full of comments and content that a visiting stranger might find repulsive and enraging.  Add to that the political environment we are experiencing, and you will find vigorous, emotional, and at times dangerous commentary that fuels more unrest.  However, brands can view this landscape as an opportunity to appeal to emotional triggers that have positive effects, reaching into more personal aspects that can be achieved by the brand narrative.  Everyone loves a solution, especially one that can be trusted and valued above the fray.  Brands who can create a narrative that is more personal in nature will yield better results.

Personalizing the Narrative

The marketing community voted the word "personalization" marketing word of the year in 2019.  That idea has not changed. If anything, personalization has risen to even higher expectations.  The general public will likely always prefer personalized content that contains the brand narrative versus sales content.  Social Media channels allow users to connect and personally respond to each other.  Email marketing provides the ability to send email communications with a personal touch. Businesses can offer customers their unique portal to conduct business.

However, the highest-rated medium for response rates is direct mail marketing.  This medium not only provides database-driven acuity but also offers something all the other mediums cannot.  The tactile feel and sensory stimulation of a well designed direct mail piece invoke a higher sense of acceptance primarily because research affirms that mail is the most trustworthy among all mediums.

The Net-Net

As we forge ahead into uncharted waters, people crave a sense of normalcy and reality, where things are up but appear down, where false narratives fly through the air, all while people crave the truth.  The need for a trusted brand connection is real and has never been stronger.  Brands that can effectively create thoughtful, honest, and notable brand narratives will be the winners.  Those brands will come out on the other side, already forging a bond with their target communities. Further, the brands that invest in bringing their narratives via direct mail marketing, in addition to other mediums, will position themselves for success.  Thanks for reading Why the Brand Connection Matters!

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