The fourth ingredient: A form of self-expression
I have, I wonder if you have. Have you ever thought a brand was created for you, especially for you, and if not for you the way you are, well then for you the way you want to be. Brands inspire us, they make us work, they make us eat/wear/drive/use them. You get the point. We are motivated to want to become a part of their story.
The brand becomes a form of self-expression for the consumer who buys it. The consumers are carriers of associations the brand is projecting. Thus, you willingly become the protagonist of the brand story you like.
Why do we do that? Why do we react to a certain brand, whereas some brands leave us indifferent? Well, some make us hate them, for the same reason some make us love them. Brands become personal, they provoke a deeper response in us. Strong brands communicate our self-image, either realistic or aspirational.
When we love them, we become the protagonists of their story. When we hate them, we become their antagonists.
It’s been a while since a brand got my attention to the point that I became its protagonist, well since Apple that is. Yet, the figures do show, that I am not a rare entity, that there are whole armies of people just like me, who are Apple’s eager protagonists. Naturally, if you have armies of eager protagonists, you will have armies of its adamant antagonists, which proves your brand is doing a good job.
Brands unearth this potential in us, they inspire us, and they touch that untouchable that is hidden from the eye that is there for an amazing book, movie, show, song and play to unearth. Great communication does that. I wonder if Apple would have influenced me if it weren’t for the “Think different” ad. I am not alone in this, I know.
Let’s refer back to the brands we have defined, such as Stina and Froddo. I know that when people drink our Stina, they are telling the world about their love for the art, self-expression, islands, stories about islands or unusual wines from the new world. Consumers, hopefully, want to become the protagonists of this tale, to become a part of the artistic island and to want to express themselves through the label.
When you buy a pair of shoes from Froddo, you as a parent are saying that you want your child to have a free, muddy and scraped knees kind of childhood, to be fully free and happy. Froddo invites kids to leave their mark on the sneakers, and much broader than that, to leave a mark in life by doing something they are good at.
Without great and inspiring associations, brands can’t motivate the consumers to be carriers of their associations. Great brands invite consumers to be a part of that story, so they can say things about themselves through the brand they love.