Delivering excellent products and services is non-negotiable if you plan to succeed in today's markets. However, your marketing strategy is the foundation of your business. Your Brand DNA, which sits at the core of your company's identity, is the thing that drives your marketing. Your identity communicates what you offer and stand for and why customers should pick you over the competition. The best companies in the world have an edge: Strong Brand DNA.
What is a brand?
Your brand is more than just a logo and a slogan; it is a promise you make to the market. While your products, services, physical assets, and intellectual property contribute to your brand, Brand DNA defines the essence of your brand and the tone of your entire business. It is the unique signature that sets your business apart from the competition.
Branding is more than just getting customers to choose you over the competition; it is about providing solutions to their problem or need. Your brand should be a problem-solver; if you want people to love your brand, you should give them a reason to.
A brand should be:
2. Emotionally connecting their audience
3. Clear and concise in its messaging
4. Committed to building long-term & loyal relationships
5. Encouraging buyers to make purchases
Why is defining your Brand DNA essential?
Having a strong brand is essential for any business. It sets you apart from your competitors and ensures everyone in your organisation understands and lives up to your values and expectations. If a brand is defined correctly, managed, and communicated, it will impact people, and this is where defining your brand DNA becomes crucial. By giving thought to and determining what your company is about, you can provide key stakeholders and existing and potential customers with an authentic sense of your purpose.
So how to define your Brand DNA?
Defining your brand DNA will take time and investment, but the payoff is worth it. You'll have clarity and feel passionate and excited to drive things forward once you know the unique elements that makeup what your business represents. To achieve this, you must dig into your company's core and drown out the noise to get there.
Here are five essential questions to help you discover and refine your Brand DNA.
1. What is your story?
What inspired you to launch your business? What is your background? Who is part of your team, and why?
Stories are the most powerful tool to increase the strength and depth of your connections. Every business has a unique narrative; your responsibility is to make it as engaging as possible. An intriguing story builds stronger emotional relationships, creating a buzz in the market and fostering customer and staff commitment. Many successful companies — like Apple and Airbnb — utilise storytelling to make their customers feel connected and involved.
Apple has created a powerful image of elegance and simplicity, enabling them to stand out in tech, embodied in the brand's distinct logo, packaging, software, and hardware design. This unique sense of identity has helped Apple become a successful and recognisable brand.
Apple couples design with phenomenal brand storytelling, creating a unique sense of identity. It meticulously intertwines a narrative on the experience its products offer versus showcasing the greatness of the product. Steve Jobs said, "People don't want to buy a personal computer. They want to know what it will do for them". And what a person believes your product enables them to do or become builds that deep human connection.
2. What is your mission?
What is your role in the world? What ambitions do you have for the future? How are you helping your customers?
No matter the size of the industry you are in, everybody has a place in the grand scheme of things. Crafting a mission statement is hugely beneficial in helping you discover your purpose and determine your aims. It's essential to consider your past, aspirations, and objectives. Once you comprehend your mission, defining your brand based on your desired outcomes will be much easier.
Airbnb's mission statement is "to unlock the power of sharing space, resources, and support in times of need". Airbnb has revolutionised the travel industry, normalising an idea that would have seemed strange in the past: staying in someone else's home. They have built trust and inspired exploration through a strong brand DNA built around community feedback and travel stories.
3. What makes you unique in the market?
What drives you? What sets you apart from other businesses? Why should anyone be interested in what you have to offer?
Everyone is unique, with individual qualities that make them special. Once you have identified what makes you different from the competition, you can tell the world about it. Your brand assets, such as logos, colours, slogans, endorsements, and advertising messages, will help to communicate this story. Using these mediums to share your truths, rather than simply being present, will create a distinct narrative that makes a lasting impression on your target market.
Swedish furniture giant, Ikea, is an excellent example of how a business with a strong brand DNA can dominate the market and provide a unique shopping experience. They were the first home furnishing retailer who introduced facilities such as a restaurant, simple room sets and children's play areas. Part of this stems from being an "experiential" business which is part of their brand DNA.
4. Who are you selling to?
Who is your ideal customer? What are the places where your target audience hangs out? How would you describe your community?
While it is great to be unique, consistently applying your brand identity will help you outpace the competition. Being genuine in your values and beliefs and successfully presenting your ideas to the public is essential. Knowing and respecting your customers' preferences will help you create an evolving product that is valuable to them.
The luxury watch brand Patek Philippe has a long and rich history that is integral to its brand DNA. This brand doesn't boast or flaunt itself. Still, it has a subtle sophistication that its consumers recognise for its unparalleled quality and breakthrough technical prowess, and this sets Patek Philippe apart from its competitors. For decades, the brand's advertising motto has been "You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely hold on to it for the next generation," this underscores the value of its timepieces and creates a sense of prestige amongst the community of owners.
5. How do you want to communicate?
Do you feel like you have discovered your unique voice? What kind of personality do you want to convey? How often and where do you express yourself?
Your choice of words, pictures, and post timing are all essential for your message to be compelling. It would be best if you communicated your worth and gradually gained trust. Customers become familiar with your brand when you maintain a consistent persona across all your marketing strategies, communication mediums, and geographies.
For example, Liquid Death, the canned water company, has a clear brand voice that is bold and stands out. It can be seen in every detail, down to the choice of words on their cans. With phrases like "Murder your thirst, Kill plastic pollution and Recycle or die". These phrases stem from having a clear mission and unique value proposition.
[Related: 4 Strategies to Market Your Brand Like Liquid Death]
Your destiny is in your DNA.
The DNA of your brand is similar to human DNA in that it carries information that makes it unique. It comprises purpose, promise, positioning, and more. However, it must deliver honesty, meaning, emotion and value to be impactful.
I've spent 20+ years building successful businesses by prioritising Brand DNA. At STUDIO AZAM, we have a unique approach that delivers business growth, creates deeper connections with customers, and makes brands stand out. I love discussing brand growth, so feel free to connect with me, my email is email@example.com, or you can visit studioazam.com.