The strongest community brands are grounded in a strategic brand platform that clearly and succinctly defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference and benefit. Brand platforms are not necessarily meant to be emotionally compelling. They are meant to be a touchstone for all branded marketing and growth activities moving forward . . . a way to keep things on track so that your brand’s representation is not buffeted from place to place depending on the personal preferences of whoever is in charge at the moment. A strong brand strategy can stay current and relevant for decades, even as the creativity and activities that represent it change with the times.
The emotion for a brand comes from its creative manifestation including the all-important brand narrative . . . a compelling point of view that narrates your community’s beliefs and actions. Your brand narrative is essentially your brand’s story. It helps people connect with your community’s brand emotionally, making it more personal for them. The best narratives are authentic, different, idealistic, passionate and inspirational. In fact, we have had clients and council members cry when we read their narratives out loud! We also suggest that clients hang their brand narratives on the wall, place them on their websites, disseminate them to public sector partners and generally use them to guide the tone and messaging of creative work.
For a great article on brand narratives, check out http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/a-simple-way-to-rethink-your-brand-narrative/
Following is an example of the strategic brand platform and narrative developed for the State of Mississippi’s destination brand. Notice how the narrative is the passionate story of the brand platform.
STRATEGIC BRAND PLATFORM
For those who appreciate authentic people and places, Mississippi is the most southern state and the mother of southern culture . . . yesterday, today and tomorrow.
You’re rumbling down a dirt road in search of that crossroads where a legendary bluesman was born. There’s something about it, the cotton in the fields, the dust from the road caught in a shaft of sun, the adventure you’ve begun, searching for the roots of a song that speaks to you.
You’re headed South. And it feels true.
Sitting down at a roadside table to a heaping plate of roasted corn and steaming crawfish, you can hardly take it all in. The costal breeze in the cypress trees, spice tingling on tongue tip and lips, the gracious smiles and laughter of the people – it’s good and rich and real.
You’re traveling South. And it feels true.
You’re following in the footsteps of giants. People who took up the cause of this nation. You marvel at their sacrifice, their strength and the power of a voice that still rolls through this land. You want to breathe it all into your soul as you follow their trail, their march, their bus ride, and their triumph.
You’re moving South. And it feels true.
There’s no other place that embodies the heart and soul of the true South in all its rich and varied expressions – in culture and cuisine, music and folk art musings, history and horticulture, the rolling river and the towering magnolia. It’s Mississippi.
Say it out loud. Mississippi. It rings true. It’s a musical incantation that raises eyebrows, inspires mouthwatering grins of anticipation and understanding nods of reverence.
Mississippi. Find Your True South.
Is your community’s brand supported by a strategic brand platform? Does it emotionally connect to your consumers via a brand narrative? Go here to schedule a time to discuss building your brand narrative.