You’ve probably heard how important your brand is; you might be a start-up building your brand, or you might be already established and need to re-brand.
But if you’re not sure – your brand is what you stand for and is one of your strongest assets.
It is your unique tool to communicate clearly and consistently to the right audience, so getting it right makes it quicker and easier for you to reach your audience, and even better, for them to identify with and find you. And as a bonus, it helps you stand out from your competitors. So what do you want your audience to think of when they think of your brand?
Well it might not yet be clearly defined, or you might not have any idea of how to go about defining it. Well, we’ll be honest with you, getting your brand right is a big task, with a multitude of questions to ask yourself, so it’s good to take some time over it. And definitely get to know your brand at its core, before developing your brand identity (so with designers there’ll be no confusion, meaning no time or budget wasted!).
But never fear, there is a fun way to start thinking about this if you don’t know where to begin and without becoming daunted by the task. Think about your brand in terms of the 5 senses – LOOK, SOUND, SMELL, TASTE and FEEL. It’s a brilliantly creative, spontaneous and fun way to discover and express your ideas.
This approach is not only helpful when creating your brand for the first time. It’s also helpful if you’re looking to regenerate your existing brand where something has changed within it for some reason –which often happens as your business grows.
The Five Senses of Your Brand
There’s no hard and fast rules for how to approach this. To get your ideas brewing and your creative juices flowing, gather together images, items, fabric, write, doodle – whatever you want! Be expressive, use gut feeling. Remember, this is a just springboard to take your ideas further, you won’t be confined to your answers.
1. Come up with as many words, images and ideas as you can to best describe your brand using the 5 senses. Be as imaginative and as crazy as you like! For example:
What does your brand LOOK like?
Eg: Colour / Pattern / Shape / Simple / Complex
What does your brand SOUND like?
Eg: A crackling fire / A crowd / Popping / Classical music / A motorbike revving
What does your brand SMELL like?
Eg: Cut Grass / Coffee / Bread / Perfume / Motor Oil
What does your brand TASTE like?
Eg: Sweet / Savoury / Sour / Wine / Chocolate
How does your brand FEEL? (in the sense of touch)
Eg: Rough / Smooth / Cold / Warm
2. Now gather your responses together; you can create a traditional analogue moodboard, scrapbook or box, or if you prefer digital, a Pinterest board. These are all great ways to gather your thoughts together in one place, and very easy for you to see patterns emerging.
3. Next – look through your ‘moodboard’ and think about WHY you think your brand LOOKS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTES and FEELS the way you described. Ask yourself: What have you discovered? What are the connections? Did you have an emotional attachment to it? Did it evoke a memory? For example:
Why does your brand LOOK like the way you described?
Example: Red – danger, excitement, risk
Why does your brand SOUND like the way you described?
Example: A crowd – unity, common purpose
Why does your brand SMELL like the way you described?
Example: Bread – homeliness, comfort, trustworthiness
Why does your brand TASTE like the way you described?
Example: Wine – refined, grown-up
Why does your brand FEEL like the way you described?
Example: Rough – weathered, exposed, outdoors
So there we have it – the 5 senses – what your audience will be using when they experience your brand. You should now have some foundational ideas to develop in more depth in the future, and be able to describe your brand in a clearer way. You should also have ideas on how to communicate your brand ‘story’ and how to connect to your audience, especially how emotions, memory and senses can be evoked.
There is of course, plenty more work to do, but doing this can at least help you on your way to define your brand. Then eventually you can create outward expressions of your brand which your target market can then quickly and easily identify with and understand. Have fun!