Brand basics - Bottom up brand(ing)

Sam, our Strategy Director, discusses the importance of bottom-up branding and the vital branding element that is often overlooked.

It’s quite a common metaphor to see brands as icebergs. What you see is a tiny proportion of the whole piece. And it makes complete sense why most marketers focus attention on the top of the iceberg, after all, we humans are drawn to bright, shiny colourful things. It’s also the nice easy bit; putting the cherry on top of the cake. It’s the logo, it’s creating a distinctive brand visual identity that helps a business stand out in the market and brings to life it’s point of difference and it’s the stuff we all find easy to have a view on!

But so many brands neglect the big chunk of the iceberg that sits below the water line. The big chunk of ‘business idea’ that defines the very essence of the brand. It’s in this big chunk of brand ice where we have the brands purpose, its mission, vision, values, positioning and even the personality and attitude – the stuff that shapes the fundamental direction of the business.

Maybe it’s more coincidence than any kind of wider trend to look deeply into, but we’ve seen more brands engage us to think about the bottom of the iceberg. We’ve seen more brands give consideration to this part of ‘the brand’; deciding that now is the time to evolve their brand, to re-establish their positioning in a market, and define the personality of the brand to ensure they stand out and bring their point of difference to life.

The importance of getting ‘the brand’ right cannot be undervalued. The bottom of the iceberg positions the brand in the right place to stand out from competitors. The mission, vision and purpose of the brand engages people in the business and reignites their passion for working in an organisation. With that renewed vigour an organisation can be filled with impassioned, high-performing advocates willing to tear up trees in their pursuit to help the business achieve its goals.

Personality and attitude shape the behaviours of not only ‘brand activation’ in a marketing sense – content, digital advertising and our social voice, but the people in the business; the way people talk to each other and the way they talk to our customers.

Get all of that wrong or fail to consider it at all and it doesn’t matter what you look like, how contemporary your logo is or whether you are adopting a pastel pink in your secondary colour palette, your business will be rudderless, brandless and die.

In the second part, I’m going to talk about some of my favourite purpose driven brands and how they link purpose to brand activations in the real world.