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You Ask, I Answer: How to Start a Brand From Scratch?

Ollyvia asks, “If you are starting a brand from scratch, where should I start?”

The emotional aftertaste of a brand is the sum of a series of experiences. If you’re starting a brand from scratch, you need to decide what emotional aftertaste you want to evoke in your customers. Consider what other brands in your space are doing, and look for gaps in the emotional landscape that you can fill.

You Ask, I Answer: How to Start a Brand From Scratch?

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In this episode, Olivia asks, if you are starting a brand from scratch, where should I start? Well, that’s a big question.

First, let’s settle on what a brand is.

There are any number of definitions.

brand, a brand is a promise a brand is a collection of attributes about a company or service.

The one that I like best is by a comedian named Jose Frank, who in 2006, said that a brand is the sum of a series of experiences.

That is essentially an emotional aftertaste.

So a brand is the emotional aftertaste of a series of experiences.

And I love this definition because it jives it makes sense, it is what we feel like when you name a brand, the emotions that you feel around that brand, define that brand, right? When you if you’re a big fan of Apple, when you see the Apple logo or talk about the Apple brand, you feel certain things when you see a certain politician by name, that politician has a personal brand.

And depending on your political orientation stuff, you may be like yeah, or ah, you know, but either way it evokes in emotion, the brands that are in the most peril, or the brands that don’t evoke any kind of emotion, you see the logo and you’re like, Okay, think about it like this.

You know, here’s a here’s a battery.

Right? And this is the brand of this battery is EBL.

I don’t feel anything, do you feel anything? Now these are decent batteries, they do their job.

Here’s a brand.

This one is Energizer, right? You at least have some kind of association, there’s something to call upon.

And it’s got to be a combination of you know that that annoying bunny with the drums and personal experiences you’ve had with this.

But when you don’t feel anything for a brand, when there’s no emotion, it makes it very easy for for something to become a commodity, right? When this is no better than this, and this is no better than this.

Then low lowest price wins, right? When there’s a brand, when there’s a series of emotional aftertastes, then this brand or this brand can become your preferred choice, right? You’ll go to that brand first because you have that emotional history with it.

So the first thing you have to do if you’re starting a brand from scratch does decide what emotional aftertaste you want to invoke.

And you want to be specific, right? You don’t want SWOT to be out, we want our customers to be happy, right? Or the worst.

We want our customers to be satisfied.

Like I’m sorry.

Satisfaction doesn’t mean anything ever.

You want your customer to at least to be happy, possibly delirious.

But think about all of the the words and phrases that are associated with your products and services.

Look in your customer service inbox.

And now if you’re starting a brand from scratch, look at what other brands other competitors in the space have got.

Right? Let’s say you’re starting a coffee chain, right? A coffee shop chain.

What did the existing brands evoke? Right, you know, there’s there’s Starbucks, what kind of emotions does that evoke? There’s Dunkin Donuts, Pete’s coffee.

You name it.

There’s so many.

What are the emotional aftertastes of those brands? And then once you map that out, look at look at any number of sort of emotional mapping diagrams from psychology like Plutarco.

We we’ll have emotions, and see where the gaps are.

If you can clearly define the emotional aftertaste of your competing brands, and you’re new in the space of starting a brand from scratch.

Where are the the logical gaps? Clearly, if if you’re struggling coffee chain, you probably don’t want abject terror to be the emotional aftertaste that you’re going after.

Right? That probably would not be great.

But is there a distinction you can make from satisfied or relaxed or comfortable, maybe, or caffeinated or busy? I was thinking of the the brand slogan for Dunkin Donuts and why America runs on Dunkin and incorporates this emotional sense of doing things going places.

And what still left all of the emotions that you would want to evoke what’s still left on on that emotional structure.

That can be your emotional aftertaste that you then build your brain and messaging around your brand assets, your style guide, you name it, when we were doing this for Trust Insights, and we looked around at the other big consulting firms, you know, McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group BCG.

And overwhelmingly, the big consulting firms have the same very similar emotional aftertaste that convey that sort over you were much smarter than you were reassuringly expensive.

Providing a sense of security, in emotional sense of security, right, and I’m not going to get fired for choosing a big name consulting firm.

But what they didn’t promise was other positive emotions along those arcs, and we found some that we incorporate into our own brand, being a bit more casual, a bit more accessible, being more approachable, speaking in language that people can understand.

And even though you know, I don’t, I’m trying to say that the work we produce is cheap by any means, but producing work that stands on its own for the value it delivers, as opposed to how nice the PowerPoint presentation looks right.

And, again, not saying that we have a terrible design, because we don’t actually have a pretty decent design, but the value that we want to provide, and the emotional aftertaste we want to provide is rooted in the value of the content, not the the presentation, not the appearance of it.

Now, you can and should ideally do both.

But again, when you’re looking at defining a brand for the first time, what are the emotions that you want someone to feel? We want someone to feel reassured, comfortable, that we want them to feel smarter, right? It’s, it’s easy to make yourself look smart.

It’s much more difficult to help somebody else feel smart.

So that’s a core part of that brand promise.

So that would be my advice.

If you’re starting a brand from scratch, define the emotional aftertaste that you want your brand to deliver.

And make sure that it is different enough from your competitors while still not being like completely crazy.

So that you can carve out a brand emotional aftertaste that is well suited to who you are and sets you apart in the marketplace without making you unpalatable.

So really good question.

It’s a challenging question.

It’s one that people spend a lot of money trying to solve and to varying degrees of success, but thanks for asking.

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