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How to Create a Meaningful Differentiation for your Brand

The essence of your brand is what makes your brand or service offering hard to copy.

In order to create the essence of your brand, I like to have my clients focus less of competitive differentiation (which in most cases can be mere feature/benefits) and instead focus more on what we call meaningful difference/differentiation. Meaningful differentiation is (in lack of a better term) “uncopiable” and when a competitor does copy it, they only strengthen your position in the marketplace.

In order to create/discover your meaningful difference, you need to figure out your brand’s purpose. Reason for being/why it exists.

To illustrate how you go about creating your meaningful differentiation, I’ll give an example of our branding agency.

As shown in the figure above, you can see our (1) Purpose (2) Focus (3) Difference. We’ve positioned ourselves as “Brand Elevators” and we apply this in everything that we think, say or do.

It’s all about “Elevating”

Therefore, we set our meaningful difference to be “The Elevator Principles“, they are 10 and just like above, we apply them in everything we think, say or do.

Here are the 10 principles, from it you can see how as a branding agency, this can be applied into “elevating” any brand that we work with. Also, if a competitor tried to claim this difference, they’d only be strengthening our position.

Here they are;

1. Be easy to use

Elevators are built with ease of use at the forefront. Get in, press button for your floor, wait for “ding”, done! Brands should function the same way. Over-complicating kills most brands.

2. Let us do the heavy lifting for you

Elevators do the heavy lifting, all you have to do is just be in them and they’ll take you up/down hundreds of floors and you won’t break a sweat. We aim to do the same for our clients, their brand/product/service should do the same for their audience.

3. Be efficient

Elevators are extremely efficient. By using counterweights to offset the weight they’re carrying, they are able to use very little electrical energy. As a brand, find ways to minimize waste as much as possible, it’s one sure way to grow your profit margins.

4. Know your limits

Each elevator has a “max weight limit”, brands should know theirs too. In regards to who your audience is, what your product/service is and what market(s) to compete in. Focus. When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one.

5. Always function as expected- meet expectations

Sure, every once in a while an elevator will get “stuck” but most of the time, press up and it will go up, down and it will go down. A brand should always function as expected- delivering on its promise. Positive interactions build a brand, while negative ones kill it.

6. Be reliable/dependable

If we didn’t think elevators were reliable enough to take us up/down hundreds (or even 10) floors, we simply wouldn’t use them. If your audience doesn’t think you brand/product/service can get them from A to B, chances are they won’t consider you. The only way to achieve dependability/reliability is by following #5 above.

7. Engage your audience through interaction

Elevators require you to do something in order to get something- however small this is, it’s important. Press a button, I’ll take you to the floor you want to go to. Brands should be designed the same way. Some user involvement is important- it’s a psychological thing.

8. Evolve/Improve

We’ve come a long way since the first elevator. It’s important to constantly improve your brand in order to stay relevant. Now more than ever.

9. Revolutionize multiple industries

The invent of elevators revolutionized many industries e.g. Construction Industry (of skyscrapers) Architectural Industry (builders of these skyscrapers) Steel, Railway etc. Your brand should aim to shake not only the industry it’s competing in, but others as well.

10. Always have a “Plan B”

Did you know that elevators would still be able to carry it’s maximum weight even if all the cords broke and only one was left? Now you do. Did you also know that even if all the cords broke, there’s a fail-safe mechanism that we’ll lock the elevator in place preventing it from plunging? Don’t believe what those movies show you :)

Your brand should always have a Plan B (up to Z- why not).

Ok, enough lessons about elevators, I hope this helps in some way :)

The 3 C’s of Building a Strong Brand

The 3 C’s of Building a Strong Brand

With clutter in current marketplace, building a strong brand is more crucial than ever. The 3 C’s of building a strong brand simplify the sometimes daunting brand development process. They are the basic building blocks of any strong brand that exists.

One thing is certain: A brand has to be nurtured- and it takes (a long) time to successfully build any brand.

In addition to time, it takes thought and consistent application. But it does not have to take big budgets. It just requires you to embrace a mindset that requires both discipline and passion. It’s about caring for the bigger picture and the smaller details- all at the same time.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”stancebranding” suffix=”#STANCEBranding”]When building your brand, adhere to the 3 Cs and your results will make you proud.[/inlinetweet]

C1: CREDIBILITY

A brand has been described as “everything you say and everything you do.” Brands are built on trust. Trust is gained by delivering on each promise you make. A credible brand will always align the way it behaves with the way it is portrayed (or the promises it makes). This close connection will ensure that your customer’s instinctive reaction is one of trust and belief in your brand not one of doubt and uncertainty.

C2: CLARITY

A strong brand is based on clearly defined values, that are important to your customers and that differentiate you from your competitors. Take a (meaningful) stance. Do this by understanding, establishing and communicating what you stand for. A clear understanding of your values throughout your business will ensure that they are communicated clearly through “everything you say and everything you do.” When you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

C3: CONSISTENCY

The value of a brand comes through recognition and recognition comes from consistent application of every visible manifestation of your brand, at every ‘touch point’ that your customers experience your brand. Create brand guidelines, not only for your visuals, but also for your values, systems, processes and everything in between. Ensure every employee clearly understands & applies these guidelines- consistently.

 When all is said and done, strive to build a meaningful brand.

What Our Logo Reveal Means

What Our Logo Reveal Means

Can you communicate a concept in approximately 5 seconds? We attempted to do just that.

Challenge:

Communicate what STANCE stands for in 5 seconds…

Results:

A 5 second logo reveal animation. Here’s the breakdown…

Before reading this, watch the video below and see what you make of it. Then come back and read the creative direction behind it.

 

The Breakdown

The STANCE logo reveal opens with 5 bars which stand for the 5 counterweights that we leverage to elevate a brand.; Purpose, Strategy, Design, Video & Technology.

This results to the “Λ” icon which we call “the elevation symbol”, that also stands for the “A” in our logo.

As a result of leveraging the 5 counterweights, a brand is elevated- this is reflected in the transition as the elevation symbol elevates and fades out at the top of the frame.

The final frame fades in show our full word mark. It fades in, in an upward movement to reinforce what we stand for followed by our tagline “Elevating Meaningful Brands™ to declare our positioning.

Simple!

Watch video below and let us know if we nailed the concept or not…

Brands Realize Being Meaningful is the New Black | Whirlpool Case Study

Brands Realize Being Meaningful is the New Black | Whirlpool Case Study

Whether you agree or disagree, I think it’s pretty obvious that most brands have realized that being meaningful is no longer an option. We have always know that customer is king, so how do you talk to the king? Actually, you will be surprised to find out that it is quite simple. You achieve that by speaking in a language that the king understands.

Right now, consumers want brands that carry a deeper meaning beyond their core product or service offering. They want brands that support the causes they believe in, they want meaningful brands.

meaningful-brands-index

A study conducted by Havas Media (who by the way coined the phrase “Meaningful Brands”) revealed some shocking statistics…

Most people worldwide would not care if more than 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow.

That’s insane!

Think about all the money spent globally on marketing, communication and public relations. Then think that for more than 73% of the companies who are spending it, their brands wouldn’t be missed if they disappeared entirely.

Only 20% of brands worldwide make a significant, positive effect on people’s well-being.

 With these shocking statistics, it’s no surprise that brands are doing their best to adapt or die. Read industry news and you will see all sorts of desperate efforts to be meaningful. From publicizing how your company supports the local cancer awareness foundation, to sponsoring kids from developing nations, to others rethinking their entire approach to Marketing via full-blown campaigns.

Major brands are adapting

A few days ago, I came across such a campaign by the veteran brand Whirlpool. The mega corporation markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht  and other major brand names. So when they make such a move, you know it is something worth looking into.

While I might sound angered by these attempts of what others would call “fake” or “rigged” ways to buy into what your customers (kings) want, I personally think that any attempt whether forced or genuine is a move towards the right direction. This specific 103-year old brand is making steps towards the right direction and adapting to change.

PROOF: The Whirlpool Case Study

WHIRLPOOL BRAND CHALLENGES INDUSTRY MARKETING NORMS; CHAMPIONS THE IMPORTANCE OF DAILY TASKS

The above is the headline in a press release for Whirlpool’s new campaign “Every day, care™”. The veteran brand aims to transform cold machine mentality into acts of love. Emotional branding is a powerful thing, our friends at Emotive Brand know this best.

Watching videos from this campaign and monitoring Whirlpool’s social media interaction, you can tell they are making a shift to be a meaningful brand.

Whirlpool has shifted from trying to sell features and benefits to reminding people that each act performed with one of their appliances is an act of caring. This in itself is a meaningful stance. By taking this position and positioning their brand as one that promotes care, people can relate to them at a deeper level. I was surprised the other day as I strolled around my local Lowe’s store Whirlpool appliances caught my eye, even though I had never paid attention to the brand much prior to this. As I mentioned earlier, judging from their social media, engagement, the brand is making waves and people are responding positively.

everyday-care campaign whirlpool

Still, I find it fascinating that brands are just now seeing the need to be meaningful.

So, how does your brand take a meaningful stance and position itself as a meaningful brand? Is it possible? Is it too late? Let’s take a look at how we did it. Hopefully this will shed some light into how you can tap into your own unique purpose

STANCE: The Meaningful Branding Agency

When I founded STANCE, I didn’t look at industry trends, or what’s “hot” in the market right now. I looked within and asked myself one questions: “What kind of company will I look back at the end of my life and be proud to have built?”, the answer- a company that truly positively impacted people’s lives. Later came to realized they had a term for it, “meaningful brand”, hence the meaningful branding agency was born.

This is not just something we say to be cool, we truly believe that great brands stand for something and that brands that commit to a meaningful STANCE—and those who engage with them—win.

That is why our purpose is to be advocates for all meaningful brands. We envision a world where brands genuinely exist to positively impact the lives of those they serve. This is reflected on our purpose which is to elevate meaningful brands so they can elevate the lives of those they serve.

Stance-Facebook-Cover-Photo

A Reflection on your brand…

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#MeaningfulBrands”]How is your brand impacting the lives of those you serve? [/inlinetweet]Have you taken a meaningful stance? What kind of legacy will you leave for your children and grandchildren? Is your brand meaningful? Only you can answer those questions honestly.

Friday Freebies – HD Inspirational Wallpapers

Friday Freebies – HD Inspirational Wallpapers

STANCE’s Friday Freebies are a series of free useful/cool items posted every Friday, yes we know it’s awesome. I  look forward to bring a lot of great content that will sure help you elevate your daily life. Check out what our designers made for you on today’s Friday  post and make sure to comeback for more next week.

 

HD Inspirational Wallpapers

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Why “July Fourth” is a Strong Brand

Why “July Fourth” is a Strong Brand

Branding Lessons You Can Learn from “Fourth of July” (The Brand)

As I write this, millions of Americans are enjoying a day off as part of the July 4th celebration tradition that has existed for over two centuries. It has now been 238 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83).

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#IndependenceDay”]Fun Fact: The initial date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress was July 2, 1776.[/inlinetweet]

The next day, John Adams remarked in a letter to his wife Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Beyond the parades, concerts, casual family gatherings, barbecues & fireworks, today I invite you to take a step back and view July 4th from a new angle- to view it as the strong brand it is.

 

Characteristics of a Strong Brand

 

Clear Purpose

Every strong brand has a purpose- a reason for being (beyond making money). Brands that are purpose-driven that is clearly articulated and communicated to it’s audience helps elevate the brand by building a strong emotional connection with the audience that identify with the purpose.

July 4th’s purpose is to remind Americans about the day they got their independence. It marks a significant day the US nation declared its independence from the British Monarchy in 1776.

 

What it stands for

Great brands stand for something. When  a brand is clear on what it stands for based on it’s purpose, it makes it very easy for the target audience to connect with it.

As a brand, July 4th stands for freedom, independence and a brighter future. This is very clear and it’s reinforced year after year with each holiday celebration.

 

Name & Nicknames

Strong brands have a clear, unique and distinct name. Naming is very important in brand building because it provides a point of reference and identification. Names provide associations and carry meanings in the minds of the consumer.

Furthermore, most brands just like people have nicknames; e.g. McDonald’s is Mickey D’s, Coca Cola is “Coke”, Federal Express is “FedEx”, Chevrolet is “Chevy”.

In the same way, Independence Day is a clear name that communicates what the day stands for. Other nicknames used to refer the same are “July 4th”, and “Fourth of July”.

 

Traditions

Strong brands need traditions. Victoria Secret & Macy’s have both been phenomenal at this with VS All Access fashion show & Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade respectively.

Some of the traditions practiced on Independence day include; family getting together, time off from work (most jobs) and of course fireworks!

 

Serve a Specific Target Audience

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#branding”]To build a strong brand, you need to identify who the brand is meant to serve.[/inlinetweet] This enables you to learn everything about your target audience and tailor your message to appeal to them.

Similarly, Independence Day celebrations are geared towards the “American citizens market”

As you can see, the above characteristics show how strong of a brand the Independence Day Holiday really is. When you review your brand, does it have the characteristics outlined above? If so, what are ways you can implement them?

 

Funny Video

Lastly, in the light of the holiday, here is a video to make your day. Enjoy :)

Brand With a Purpose- My Kid’z Adventures

Brand With a Purpose- My Kid’z Adventures

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have found a Meaningful Children’s Brand with a Purpose!

As a parent, you are your children’s number one fan. You believe in your child 100%. Unfortunately, sometimes children don’t feel the same way about themselves as you do and don’t believe they can do anything they set their minds to. There is a brand out there that allows your favorite person to be the center of attention and see themselves on numerous amazing adventures!

 

My Kid’z Adventures

mka

It is common to place yourself in a novel you’re reading, to feel as though you’re in the minds of the character and apart of the plot. My Kid’z Adventures does all of this! This brand allows you to create books with the help of your child. Instead of some ol’ boring story, your child is placed into a new playground filled with fun graphics and bright colors. There are multiple settings to be your child’s new playground-the circus, camping, the beach, the farm, and the world! Each setting is host to many different fun activities your child will participate in! When your child is at the farm, he/she will milk cows, your child will surf at the beach, do some really cool magic tricks at the circus, and have a warm campfire at the campground. Furthermore, the books are also helpful for learning Spanish. Every word on the page has a Spanish translation. Common words like milk and butterfly are fast and simple for your child to learn in the books. Plus, on the bottom of every page is a recipe for you and your child to try. They’re fun and simple tying in items your child probably doesn’t eat often like papaya and basil. Plus, they sound absolutely delicious!

Now you might be wondering how your child is actually in the adventures.
Their picture is on every page!

farmGirl-detail1

 

Plus, their name is on it!

singleCircusPrinted_boy

 

 

Getting started is really easy too! 

First, you choose the theme of the book based on your child’s gender and the adventure you want your child to explore! Each adventure has both a male and female version so your daughter can do all of the things any boy can do and vice versa! Then, you pick your package. You can order just one, or many more. Plus, there is a digital series and you can easily order each adventure for you child with just one click! After you have made your decision, the really fun stuff starts begins!

Your child gets to be the star of the show by showin’ off their complete adorableness and modeling for 11-16 pictures. The cuter and funnier the pictures are, the better! This book is to show off your superstar’s personality as much as possible. Once those are done, it gets even better!

You can dedicate your child’s book to any friend or family member your both are close to and have it be a gift to them as well. You love your child, but you’re not the only one. That’s why these book are such great gifts and can be shared across the whole family.

Purpose

 

A child’s self esteem is important for their growth. The amount they have carries on through not only their childhood, but the rest of their lives. With the recent publicity of bullying, the lack of self esteem children have is unreal. When Nuria Sanchez created My Kid’z Adventures, she hoped to elevate the lives of the children who saw themselves in their own books, doing things they never thought they could do.  [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@amd5555″ suffix=”#brandwithapurpose”]My Kid’z Adventures is an outlet for children to begin believing in themselves and seeing themselves how others perceive them: as the awesome little people they are- making My Kid’s Adventures a brand with a purpose. [/inlinetweet]

 

Go ahead, see how happy this child and his family are when seeing themselves on an adventure for the first time. (:

Always is Elevating the Confidence of Girls Worldwide with #LikeAGirl Campaign

Always is Elevating the Confidence of Girls Worldwide with #LikeAGirl Campaign

Procter & Gamble’s Always brand just released a video from their new #LikeAGirl campaign. The campaign, from ad agency Leo Burnett hopes to forever change the negative connotation underlying the “like a girl” phrase that is meant as an insult.

When did the phrase ‘like a girl’ become so negative?

Regardless of gender, watching the video does makes you take a step back and reflect on the times you might have used the phrase as an insult. Always did a great job at connecting with their core audience with an issue that is not only important but meaningful as well.

Through this campaign, Always elevates the confidence of young  girls who will in turn develop an emotional connection with the brand every time they encounter the “like a girl” situation. This is a win-win situation for girls worldwide and the brand as well.

Campaign Q & A from the Ad Agency’s website

How did you discover this unique tension point in the perception of doing something #LikeAGirl?
JJ: ‘Half of girls lose their confidence during puberty’ is such a powerful fact. In our efforts to bring Rewrite the Rules, our new platform for Always to life, we wanted our first act to address the things that contribute to the drop of confidence in girls. Amongst all the work from the Chicago, London and Toronto team, there was one that simply said, ‘Let’s change the meaning of Like A Girl’. We all felt it in the room. That was it.

BS: The phrase has become so ubiquitous, you have to stop and say “Hey, wait – was that an insult?” And then in true Baader-Meinhof form, you start hearing it everywhere. People say it without thinking and that’s what we’re trying change. It’s not always a pointed insult – but an unthinking pattern of behavior that people don’t even realize is destructive to girls.

How did you go about capturing this tension on film?
JJ: It starts with getting a great director and then asking meaningful questions. Like all social experiments, you go in with a hypothesis of the responses you’ll get, but the responses we got were so much more personal and revealing than we had imagined.

BS: That’s the genius of Lauren Greenfield—her ability to make people so comfortable that they reveal their deepest thoughts and beliefs. She pulled it right out of them.

Why did you choose documentarian Lauren Greenfield to help tell this story?
JJ: We looked at a lot of directors but in the end, we all felt there was only one director who was perfect, Lauren. Her previous work showed her deep understanding of girls and women, and also how she could find the honesty on each issue.

BS: She’s been on our radar forever; we have all these female brands and understanding teen girls is her life work. We first worked with Lauren ten years ago – on a series of print ads for P&G’s Being Girl – and won a Gold Lion at Cannes. There was no second choice.

Can you describe a defining #LikeAGirl moment that you experienced while growing up?
JJ: I can’t think of one defining moment. It’s really been a series of moments where you say I’m going to do it the only way I know how and I’m going to do it unapologetically.

BS: I was the first girl in the history of my high school to run for Student Council President; lots of people were quite indignant. It was fine to aspire to vice president, but no higher. Well, I won… and it completely paved the way for other girls to demonstrate self confidence without ridicule.

How does this campaign define what it means to be #LikeAGirl?
JJ: This campaign is more about redefining what it means and rallying people behind that.

BS: A girl can do anything she wants. Proudly. Enthusiastically. Without apology.

What do you hope this campaign will bring to light in the minds of young girls?
JJ: I hope this campaign makes girls feel awesome about being a girl and doing things like a girl. I hope they feel that they are part of a sisterhood that supports and encourages them to go be great.

BS: Young girls already believe they’re capable of doing anything – we certainly don’t want to change them. We want to change the society they are growing up in so they don’t suffer the crisis of confidence during puberty that affects girls twice as much as boys.

How can girls get involved with Always #LikeaGirl?
JJ: Start using #LIKEAGIRL in a positive way. Be a role model.

BS: Through social media. They can start by tweeting the amazing things they do #likeagirl! It will be fun to turn that hashtag on its head!

– See more at: http://www.leoburnett.com/articles/work/what-it-means-to-be-likeagirl/#sthash.t53dJqx8.dpuf

What is Branding?

What is Branding?

What is Branding?

Branding is one of the most misunderstood terms. In my humble opinion this is what I believe branding is.

Branding is…

It is a carefully researched & planned initiative to articulate and clearly communicate what a company, product, or service stands for, who it caters to and it’s meaningful difference as opposed to other similar companies/products/services.

Research and Brand Strategy lay the foundation of a brand, then brand systems (logos, websites, color schemes, visual hammer, images, videos etc) communicate a brand’s value and it’s difference in a way that creates both an emotional and logical connection.

This is normally achieved through marketing, advertising, endorsements, community engagement and other forms of promotions.

Branding is a long term initiative that takes time.

For branding to be successful, you need to be clear, consistent & credible!

With today’s overcrowded marketplace, branding is becoming more and more valuable.

So next time someone asks you, “What is Branding?” have the understand what a brand is first, that then makes it much easier to communicate what branding.

See the infographic below;

what-is-a-brand-by-stance-las-vegas-branding-agency

Announcement: Blue Cube Marketing Solutions & STANCE Form Strategic Partnership

Announcement: Blue Cube Marketing Solutions & STANCE Form Strategic Partnership

Today, STANCE reached a new milestone in our commitment to elevate meaningful brands. We are very excited to announce our newest strategic partnership with Blue Cube Marketing Solutions. Blue Cube Marketing Solutions is a Community Engagement & Communication Strategy firm spearheaded by Tami Belt, an Award-Winning Public Relations professional. The firm was launched in 2002 to transform the way companies approach community engagement and communication strategy.  Tami places clients in the spotlight by equipping them with communication tools to build relationships, create conversations and share stories. She understands each business is unique and has its own story. And it’s that well crafted story and authentic passion that builds lasting bonds between business and their community. Our goal for this partnership is to leverage our expertise, knowledge and wealth of experience to build better brands. One more step towards elevating meaningful brands in Las Vegas and beyond!   IMG_9153_e IMG_9144_e IMG_9148_eIMG_9181_eIMG_9161_eIMG_9173_eIMG_9204_e