Engaging heads, hearts and souls in your brand

Supermarket brands are a kind of shorthand for your company’s products and services. A brand is a manifestation of the bundle of promises you intend to deliver. How then does the gentle art and discipline of branding work in an age when many brands are virtual and transient?

There are many ways that businesses use branding to their advantage – they have evolved their approach to branding to address the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution where intelligence, information and imagination are the hallmarks of success. To brand your enterprise you must engage all the senses to reach people’s heads, hearts and souls. 

Stand on the shoulders of giants

ColaLife is a not for profit enterprise, inspired by the thought that Coca-Cola seems to get everywhere in developing countries, yet simple life-saving medicines don’t. They asked the question why and started to work on a number of fronts to cheekily brand themselves with the 'cola' tag as a disruptor by delivering small changes that make big, self-sustaining improvements. Not everyone can become a brand and whilst ColaLife don’t have the resources to become a brand themselves like a Fortune 500 enterprise, they have cleverly stood on the shoulders of giants in ways that give them presence whilst complementing Coca-Cola’s drive towards improved ethical credentials, working with companies like GSK and Johnson & Johnson to save lives in Africa.

Their work is in the field of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc for childhood diarrhoea. More than a decade since this treatment became the global standard, 99 per cent of diarrhoea cases are still not treated with ORS with Zinc and diarrhoea is still the world's second biggest killer of young children. This told co-founders Simon and Jane Berry that current efforts to improve access are not sufficient and are working too slowly. Simon and Jane are living embodiments of a company that connects passion and purpose.

"One of the things Coca-Cola taught us: you have to deliver on expectation - every time," Jane says. "Quality and trust are everything - even and especially for poor people with few resources to risk."

The power of connection

MyMVison connects musicians around the world with live music venues, music schools, recording studios, rehearsal rooms and the entire value chain via an IOS and Android app. MyM facilitates the professional careers of artists, helping them at every step of their journey, from the cradle to the stage and beyond. Launched in February 2017 by Internet of Artists, a London-based company boasting a fully Italian creative team, MyM has masterminded social media and collaborations with giants, building their brand on solid foundations, with already more than 100,000 active profiles in over 15 countries.

Founder Riccardo Torriani says: "Brand building through social media is only part of our story. We have developed several strategic collaborations with partners to give us scale and reach. Nobody wants to be the first person to try an innovation and our musicians can partner with world class musicians across the planet. We have also benefitted from endorsements from professionals who have worked with Prince through to Ozzy Osbourne."

Brand on the run 

NUB Records is an independent record company, which collaborates with Warner Bros to achieve global reach and punch above their weight in the music business. The owner Mark Christopher Lee first set Nub up as an independent label for his own band:

“We were getting played a lot on BBC Radio 1 and were offered a lot of what I thought were dodgy deals by record labels. So I decided to start a label myself. We were one of the first digital only labels back in 2005 and we now have a deal with Sony.”

Mark started sending music to the legendary VP of Warner Music – Seymour Stein who famously signed Madonna as well as The Ramones – Seymour loved what Nub were doing and their DIY Punk ethos. Since that time Nub entered the Guinness Book of Records with their series of 100x30 albums. The concept is 100 songs all 30 seconds long, as a protest against lack of royalties from music streaming services such as Spotify – 100x30 unintentionally broke the world record for the maximum number of songs on a 74 minute digital CD. This sees them featured alongside Justin Bieber in the Guinness Book of Records, which Mark found hilarious. Nub Records are living proof that David can conquer Goliath with a clever strategy.

Nub Records are a good example of a brand that has used the power of networks, endorsements and PR to build a brand from a small base without huge budgets and access to branding agencies.

Four rules to remember:

  1. If you cannot or don’t want to develop a brand, find ways to connect with others who can or already do have a brand that you can work with for mutual advantage.
  2. Your brand connects your soul and purpose to your daily work. Ensure you are in sync.
  3. Work with giants to scale your brand to grow faster and reach further.
  4. Use the full range of marketing communications to develop your brand : Traditional media, social media, endorsements and PR etc.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. 

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