We talk a lot in the brand world about brand strategy, brand vision, brand planning and brand imaging. But in all of this discussion we are missing the critical component of customer context. To best understand we must ask this simple question and be prepared to answer it:
What is the mood of my brand?
When you ask this, you should be thinking about how your customers would react to this query. They are the one’s that have the best idea of what mood your brand creates. As an example, while your brand may evoke a mood of aspiration, your customers may think your brand evokes a feeling of commitment. Those are very different moods and your intent may not be translating to people based on the communications methods you are using.
I think it’s important to ask and answer this question because the world brands are moving into is one of feelings and experiences. Take Spotify for example. When I power up the app it welcomes me with music I may want to listen to based on context. This context serves me up sounds based on my mood. Uptempo in morning as I prepare for the gym…downtempo at night as my day ends. Spotify is synchronized to my lifestyle and the context that shape my experiences and moods. So again, think about what mood your brand represents. Then go and answer that question like it is your customer mission.
If you are having trouble getting started, here’s two simple exercises. First, open a blank Word document. List 10 of your favorite brands. Then next to each note the mood you believe they evoke. Don’t consider what mood the brand is trying to evoke. What have you learned? Moods are not something rooted in data science but in pure emotion. If you are to set a proper emotional direction for your brand they must be considered and integrated with the ways you bring your brand to life. The data you collect moving forward will determine if that truly is your North Star. Emotions and instincts are necessary to complete this exercise based on small nuggets of data you have about your brand.
Creating a mood board for your brand is another valuable exercise. As Susan Goodwin points out, “It’s worth regularly standing back to have a look at the elements of your brand and how they are represented visually, and if that representation accurately reflects who you are and what you do.” Further, mood boards can be a source of inspiration and give you the clarity you need to keep your brand customer-centric in the moments of customer contact.
If you think mood doesn’t matter, think again. Moods are a huge determining factor in the decision-making process. People in a bad mood, even if they are loyal to your brand, may simply be turned off because of the mood they are feeling. Don’t take this topic lightly and don’t label it as some new age approach. This is your brands future and this needs to be asked and answered to tap into the feelings of those that matter most. Vanity metrics and data will never give you the full picture required to make a true connection.
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education