Instant Branding Through Viral Email

Martin Lindstrom, author of several best-selling branding books including his latest, including Brand Sense : Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound provides some information on what he calls instant branding key ingredients, here are some of them:

  • Values. Define the values your brand’s communication is based on, if you didn’t when you designed the brand. Your brand’s values are what define your brand’s identity. These values will lead you to discover interesting instant branding opportunities and enable you to make the most of them when the opportunity arises.
  • Insight. Dedicate someone in your organization or agency to identify breaking news stories or news-driven trends. Be prepared to grasp opportunities as they appear. The faster you react, the better the distribution you secure. So, select people to keep an eye and ear on popular culture, current affairs, and personalities.
  • Courage. Create an instant branding team of two or three creative people. The team should meet, brainstorm, and generate five or six ideas to propel news-driven instant branding campaigns. Then, be prepared to accept the consequences of whatever they come up with.
  • Judgment. Be extremely critical. Can the idea create the right momentum and generate the right distribution for your brand? Always ask yourself: would your competitor send the e-mail on because of its irresistibility? Be critical about the message. Test the idea among a range of friends who represent a spectrum of personalities, religious persuasions, nationalities, and backgrounds.
  • Prudence. Don’t be overtly promotional. If your message is tainted by even a fraction of self-promotion, no one will forward it. The message must feel authentic.

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5 Dimensions of Brand Identity

Brand identity is composed of various shares that trigger particular responses in consumers in addition to filling the afore-mentioned functions. These shares build on one another; the more shares a brand has, the stronger and more positive the relationship with consumers.

Mind

At the very lowest level, mind share must be created in the consumer consciousness (cognitive level). This means that, as a complex perceptual and conceptual construct, the brand evokes an internal neural representation in the minds of consumers, leaving behind certain brand impressions.

Heart

This refers to the emotional relationship a consumer should develop with a brand. Heart share is less a matter of a product’s functional utility and more a matter of its symbolic attributes. The buyer of a Ferrari, for instance, will not develop an affection for the car based purely on functional attributes, but rather as a result of the values associated with the brand and the brand environment it operates in.

Buying intentions

Brand identity must trigger a buying intention share in consumers. After all, despite the importance of a brand’s mind and heart share, it only makes sense for a supplier to invest in brand identity if consumers will also want to buy the brand.

Self

Brand identity contributes to self share, which means that the brand functions as a manifestation of the self, a tangible expression of self-image within the social environment. In this context, brands serve self-expression and self-design purposes, differentiating the individual within the social group. Brands can easily serve similar ends in the realm of business-to-business, where they bolster self-image in terms of a company and its functions.

Legend

Here, the brand shares in the existential search for meaning conducted by a consumer in a world enlightened to the point of meaning-lessness and takes on a virtually religious character. This aspect sheds light on the cultural-sociological proposition that brand management is worshiping the customer. Brands allow consumers to achieve social position or status, to partake of cultural expression, to create mythology and shape meaning, and as a result, to weave themselves into the social and metaphysical fabric of the world. In this context, a loyal customer is a member of a community and an individual loyal to that community not just a customer who makes repeat purchases. A brand is a tool for building a sense of community and belonging, for building the community itself.