With so much talk about branding all over the internet these days, you'd think more people would have a stronger idea of what it really means to create a full, multidimensional brand.
There is still confusion over what it means to have a brand identity at all, and even less clarity around what it means to have a multidimensional brand identity. (When I say "multidimensional brand," I really just mean a brand that resonates with people on all levels: sensory, emotional, energetic.)
I'm here to break it down for you, so that you can fire up your own brand and make sure it's connecting with people in full, multidimensional ways.
People immediately think in terms of the visual, but it's really not about the visuals. Or at least, not just about visuals.
It's really all-encompassing: it's your brand's energy, tone, voice, values, and of course, overall client experience.
Anything that reaches people and interacts with them should fall in line with your brand's defined mission, values, and strategy.
It's about communication in total. What are you communicating, and why? (And then, after that, how are you communicating it?) Those are the questions you're looking to ultimately answer with your branding.
I like to use the terms "Visuals, Vibe, and Voice" to succinctly sum up the components of your brand, but it basically includes any client touchpoint, whether part of your marketing, or the services/products themselves.
These are the key foundational pieces that should inform all the rest of the decisions you make about your brand.
These include things like:
I consider your brand's Vibe to be the first of the triad to sort out. Why? Well, because energy trumps everything, so it makes sense to lead with that and allow it to inform all the individual choices you make related to strategy and design.
Vibe can feel a bit tricky, because it seems a little less tangible. It involves emotions. As in, how do you want your audience to feel when interacting with you and your brand? What do you want to inspire them to do, think, say in response?
This may run counter to many people's business instincts--it's easy to feel like when selling, or when transacting business, it's all about the facts and the dollars and everything that makes logical sense.
And while yes, people are definitely motivated by things like money and success...it's not actually what drives in-the-moment buying decisions. I mean, it is but it isn't.
Money for the sake of money isn't a motivator. The ideas of what that money will mean for the client personally are strong motivators. Success as a general concept isn't a motivator, either. But the client's personal vision of success, their own goals and dreams...yes, those are their real motivators.
See how one of those is general and not a real point of connection, and one is emotional and highly charged for the client? Guess which one is going to move people, and which one won't?
Emotional branding is so important, because of the real people who will be buying from you, and their real psychological motivations. Studies have shown that people buy based largely on emotional factors--how they feel about the product, how inspired they feel to take action, how much they believe in the promise of transformation or a certain result--and then use logic and facts simply to support and confirm that decision.
So start first with the emotional factors--get your energy just right, and speak directly to those emotional motivators. (They might not know why they feel drawn to you, but when it clicks and feels right, you just know.)
And then sweeten the deal with some facts and details that feel good to share and will increase the buyer's confidence in their emotionally-driven decision.
Ask yourself, what change or impact does your brand represent?
We can call it a tie between Visuals and Voice in terms of relative importance, because both are based on sensory input. However, most people tend to be highly visual, and the great thing about using visuals to communicate is that they can convey so much, even at first sight.
No crash course in design psychology from me here today, but just know it includes concepts like:
This is why a logo that connects deeply to your brand's full identity is so important: because it's basically the simplified graphic representation of your entire brand's essence, distilled down to something your audience should be able to feel at a single glance.
Which is exactly why we always lead with energy--or Vibe. Because if your audience is to feel something related to your brand's visuals, you should know what it is they're feeling and why.
Your Voice is the last key piece of the trifecta. This includes things like:
All of these, of course, should follow your brand's mission and goals, in a way that speaks (quite literally) to your ideal customer's needs and what resonates with them emotionally.
This is by no means exhaustive, and the cool thing about energy is that it's always moving. Your brand shouldn't stay static; it should evolve with the times and as your audience's needs (and your own work and experiences) shift over time.
The other fun thing about energy is its ethereal nature. You can really go as deep as you like with it. Get specific, lay it all out for yourself, tap into exact qualities and missions your business wants to express through your brand's identity. (Make it a whole spiritual experience! It's exhilarating.)
Or leave it as an outline and general set of principles to guide your choices, and let it all flow and develop as it will.
It's completely up to you, as the creator and director of your multidimensional brand.
If you want more tailored guidance on your journey to channeling your own multidimensional brand, I'd love to collaborate with you!