This post is the second in a series of four, outlining my definition of TRUE Branding. TRUE is an acronym for True, Relevant, Unique and Engaging, and applies to my rules for successful branding.

The Series posts will be titled:

1. TRUE Brands – Part 1, True Brands Just Start the Journey.
2. TRUE Brands – Part 2, It’s Not You, Really.
3. TRUE Brands – Part 3, How Do You Scare a Brand with a Cold? Unique Up On It!
4. TRUE Brands – Part 4, Conversation is So… Engaging.

Really, once you’ve established your brand on Truth, (see my first post in this series) the focus on you – whether you provide a service or a product – is basically moot. Now you need to figure out how your brand is relevant.

One of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, had a catch phrase in it that surpassed even the popularity of the movie.

“If you build it, they will come.” Spoken in just a whisper, it inspired a farmer, Ray Kinsella, to go against conventional wisdom and build a baseball field, plowing over 40-plus acres of his farm. Beautiful. Simple. Romantic…

But sometimes I wonder if clients actually take the “if you build it…” statement a little too far. “I have this widget… why isn’t anyone buying it?!?”

In the movies, the relevance (or benefit) of a dream sometimes goes as given. In marketing and communications, it’s a mistake to assume that the relevance of your service, product (whatever) will immediately be accepted or even understood by your intended market.

In Marty Neumeier’s book “The Brand Gap,” (check it out online) he talks about marketing evolution and how “brand” relevance has evolved. Neumeier says,

“We’ve moved from a one-size-fits-all economy to a mass-customization economy, the attention of marketing has shifted from features, to benefits, to experience, to tribal identification.”

He goes on to say,

“…selling has evolved from an emphasis on ‘what it has,’ to ‘what it does,’ to ‘what you’ll feel,’ to ‘who you are.’ This demonstrates that… personal identity has become even more important.”

Relevance is a powerful thing. As children we join particular teams, attend specific schools, and relate wholly to how relevant you are to others in “the tribe.” So why wouldn’t your market define themselves by the brands they choose as well?

Today, it’s not as easy as just communicating the features of your product or service. You need to relate the benefit of that product or service to your market. Without TRUE relevance, you’re going to have a very lonely brand.

Does your brand create a sense or desire of belonging in your market? Or does your brand leave them wanting more… or, God forbid, less? Can you identify TRUE brands that you “relate to” on a tribal level?

I bet you can without even thinking too hard about it…

How Do You Scare a Brand with a Cold? Unique Up On It!

Keep Cooking!

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