Create Zealots for Your Brand and Company
Why do people love Oprah so much? Why do they swear by their Starbucks coffee? There are thousands of brands we could name if we tried, but there are only a few for which we develop deep emotional attachments that go beyond loyalty. In Primal Branding, advertising guru Patrick Hanlon reveals the secrets of branding while describing the elements that create communities of believers around certain brands. The seven components he describes form the links between the public’s imagination and their favorite brands. Understanding them is vital for marketers and company leaders who want to attract customers to their new and old offerings.
Hanlon describes branding in terms of delivering primal code. He writes that there are seven brand messages that have to be delivered to create preferential brand appeal.
Hanlon explains that together, these pieces of primal code create a belief system. This means brands can bring their companies the vital advantages of trust, vibrancy, empathy, commitment, leadership, values, community, vision and relevancy. He writes that by putting the “seven pieces of primal code” together, companies can create “a belief system and products and services that people can believe in.”
Seven Pieces of Code
The following seven assets help to manage the intangibles of a brand:
- The Creation Story. Hanlon writes, “Where you come from is as important for people to know as what you believe and what your advantages are.” Every belief system comes with a story. When Sherwood Schwartz was asked why his shows Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch began with a theme song that outlined the story’s premise, he said, “Because the confused do not laugh.” Hanlon points out that the confused do not buy, either.
- The Creed. Defining, understanding and communicating your mission to employees and customers is critical to your brand’s success. Coke lets everyone know “It’s the real thing.” Nike says, “Just do it.” Campbell’s makes it clear that “Soup is good food.” Hanlon explains that the creed is what you want people to believe.
- The Icons. Brand identity and brand values resonate from icons and their instant concentrations of meaning. Many icons are simply the company logo: Nike’s swoosh, Target’s red bull’s eye, Starbucks' mermaid, etc. People in the public eye can also become icons for their brand, such as Virgin’s Richard Branson or Microsoft’s Bill Gates. When developing a visual icon, companies should find those that attract attention and radiate the values of authority, leadership and confidence.
- The Rituals. Hanlon writes, “Rituals are the repeated interaction that people have with your enterprise,” and they can be imbued with either positive or negative meaning. Companies must consider how they can make these touch points with their brands and ideology more pleasant, engaging, enhanced, simplified, less frustrating and more fun. For example, Aveda builds instant connection with its customers with scalp massages, which relax them and help them to communicate with their stylist.
- The Pagans. For every believer, there is a nonbeliever. These pagans allow believers to define themselves through contrast. By defining the pagans, you define who you are by demonstrating the antithesis of your position. That’s why 7Up declared itself the “uncola” and Taco Bell wants us to “think outside the bun.” Understanding the pagans helps you open up opportunities to manifest your potential for what you can become.
- The Sacred Words. You must know a group’s sacred words to belong within that group. These sacred words set people apart from others and bind them together as members of a group. This specific language helps them work together effectively. Words like “iced grande skinny decaf latte” help us define and distinguish ourselves.
- The Leader. Hanlon writes, “All successful belief systems have a person who is the catalyst, the risk taker, the visionary, the iconoclast ...”
By defining these seven elements and showing how they can be used to make brands more valuable and powerful, Hanlon helps companies make their brands a necessary and desired part of the culture.
Why We Like This Book
Primal Branding offers a fresh outlook on branding that resonates with insightful observations and timely lessons. With many examples from the past and present, Hanlon shows companies how to get brands into the minds of their customers. Experiences and advice from other experts help Hanlon guide companies to their next great brands.