Brand DNA: The Map To Your Marketing Strategy

DNA, the self-replicating carrier of genetic information in living organisms. How is this biological material even remotely relevant to the topic of brands and business? The fundamental and distinctive characteristics of a living being are dictated by DNA; who you are and how you are, your make-up. Brands need make-ups too, a story of where they came from and where they’re headed. Comparing your brand’s identity to DNA might be something you’ve already done, or something you never even thought could be done. However, the metaphor of DNA helps to illustrate how the essential components of your brand serve as a foundation for you to anchor your present and future hard work to.

A brand’s DNA is its blueprint, its map. Who thought of the brand’s concept, and where does that thought originate from? What are the brand’s values, what does it represent as an entity? What are the goals of the people or company supporting this brand? The vision behind a brand, its mission statement, its short and long term goals, all these emanate from this so-called DNA and pave the way for growing a single-cell idea into a complex, multifaceted and dynamic organism: YOUR brand.

You may already have your brand’s identity down and you may have already been operating according to your brand’s DNA for some time now. But, if you’re in the early stages of launching your business or even if you’re in the burgeoning-genius-idea stage, we’ve laid out the DNA of establishing your brand DNA right here:

Ask yourself WHY

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Think back on exactly what it was that motivated you to go out there and start your own thing. Was it a gap in the market in which you saw (or created, rather!) an opportunity for yourself to improve a lack of availability of a certain product? Were you trying to remedy a situation that you’ve been passionate about since you can remember? Or was it something else? WHY did you take a chance and create something of your own? Identifying this WHY will allow you to gain further insight into the basis of your business model.

Be a value true-blue

Making sure to properly identify your brand’s values and to consciously apply them throughout your operations is crucial. We have seen our share of those who skim the surface of this process without truly digging deep to determine which values are intrinsic to their brand’s identity as they unavoidably miss the boat when putting their image out there. Not only are values part of the core of your brand DNA, they are also a huge part of your marketing strategy, whether done consciously or not. Picking your values without truly living by them and applying them may work for a short while, but maintaining a façade will prove difficult in the long run. For example, some companies are all about the importance of great working conditions, others are about customer service, while some swear by premium quality product. Whatever your values may be, make sure that they really are your values, not just what you’d like your brand to stand for. After all, it’s really hard to fake DNA! Plus, staying true to your brand values will help you maintain a consistent following and customer base.

Determine what makes you stand out from the crowd

To distinguish yourself from your competitors is an obvious must. Yet, figuring out how to do so isn’t always so easy. Establishing yourself within your own niche can be tricky, but you can rely on a variety of approaches to appeal to your target consumers: is your price point unbeatable? Is your customer service beyond compare? Are your materials fit for royalty? There are so many angles to work with when it comes to setting yourself apart from the rest. Understanding who your brand is and where you position yourself within the market will help you determine what your approach should be.

Target markets

Grasping the WHO of your brand is one thing and narrowing down the WHO of you target customer is another. However, the two must meet at some intersection.

Your customers, who are they? How old are they, where do they live, what do they like, what do they do for work, do they work, do they travel, where do they travel?... You just want to know as much as possible. And you should, because every one of these bits of information could be key indications of your brand’s personality and DNA.

Your tone and your message

Your tone and message are the voice of your brand. By using the right tone to communicate your brand’s message, you can make certain that you are adequately conveying your brand’s fundamental values and who your brand is to your customers. Defining a particular way to communicate with your audience will uncover your brand’s character and personality and will ultimately help you reveal your brand DNA to who ever is out there watching and listening to your hook or elevator pitch and beyond.

The value of having a defined brand DNA is paramount. By blending the five points we just covered, you’ll have a good foundation for developing tools and strategies to forge your own path to marketing success.

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that straying from your brand values (and, by consequent, your brand DNA) will eventually be detrimental to the prosperity of your brand; here, we chose to use a simple example of this phenomenon to help us illustrate what we mean: the episode of the iPhone 5C. Apple had just come out with its most affordable phone option yet, drifting from their premium design and functionality business strategy ever so slightly to introduce a new colorful and, truthfully, plastic device designed to expand the scope of their pricing strategy towards a high-low strategy. If anything, this bold move might have even hurt their overall sales, according to former Apple Creative Director, Ken Segall. Needless to say, Apple pulled the plug on the device rather quickly, as their attempt to touch upon emerging markets did not reach the level of success the tech giant had anticipated.

Now we don’t mean to say that taking risks and testing the waters are a hard no; our goal is to highlight the importance of staying true to your brand’s DNA.

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