When thinking of branding, what comes to mind? Do you think of a well-designed logo, modern and cohesive color schemes, a cool look? Most people stop with just one of the five senses—seeing—when branding their business. This technique of focusing on just visual branding can result in other, more powerful marketing tools being overlooked.
Five Types of Non-Visual Branding That Are Underutilized
Here are a few powerful non-visual branding elements that, when combined with traditional branding, can really help a company stand out clearly from the crowd.
1. Giving Customers a Sense of Your Mission and Values
When REI announced that they would keep their lights dark on Black Friday, one of the biggest days for retailers in the entire year, they sent a clear message about their values to their customers, employees and their own company. They could not be a company that promoted the outdoors and time with friends with family while at the same time keeping their employees working and enticing potential customers inside on a day when people might otherwise be spending time with family and friends outside. Their hashtag #OptOutside was a defining moment for the company and created a large amount of brand loyalty for their customers.
According to GeekWire, REI experienced a 10% increase in online traffic on Thanksgiving day, and a 26% increase in traffic on Black Friday. When you have a clearly defined philosophy, your business becomes more memorable and relatable to your customers. This in turn increases brand loyalty.
2. Using Storytelling to Your Brand's Advantage
We are all hard-wired to stories. They excite our interest, help us to remember things better, and pull at our heartstrings. Storytelling is such a powerful tool because it engages all of our senses. Stories give brands a sense of connection with their customers and make them want to be a part of that story too. Nike relied on the power of storytelling when it hired Michael Jordan to be its spokesperson. They consistently showcase the lives of real people who have overcome obstacles to achieve success, all while wearing Nikes.
3. Finding Your Brand's Voice
A brand's voice says who are the people behind a company. Establishing a unified voice builds trust and makes your brand recognizable and unique. The clothing retailer Anthropologie, for example, chose to broaden its language away from distinct fashion terms into more general terms that appeal to the senses.
4. Great Customer Service as a Brand Representative
Nothing builds brand loyalty like great customer service. For example, iInsurance and banking company USAA has legendary stories of its customer service helping people during emergencies and difficult times, and customers know they can always talk to a live human when they call.
5. Branding With Tactile Experiences
Touch is a powerful sense. You can leverage the power of touch through quality business cards that stand out. Try a heavier card stock, die-cutting, embossing, pop-up, unique materials, and even having them printed on an old-fashioned letterpress. Steve Wozniak has a card made of aluminum (like the Macbook Pro) and a riddle that you must solve in order to find his phone number. Pretty clever right?
As you can see, there many other ways to market your brand without relying completely on the power of visualization. Employing these distinct tools can help your company further its goals and reach more customers.