Here, at our Colorado branding agency, we refer to these brands as “Wildstory Brands.” They are not like other brands. They have that “it” factor. They don’t sell products but rather they enroll customers into their world view. They stand for something in this world and it isn’t just about selling things -- although that is important.
Wildstory Brands get momentum and are leaders in their space.
After years of working with brands at our Colorado Branding Agency, Wildstory, we’ve found that great brands do not happen accidentally but are intentionally built. If you want to be a Wildstory Brand -- a brand that stands out, wildly attracts the best employees and customers, and commands higher prices -- you’re going to have to set the intention, roll up your sleeves, and do the work.
I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. It’s not. If you want an easy solution please stop reading and go do something else. This article and this mission is not for you. I hate to break it to you, but if you want “easy”, then building a great brand isn’t for you. It’s hard work. It’s constant work. But if you’re up for it, building a Wildstory Brand is the most satisfying and rewarding work you’ll do.
For most Wildstory Brands it’s the great work of their lives. It’s who they are and who they want to be. It’s about building a shared vision of a world they want to live in and taking their customers along for the ride.
Sound like your company or the company you want to build? Does this sound like a brand you want to get behind and build? If you’re up for the challenge and ready to do the work then keep reading, because this is how you become a Wildstory Brand.
10 principles to become a Wildstory Brand
1. It MUST start with strategy
A Wildstory Brand knows that every project begins with strategy. Why? Because it tells us what the heck we are going to do. Brand Strategy is specifically putting a plan together to outmaneuver the competition. Brand, brand management, branding, brand storytelling, and brand building is no longer purely the domain of the marketing department.
Brand is not your logo, your colors, your website, or even your marketing.
Your brand IS your business strategy.
We never work with a client that says “I just need a…” That is a recipe for disaster. Oftentimes what a client wants isn’t what they need. You may want a new logo, but what you need is a redefined brand promise that makes a logo mean something. You may want a new website but what you need is to first understand who your customer is and how you fulfill what they want. You may want new packaging, but what you need are more sales that will only happen if you articulate your beliefs and values.
The path to happy branders and happy clients starts with brand strategy. We are committed to happy clients and client customers and as such, it must start with brand strategy.
2. Purpose aka Why
Wildstory Brands have a clear “why” aka vision, mission, or greater purpose. They know that businesses solve real problems and can change the world… and fight for changing it for the better. A Wildstory Brand forces people to choose. Choose your brand or not choose your brand. Either option is great. We want to attract those customers we can enroll in our future vision of the world and repel those who never will.
Wildstory Brands believe in providing refreshment of strength and spirit, after our work day. Après is the cornerstone of their business but it is also the cornerstone of their culture. Wildstory Brands believe in the Après externally and internally. It’s a commitment to understanding that we are changing the world every time we make a moment that matters for our customers and our employees.
4. Culture = Brand
A Wildstory Brand knows that the internal culture is the external brand. They are clear that you can’t be loved by your customers if you don’t love yourself. Inspiration comes from the inside out. Wildstory brands work at building intentional cultures that support their greatest asset - their people.
5. Be Extraordinary
A Wildstory Brand promises something different. Something special. A promise that stands out and gets the world talking. A Wildstory Brand is not a copycat brand. There is something unique about the approach to the market. There is an air of courage that drives the brand to be different. There is the ability to claim “we are the only…”
A Wildstory Brand makes a public declaration of who they are, what they stand for, and shouts their anthem. Wildstory brands create manifestos that move people to action.
"A manifesto is your brand's Magna Carta, your Rosetta Stone, and Declaration of Independence all rolled up into one. It's the halftime locker room speech given by the CEO. The words the founder heard on the mountaintop before bringing down the stone tables. Reading a great brand manifesto should make you want to run out and try the product. You should feel the brand fighter in your bones." - Luke Sullivan, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This!
Wildstory brands have manifestos that make people feel alive and say “I want that!” or “That’s me!”
7. Make your customer the hero of their own story
A Wildstory Brand makes their customer the hero of their own story when using your product or service. A Wildstory brand understands that they must communicate features and benefits but when a brand can help a person become the person they want to be, the brand will have truly loyal customers that buy from them again and again.
8. Ask What if?
A Wildstory Brand must be adventurous. It must be willing to constantly ask “What if?” What if we did something totally crazy…? What if we held ourselves to a higher standard…? What if we approached our industry in a way that has never been done before…? A Wildstory Brand must be willing to go on an adventure of the unknown and unexpected if they want to be truly great. Copycat brands play it safe and do what is expected. Wildstory Brands surprise and delight their customers because they wonder what could be. If your brand goals aren’t a bit scary then maybe you’re not asking “What if…?”
A Wildstory Brand knows that by telling our customers who we are it tells them who they are. And this one is a little complicated because often, when our customers tell us who they are it tells us who we are as well. Wildstory brands create content that adds value beyond their own products and services. Content that is desired instead of deleted upon delivery. A Wildstory Brand tells the carefully crafted story of their brand and how it interacts, intersects, and inspires their customer over and over again.
10. Never stop branding
A Wildstory Brand knows that great brand building is not a “one and done” or a “set it and forget it” proposition. Brands are imagined and executed by people and as a result act like people (surprise). Which means brands are born, grow, learn, mature, evolve, adapt, change, and self-reflect. Combine a brand's evolution with the ever changing world in which it operates and it is easy to see why branding and brand building is a fluid, “always on” discipline. Ferris Bueller said it best, “Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It.” We translate this wisdom into, “Never stop branding… or you’ll be branded.”
Think you have what it takes to become a Wildstory Brand? Let us know in the comments or schedule a clarity call today and start your journey to being a Wildstory Brand.
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