This is it – the final instalment in the Box Creative Strategy Series…. And it’s the icing on the cake, the cherry on top and the powerful final step in building the brand you love: the Core Idea.
So far in this strategy series we have looked at the 4 areas to address how to build a solid brand that can go to market with confidence, differentiation and with a clear proposition. We have covered your why, your distinction, your values and look and feel.
What is a brand CORE IDEA?
The concept of the CORE IDEA is simple - it’s the sum of all these things into a nugget, sentence or concept that feeds your entire brand activities moving forward: it sits at the centre of your business and inspires everything you do. It is the reason you exist, what drives you to deliver value to your customers, every day.
Every brand worth its weight has a something that drives it, something special that sets it apart – its essence, its CORE IDEA.
Why do I need one?
It determines future directions: Having one clear reason for being will help articulate your messaging, develop your visual identity and help differentiate your offerings.
Connect with your audience, emotionally: When you create a brand from a simple, clear idea that resonates with your audience, you can build brand love. This occurs through developing a strong association and relationship between your customer, your brand and your idea.
Sets you apart: Creating one core brand idea and focusing your branding around this exaggerates and clarifies to your audience and competitors exactly what it is that sets your brand apart.
Simply communicate and live your values: Having a core brand idea removes confusion for all stakeholders and cements what it is your brand will always stand for.
Strengthen your visual identity: Logos, colour, imagery styles and the language you use will all be clarified once you narrow down your core brand idea. A brand's concept is used to give consistency to a brand's identity.
This concept may seem abstract, but the POWER of identifying your CORE IDEA is disproportionate to the words on the page when you get it right:
It clarifies your message.
It aligns your team.
Drives your operations.
It informs your product and service developments.
Help you to communicate clearly and effectively through every touchpoint.
Connect with your audience and customers.
Provides focus on what sets you apart.
Carves out the mind space with your clients as the ‘go to’ in your field.
How do I find my CORE IDEA?
If you’ve been working through my strategy series, you should be able to write the following statements:
“The role of _________ in the lives of its audience is to _________”
“We are unique because_______ and the proof is. _______”
“We care about _______ We stand for _______”
“We show up in a _______ manner, we look and feel _______”
If you missed any of the previous blogs in the series, see them here:
In here is some real insight. Try sorting these fragments into themes, patterns of language.
Don’t be afraid to share, cut, copy, scrap and start again.
Once you get your single word or clear articulate statement, it will feel right, it’ll be an epiphany.
Consider something that talks to these three elements:
I find a combination of these three words or concept that capture these elements is a strong CORE IDEA proposition.
When you have that light bulb moment, you’ll know it’s right when you can apply this to to every aspect of the business and it will hold up - internally, externally, operations, ethos, how you speak to you customers, everything.
Examples of CORE IDEAS:
Take Apple’s: Enriching lives.
This goes far beyond product and technologies, rather talks to the higher benefits, aspirational qualities and purpose that sits at the heart of each Apple product, that drives it. As a member of the Apple enclave, I can say that Apple products bring so much joy through its clean design, precision, beauty and simplicity. It connects my world with others, my family, friends and clients and allows me to operate efficiently and effectively, beautifully. This is a brand-led business not product-led.
Some other examples from my clients:
It must be grounded, doable and authentic.
This needs to be something the team and board can grasp, buy into and implement- it must come directly from your values, vision and purpose, not your commercial intent.
This is also not a marketing campaign or slogan exercise.
What do I do with it?
The core idea that runs through every vein of a successful brand informs its larger personality; it serves as a foundation for the brand’s vision, values and core competencies. This idea—which managers should be able to articulate succinctly—serves as a raison d’être; it makes the brand unique and implies a promise to the customer.
Ideally, it makes the buyer feel like the product was made for them.
The simplicity of this core idea is vital to creating a brand identity that is consistent and instantly recognisable.
The core idea of the brand should impact both internal and external “touch points,” or points at which the brand interacts with customers, employees or other relevant individuals.
What a CORE IDEA should deliver:
• It creates an emotional connection with your customers
• It is distinct, re-imagining the way we think, act or feel
• It has value as a topic for discussion, due to being resonant and meaningful
• It pierces through any cultural and ethnical borders, connects with people at a deeper level
• It is universal, can be communicated across all media platforms
So, what’s your CORE IDEA? How will you build a brand identity system, embed behaviours and nurture this concept across your business?
Once unleashed, this is a force of nature that will help you grow with confidence, alignment and focus.