Just as each human has DNA, every brand has a formula that epitomizes what it stands for. A brand’s DNA should create an emotional connection with the consumer through all of its communication channels and ultimately through the product or service a brand provides.
DNA = Brand attributes + Values + Operational Culture
- Personality & attributes: Is your brand optimistic? Serious? Active? Personality defines how your brand functions on the the emotional level.
- Values: What are the foundational morals your brand chooses to follow? These determine how your brand makes decisions.
- Operational Culture: What are your brand’s habits, communication methods, management systems? These processes determine how your brand operates internally.
Unlike the relatively fixed nature of human genomes, brand DNA is susceptible to manipulation. The difficulty is that businesses, unlike humans, consist of several different individuals working together. Whereas humans are born into the world with predetermined DNA ingrained in them, brands are not encoded with one singular, permanent directive. Their DNA can be modified.
The challenge this poses is the freedom that brands have to change themselves in a way humans cannot. People are born into one body whether they like it or not, but businesses are built from scratch and therefore can aim to become what they desire. Moreover, groups are not binded by one sole mind, one body, one personality, so brands have a tendency to wander. When there are several different people and forces involved, the business is more at risk of being tugged in random directions. Especially in a competitive marketplace, there are several distracting factors that can lead a brand to chase what others have or try new things.
The key to overcoming the challenge is ensuring that every member of the brand’s team has a firm understanding of the DNA formula. While having several bodies as part of one organization can be a risk, teamwork is also a brand’s greatest advantage. A brand, more than any individual person, has the potential to create a powerful culture and emotional response from consumers, as long as the DNA formula is carefully constructed and consistently maintained by the collective. Unity in a team is not always a given, but keeping brand DNA in tact can be achieved through disciplined processes and excellent leadership.
To ensure that everyone unites rather than tears the brand apart, there needs to be consistent procedures and measures in place that maintain discipline. Without discipline, the entire formula falls apart. We are not suggesting discipline through dictatorial manners - that no longer works in this day and age. However, we believe in structure and careful organization as the key to discipline. There is no exact right or wrong method, so it’s up to each company to determine its own rituals and processes that are best suited to meet its goals.
It is the responsibility of all working members to consistently strive towards the same ultimate goals and the best way to ensure this is to have the brand’s DNA formula made available and easy to understand. The best way to accomplish this is to have each of the three above elements written into a Brand Bible. Follow our upcoming series on The Brand Bible to find out how you can build your own!