Brands offer their products along with a set of feelings. Customers experience these feelings when they interact with the brand and form perceptions about the same.
This set of perceptions about what the brand is actually known for in the industry is the brand essence.
What Is Brand Essence?
Brand essence is the feeling customers expect when they interact with the brand. It is that customer-perceived intangible attribute that separates the brand from the rest of the market players.
Brand essence defines a company’s raison d’etre – consider it to be the soul or DNA of a brand that can be felt everywhere where the brand is present. It brings together the concepts of the company’s goals, the value proposition, and the brand values and principles.
Brand essence = What the company does + its value propositions + brand values and principles
Usually, companies define their brand essence by using a couple of words – like Nike’s ‘Innovation and Inspiration’. What’s worth pondering here is that we see innovation and inspiration in everything Nike does and sells – be it its shoes, TV ads, or sponsored events.
Brand Essence Is Emotional
Brand essence is intangible. It isn’t a commodity or service that the brand offers, it is the feeling evoked in the customers when they hear about the brand name, interact with it, and consume its offerings.
It is the customer’s perspective of the brand, which differentiates it from others. Take the example of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Even though these companies offer similar products and have the same target audience, their essence differs. People think of happiness and good experiences whenever they think of Coca-Cola. But Pepsi carries the spirit of youthfulness with its name.
Brand Essence Is Holistic
The essence of the brand is its soul. It accompanies the brand whenever it interacts with the target group – be it advertising, promotion, sales, packaging, or marketing.
Importance Of Brand Essence
Brand essence is the emotional benefit the customers get when they interact with the brand or buys its product. It’s not related to the innovation or the product that is offered. Hence, it stays even when the brand performs poorly.
The brand essence forms the personality of the brand. It helps the customers assign a human-like trait to the brand, which helps them identify it using just an emotion. Besides this, it is also important for –
Brand essence drives the demand for the brand’s products over and above their actual utility. It helps a brand build a story around its offerings. It’s easier to sell products to the customers if they already know what the brand is known for.
Appeal To Higher Expectations
Brand essence helps build bonds with the customers based on emotions. Brand wars, today, is more than just price wars. It’s more related to customers’ emotional expectations and what they feel while using the brand. Brand essence helps the marketers fulfil the emotional expectations of the customers and build a bond with them.
Brand essence, combined with the vision statement, mission statement, business goals, and brand promise, helps a brand maintain consistency in what it offers, how it offers, and what the customer feels when consuming its offerings.
Characteristics Of Brand Essence
A strong brand essence statement has the following characteristics –
- Unique: It is exclusive and helps the brand stand out from the competition. Brand essence helps the brand create its own identity in the market.
- Intangible: Brand essence isn’t a tangible property like the price and product features. It’s an elusive feeling.
- Customer Defined: Brand essence is defined by the customers. The company’s job is only to make them see in a particular direction.
- Meaningful: A meaningless essence is as good as no essence. Brand essence represents the company’s offerings, its value proposition, and its values and principles.
- Consistent: Brand essence is consistent in every interaction of the brand with the customer.
- Sustainable: Brand essence is not related to the tangibles like name or logo that can be changed over time. It is constant, resilient, and sustainable. It is that feeling that takes the brand forward even if it changes its name.
- Scalable: Brand essence cannot be changed doesn’t mean it doesn’t grow and scale. It always expands and adds depth to itself as and when the business grows.
Brand Essence Example
Brand essence is essentially the promise of the feeling a brand delivers whenever it interacts with the customer.
The best part?
This feeling cannot be faked. It is built when the brand actually delivers.
Here are a few examples of brand essence statements of some notable brands –
BMW – Driving Pleasure
The BMW brand essence is actually what separates the company from other players of the luxurious cars segment. The company sees design to be the most important purchase reason for its customers. Hence, it makes sure that they see BMW as a brand that focuses on elegant design and provides the real driving pleasure a luxurious car should provide.
Coca-Cola – Sharing and Happiness
Coca-Cola has always positioned itself to be a part of a happy experience. While others try to center themselves around refreshment and satisfaction, Coca-Cola’s brand essence is that it becomes part of the experience.
Apple – Think Different
Apple’s brand essence is simplicity. The company thinks differently to make the life of their customers easier by making them have access to the latest technology. A simple description of what the customer feels whenever it interacts with Apple is – this company ensures that I get access to the latest technology by making it easy-to-use.
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A startup consultant, dreamer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 50 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.