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January 25, 2019

Getting to the heart of your business – and audience – with emotional branding

Tempe Nakiska

Establishing a successful brand today is no piece of cake. The landscape is more crowded than ever, and, according to Forbes Magazine, 9 out of 10 start ups fail. Consumer behaviour is changing, and the influences on purchasing decisions are becoming more complex by the minute. Meanwhile, brands are evolving to match rapidly shifting trends and expectations. How to navigate all this as a fledgling brand? According to brand strategist Mirela de Lacerda, it’s all about emotional branding. With Project M, the founder, brand strategist and mentor helps businesses understand their why, who, and what, in order to build a relevant – and successful – brand. Ahead of her talk at The Collective Old Oak this week, we asked her a few questions to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself – who are you, and how did you get here? 

Mirela: With 15 years’ experience in the fashion and beauty industries, my work combines research, strategy and cultural aspects in order to create strong brand stories. A background as a fashion journalist and lecturer allowed me to understand the market challenges from different perspectives, which motivated the creation of my first consulting business, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Working with major fashion companies, I realised that a lack of clear identity was the main obstacle in their growth, leading to the research of Jung’s archetypes as a branding strategy. During my MA course at London College of Fashion, the concept was further explored on case studies about British brands. After identifying a market gap, I created Project M London to help brands understand what is their unique motivation, meaning and mindset.

What are the three most important parts of building a brand?

The first thing is to understand the why – what’s the reason you are building a brand and why it’s relevant to the market?

To compete in any industry, you have to bring something unique and meaningful because consumers are feeling overwhelmed and impatient with so many choices and so much noise. If you can’t be clear about what you do and why you do it, it’s going to be challenging to touch your audience. The second thing is knowing who they are, but not in an aspirational way. Finding potential consumers and talking to them is essential to create a brand that talks to a target audience from day one, so getting customer feedback can never be overlooked. The final step is to create the brand mindset, the ‘codes’ that will translate the identity into tangible elements, from logo to packaging, going through colour palette, product style, tone of voice etc. Aligning these three aspects is key to building a relevant, well-positioned brand.

What is emotional branding, and why is it important?

When we buy a brand we establish an emotional connection with it, even though we try to justify it rationally (usually saying it’s about the best price or quality). So the branding process is an emotional one, it’s about understanding what emotions you are addressing and how your consumers relate to them. In my experience, the best way to do it is applying archetypes because they bring together image + emotion, creating an instant, almost instinctive identification.

Archetypal brands have a competitive advantage because they ‘decode’ the deep human truth underlying the company and understand who they really are, giving meaning to all aspects of the business and providing a consistent, long-run plan to rely on.

What are some common misconceptions about emotional branding? What do entrepreneurs tend to overlook?

The most common misconception is looking into archetypes as stereotypes, in a superficial way that doesn’t really address the motivation behind the brand. Entrepreneurs tend to overlook this stage of the business development because they think they can come back or fix it later, but creating the brand identity is like having a compass, it will direct every single action and strategy and lead the company in the right direction.

What can members expect from your talk at The Collective?

They can expect to see a different way of looking into the branding process and to learn easy steps that will lead to the creation of meaningful and unique companies.

Project M will give their talk series, ‘Emotional Branding’, this month, beginning at 8pm, Monday 28th January at The Collective Old Oak. Members can head to the app to sign up. 

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