Branding Beyond the Box

How You Go Beyond the Custom Box to Create Lasting Value

What happens beyond the box can make the difference. We’ll talk often about how a custom box will help you build your brand. We’re BoxUp. It’s what we do (Thank you, Geico ®). We also know finding value in your brand, even defining your brand, can be elusive. But it is all-important that you work hard to find that value. A beautiful custom box, a crafty jingle – it can all be for naught if it isn’t supported by the brand.

So, what is the brand? A logo? Sure, the visual identity is part of it. A brand is more, though. A brand is all of the associations, feelings and imagery someone attaches in their mind (and heart) to your company or product. On some level, it’s this fuzzy idea of “essence” – that thing that defines your brand in real, human terms. A few elements of brand:

  • Tone of Voice: Is there a gravity to your brand? Or is it light and airy? Is your brand buttoned-up like a 100-year-old Wall Street firm? Or is it laid back and fun like Ben and Jerry’s.
  • Positioning: Is there one word your brand ‘stands for?’ In the world of fast food, does your brand stand for ‘Fresh’, like Subway? Can others make the same claim? How can you stake out that territory amongst your competition? This leads to the question of:
  • Differentation: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also rampant in almost any field of business. So, how do you differentiate? Maybe you’re like Southwest, with its relentless focus to making domestic air travel accessible to the masses.
  • Relevance: Are you connecting with your customers? Are you staying in tune with their lives? The biggest and best consumer marketing companies have, for years, led the way in their alignment with customer needs and desires. Some disruptive changes like Amazon and the Internet have opened the door for new challengers. Biggies, like P&G are fighting back and adjusting to maintain relevance.

So, how do you “execute” your brand?

Put another way, how do the strategies and tactics of your business support and elevate the brand? If you’ll pardon the use of marketing jargon, the question we’re seeking to answer is, “how does the brand shine through in its ‘touchpoints?’” Touchpoints? Does the way your phone gets answered match with the essence of your brand? Is your positioning paid off by the content that shows up on your Facebook page or how you respond to the posts of those who follow you on social media? Are all of these touchpoints coordinated, or do they exist in a vacuum?

There are many examples of brands and companies who understand this concept of touchpoints. At an Etsy conference we participated in, several shop owners related the gratification that came from paying attention to such details. The best example came from a handmade crafter who responds to customers using a handwritten note on stationery. On a bigger scale, but something within our sphere, is the packaging of Apple products. The company became famous in personal computing for its user-friendly interface and elegant machines. As they developed more compact retail products, they also became known for their packaging – creating packages so well designed and put-together, they practically created an entire category of fan videos (“Unboxing”).

Are you doing everything you can?

There is a tremendous opportunity in creating your own custom box. The thing that puts your marketing effort over the top though, may be some of the little things you do in conjunction with the custom box. So, don’t hesitate to throw in a note or a small gift into that box. Or give special attention to a customer who has returned back to you when other options are available. Build the brand. Go beyond the box!

Reading recommendation: a great book on making your business remarkable is “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin.