Finding and Keeping Your Brand Truth

In 2019, a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl broadcast cost over $5 million representing a significant investment for even the largest advertisers.  One of the most memorable spots from the 2019 Super Bowl (perhaps for the wrong reasons) was the Bud Light “Special Delivery” commercial.  The ad tells the tale of a barrel of corn syrup being delivered to the Bud Light castle, prompting the king to search for its rightful owner, Miller Lite.

Before the new campaign, did beer drinkers know, or care, about corn syrup in their beer?  Has Bud Light lost its way by focusing so overtly on the ingredients in, or not in, its beer?  Have they missed why brand loyalists prefer Bud Light over the myriad of other beer choices?  Has Bud Light lost sight of their brand truth?

One could argue (or Bud Light could argue) that being truly authentic means being fully transparent by disclosing and promoting product ingredients.   But to build and maintain a strong brand, you must be consistent.  Strong brands don’t change their brand promise, they communicate their meaning, their purpose, their truth in everything they do.  While the cheeky tone of the Bud Light spot is consistent with the brand personality, messaging that promotes Bud Light as a healthier beer vs competitors is just not true to the brand.

In March 2019, Vogue Magazine ran a story about the San Francisco-based clothing brand Everlane … “Tell Them Everything – Everlane’s ‘radically transparent’ approach has secured the clothing maker legion of fans.”   The Everlane mission, and entire business strategy, is based on transparency – ethically-sourced factories, materials and products designed to last, and product pricing based on the true cost of manufacturing each item without the retail markup.   The Everlane mission and brand speaks to the core of who they are as a company, what they do and why they do it.

The Path to Finding Your Brand Truth

  1. Understand your company’s vision and how it connects to your brand’s meaning, purpose and promise.
  2. Identify your competitors and discover opportunities where your brand is different, and better, than the competition.
  3. Develop insights into your target audience to reveal both current perceptions and future expectations of the brand.
  4. Clearly define what the brand stands for and what makes it unique. This central idea is the heart of the brand, the brand truth.

Commit to Keeping Your Brand Truth

  1. Communicate with an authentic voice that clearly conveys the purpose and promise of the brand.
  2. Establish a meaningful connection with customers by expressing the emotional benefits the brand brings to its customers.
  3. Provide a consistent experience at every contact point with the customer. This seamless integration of the company vision, brand promise and visual brand creates a customer experience that is reliably authentic.

Successful brands are clear, relevant and true.  Good brands become great brands by staying true to who they are, and embracing their brand promise, as they respond to new market opportunities and prepare for the future.


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