The sole on my previous walking boots had been falling apart for at least six months, bits of rubber peeling off the bottom after each wear. The lasted two years despite the fact that they were an emergency last-minute cheapest-available-just-incase purchase (£15!) but it was time to replace them with something much better. So I did.
My new walking boots have a vibram sole which apparently means they’re lightweight, grippy and long-lasting. They’re waterproof so I can step in a deep muddy puddle and not get wet feet. I’ve tested this. The tongue isn’t separate, it’s attached to the shoe on each side, presumably to help with the waterproofing. This might be a totally normal feature of walking boots (I hope so!) – it wasn’t actually mentioned anywhere so I didn’t know until they arrived.. I went with leather boots because I feel like they might last better than the trainer-style walking boots you can get. I hope I’m right!
I chose them after reading a review where someone had owned the same boots for six years and they were still going strong. Then I tried a few different pairs of boots – but these were still top of my list. I’d rather buy to last than buy to replace.
This is how I approach branding too.. you should buy to last, working on your brand is something you will never stop doing, but the initial work and the visuals created are not there to replace after a short period.
And the other pairs of boots weren’t very comfortable. One pair was too tight and the other was higher and hurt my leg when I walked. So this pair won. I’ve bought leather conditioner and waterproofing wax to look after them. There was a lot of research went into this purchase and into the conditioner and wax too!
How much research do you do when you’re buying? (Reply and tell me!) I’m big on research. I make paper spreadsheets if I get stuck to help me compare. I have tabs open on my phone and my computer. I joined Which to make sure I bought the best washing machine. I read reviews, I watch videos.. I am a Product Research Addict. I like to know I’m making the best decision possible so I won’t regret what I’ve bought. (This is for things that matter. I don’t do this in Sainsbury’s.)
What do your customers need to know in order for them to make YOU their decision?
Can you tell them about the features and benefits of what you’re selling?
Can you let them see it first and show it off?
Do you have excellent reviews that they can read?
How can you get these in front of them so they see them?
Can you let them know what else they could buy to go with your product?
Can you demonstrate your brand values through your posts to help your product stand out?
Can you highlight what makes your business stand out?
What can you do to make your product addicts fill their paper spreadsheets with ticks and illegible notes?
How can you share this with them?
There are multiple touch-points where you have the chance to share something about your brand and your products. Think about each one and how you can use these moments to help your audience see that you’re the best choice.
If you look after your brand, it’ll last longer than my boots. When your brand gets mucky you can review it, fix it, remove the pieces that don’t belong. Condition it, work on it, improve it, tweak it as your business changes. Wax it, protect it by reviewing what you stand for, maintaining clarity, keeping your focus. If you polish it up and keep it away from the radiator then it won’t get cracks, it’ll stay strong.
I often say that branding is easy. And it is once you’ve put in the work. But it’s only easy if you look after it.
It’s worth it. Think of all of those brands who’ve lasted. Who’ve been around forever, who we know, we have an emotional connection with and we recognise. They’ve looked after their brands. They’ve put in the work. They may well have tweaked as needed (no matter how much you want to stay as you are, business, life, the economy, the world – it doesn’t stand still so you can’t either!) but they’ve stayed true to their brand throughout and remained recognisable and memorable. John Lewis has been Never Knowingly Undersold as a pricing policy since 1864 although the slogan didn’t come into use until 1925 and the Co-op has been about community since 1844. This is a long time to focus on the same things. Building strong brands that we all know and recognise and can talk about with some authority. Not that you have to wait until you’re as established as this to have a strong brand!
Your brand has the potential to be well known. To be recognised and remembered. To last beyond trends.
Doesn’t it feel like we are searching for the next trend all the time, the next new thing… trending music, trending sounds, trending topics, trending styles…? The thing with these are that the benefit of them is short lived. Let’s all make our brands pink with gold, let’s all add sparkle, let’s be flat, let’s be 3D, let’s use Pacifico, let’s start doing this thing because such and such is doing it..
The thing with trends is that everyone else is doing them too. Follow a trend and you blend in.
You don’t stand out by doing what other people do.
You stand out by being you. By being true to yourself and your brand. By doing things the branded way and not having your head turned by the Pantone colour of the year and the sparkle and the new font.. by following a style that doesn’t have substance for you, just because.
Trends don’t last.
Your brand should last. I’m taking care of those boots. I expect them to last for YEARS.
When they get mucky I’ll clean them, condition them, wax them. I’ll store them in a boot bag (or I will when I find it! I am pretty sure it’s in the car..)
What are the core beliefs of your brand? Focus on those and keep going.
Amy Purdie, The Brand Explorer takes you on an Adventure to discover what your brand is all about, helping you with your brand strategy, brand visuals and content ideas. You can join Amy’s Brand Success Club or join her in your very own Private Brand Adventure.
Amy has been enjoying designing logos, brand identities, illustration, print work and websites – since 2007 fuelled mainly by tea and chocolate.