2024 & The State of Your Brand

In the world of branding, there’s a saying that holds more truth than many might realize: “Your brand is not what YOU say it is, it’s what THEY say it is.” It’s a simple yet profound concept that underscores the importance of customer perception in shaping a brand’s identity. At Modern8, we echo this sentiment, guided by the wisdom of branding guru Marty Neumeier, who emphasizes that customer perception is not only crucial but also within our control.

 

A successful brand isn’t just about a logo or tagline; it’s about crafting both a strategy based on research and distillation and a cohesive narrative that resonates with your audience. This is where brand strategy comes into play, it is the foundation on which you build from. Think of it as the pillars that direct all your brand’s actions, behaviors, and communications. A well-defined brand strategy not only distinguishes you from the competition but also cultivates customer loyalty and, ultimately, helps you gain a larger share of the market.

 

So, what exactly does a brand strategy entail? It’s about clearly articulating what your company stands for and what sets it apart. It’s about identifying your unique value proposition and communicating it in a way that resonates with your target audience. In essence, it’s about answering the crucial question: “Why should customers choose us?”

 

Brands, like everything else, evolve. What worked for you yesterday might not work for you tomorrow. That’s where the idea of a rebrand comes into play. Yes, it’s a daunting prospect, with possible risks and uncertainties. But done right, a rebrand can breathe new life into your brand, revitalizing its image and rekindling customer interest.

 

In 2024, the landscape of branding is ever-changing, and if you’re not paying attention to what your customers are saying about you, you’re missing out on valuable insights. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and reassess your brand. Are you conveying the message you want to? Are you resonating with your audience in the way you intended?

 

In our next article, we’ll delve into the nuances of rebranding, refocusing, and refreshing your brand. But for now, take a moment to reflect on what you want your audience to feel and say when they interact with your brand. After all, your brand is more than just a logo—it’s the sum total of the experiences and perceptions that your customers associate with you.

 

Brand perception is in your control. What’s your winning strategy?

Pick Your Brand Perception illustrated graphic

How to Create a Brand Purpose

Before we delve into the intricacies of defining a brand’s purpose, take a moment to jot down a brief description of your company in 50 words or less. We’ll revisit this later. 

 

For many businesses, determining a purpose beyond financial objectives can be a daunting task. It requires introspection, thoughtful questioning, and a keen understanding of the underlying motivations that drive your daily operations. Start by asking yourself and your team probing questions. What inspires and fuels our work on a day-to-day basis? Is there a deeper significance in what we do? What kind of difference do we want to make? What kind of legacy do we want to create and leave behind? Your purpose and values are part of your identity, and if you have determined your purpose for being, then your identity is authentic—true to the values and purpose that drive the company.

 

Consider the influence of your company’s culture on its purpose. Take a step back and observe the dynamics among your employees. How do they interact with each other? What surrounds them in the office environment—art, quotes, or mission statements? Even the choice of reading materials can provide insights into the collective mindset.

 

Storytelling is a powerful tool in shaping and communicating a brand’s purpose. Examine the stories circulating around the office or those consistently told in presentations. What do these narratives reveal about your company’s priorities? How do they contribute to the overall identity and mission?

 

Reflect on the defining moments in your company’s journey. Explore the reasons behind its inception, and consider the responses to significant victories or setbacks. Your reactions to challenges and choices can solidify your core values and shed light on your purpose.

 

Now, revisit the 50-word description you penned earlier. Pull up your website’s About page and mission statement. Do these elements align with what you’ve uncovered about your core values, culture, and the heart of your organization? This critical self-assessment ensures that your external messaging resonates authentically with your internal ethos.

 

Our client, Pink Elephant Coffee Roasters, is an example of a purpose-driven company. Roasting takes a back seat to their purpose beyond making money. Founders Mitch and Kelley Baker are passionate about Utah’s public lands. The statement on their about page reads “There’s nothing that we love more than sipping a cup of coffee while surrounded by vast public lands, wild places and native wildlife — whether we’re sitting by a campfire, hiking up a mountain, wading in a river, or simply enjoying the view. This is why we give a portion of sales to local nonprofit organizations to ensure our public lands are here to stay. Wander far, roam free”.  Pink Elephant’s brand purpose is a driving force, going beyond their product. It is a commitment to a greater cause, a reason for being that goes beyond the bottom line.

 

To reiterate from our previous article, when your brand forges a connection through a purpose they become steadfast advocates who continue to invest in your brand. Creating a brand purpose involves a deep dive into your organization’s culture, values, stories, and defining moments. As you work together with your team, remember that a purpose-driven brand not only resonates with consumers but also fosters a sense of identity and motivation within your team, driving your business toward sustained success.

Recipe for an Intentional Brand Purpose: dish out a brand purpose layered with intention.

Why Create Purpose-Driven Content

In the world of brand marketing, Simon Sinek’s well-known adage, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” has become a mantra for marketers and business leaders. However, despite its ubiquity, this concept is still relevant and has become increasingly vital in today’s ever-evolving consumer landscape.

 

Traditionally, consumers sought products and services that addressed their immediate needs. They made choices based on convenience, quality, and price. But the landscape has shifted, and modern consumers are no longer content with mere functionality. They now seek something more profound—a sense of purpose and a connection with brands that resonate with their values and ideals.

 

In the realm of brand marketing, a “why” or a sense of purpose should be the heart of your business. If created and used, it infuses your brand with emotion and, in turn, gives it life. Successful businesses are those that have a purpose that extends beyond profit margins and competition. They are driven by a deeper cause that strikes a chord with their audience. Patagonia for example, is widely known for its strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Patagonia’s purpose is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

 

What sets Patagonia, and other businesses apart is their ability to effectively communicate and embody their purpose. By doing so, they not only demonstrate an intimate understanding of their audience but also cultivate trust by showcasing their adaptability to changing and evolving needs.

 

A key outcome of this approach is the strengthening of brand loyalty. When your brand forges a connection through a purpose that resonates with your target audience, it can significantly boost customer loyalty. This connection is more than just transactional; it’s emotional and enduring. Customers who genuinely embrace your brand’s purpose are not merely one-time buyers; they become steadfast advocates who continue to invest in your brand.

 

So, what should you think through as you delve into the realm of purpose-driven marketing?

 

Consider this: How does your brand, product, or service make a meaningful difference in the life of the person using it? This question should be at the core of your brand’s “why.” A genuine purpose is one that resonates deeply with your customers, enriching their lives in a way that goes beyond the product or service itself.

 

Peter Drucker a management guru said, “Profit is not the reason for a business to exist; it’s just a test of its validity.”

 

While profitability is essential, it is your purpose that infuses your business with authenticity and meaning.

 

In the ever-evolving world of brand marketing, one thing remains clear: a compelling “why” is not just a trendy catchphrase but a powerful force that can breathe life and longevity into your brand. It’s the essence of your business, the driving factor behind your audience’s loyalty, and the key to your success in the modern consumer landscape.

Brand Purpose: Average vs. Intentional Infographic

How to Create Your Brand Archetype

In brand marketing, understanding the significance of a fully-fledged personality is just the beginning. We touched on the ‘why’ in our previous article, but how do we go about creating one and using it? So why should brands spend the time, money, and resources to create one?

 

Starting at the Core: Your Brand’s DNA

The journey towards a distinctive brand archetype begins with an intimate understanding of your brand’s DNA. What fuels your company? What values drive its existence? What is your mission and vision? This self-awareness should be your launching point.

 

Navigating the Archetypal Universe

Once you’ve got your brand’s essence determined, explore the different characteristics of each archetype within Carl Jung’s framework. Each has positive qualities however some should resonate and feel more authentic than others.

If you find yourself wanting to fit within a specific archetype but it doesn’t feel natural, try listing all of the traits of an archetype on a sheet of paper without their respective archetypal headings. Start by crossing out the traits that don’t feel like you or feel like a stretch. Then on the second round circle and draw comparison lines to figure out if there are any overlaps. From there, narrow down the traits to a final 3 or 4 and see which archetype you naturally fall into. Have several individuals in the company take this same test and your authentic archetype should organically emerge.

 

Integrating your Archetype into Content

Once you’ve determined your archetype, it’s time for a deep dive into its defining traits. Say your brand aligns with the Hero archetype; think through how you can seamlessly weave qualities like courage, resilience, and a quest for excellence into your content creation.


Through the art of storytelling, visuals, messaging, and design, infuse your marketing content with the very essence of your chosen archetype. Authenticity is your guide. Your voice should ring true and consistent, creating a genuine emotional connection with your audience.

 

The world of brand archetypes is about crafting a persona that aligns with your brand’s very essence and resonates with your audience on a deep level. Infuse your marketing with your archetype’s voice, and personality, and ensure your design and visuals match. With consistency, your audience will grow and drive long-term revenue through loyalty.

brand archetype wordle game

Why a Brand Archetype Can Shape Your Personality

In the world of branding and marketing, having a brand personality is a vital brand pillar that guides content creators in their marketing efforts. But how do you develop and employ a brand personality in a way that resonates authentically with your audience?

 

The starting point is a thorough understanding of your company’s culture and purpose. This understanding serves as a fundamental building block. Yet, to truly connect with your audience, your brand personality must come alive.

 

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, introduced the concept of archetypes which are universally recognized symbols, characters, or themes that represent fundamental concepts, stories, or ideas. Jung’s belief was that archetypes shape our thoughts, behaviors, and dreams, offering a window into understanding the intricacies of the human mind.

 

In branding, this concept of archetypes can be an empowering tool. Brand scientists and marketers employ Carl Jung’s archetypes to create a framework for building a brand personality. By aligning with a specific archetype, the process of crafting compelling content becomes not only easier but more effective.

 

Why does this matter? Nike as an example boasts a rich history of infusing its branding and advertising with heroic themes. “Just Do It,” their iconic tagline, isn’t merely a catchy phrase—it’s an invitation for individuals to embark on their own heroic journeys. It encourages them to overcome obstacles, challenge their limits, and aspire to greatness.

 

All of Nike’s characteristics are associated with the Hero archetype. Nike’s brand personality aligns seamlessly with the universal attributes and qualities attributed to this archetype. It’s an appropriate example of how a brand can use archetypes to speak to the innate aspirations and desires of its audience.

 

Here’s a practical exercise to consider: Take a closer look at the stories your brand tells. Do they follow classic narrative structures, like the hero’s journey or the caregiver’s nurturing narrative? These narrative patterns can offer valuable insights into your brand’s archetype. They provide clues that help you understand the essence of your brand personality and how it resonates with your audience.

 

While the concept of a brand personality may appear elusive at times, it needs to be far from nebulous. It should be deeply rooted in the universal symbols and themes that Carl Jung’s archetypes illuminate. By aligning with a specific archetype and crafting content that taps into its universal characteristics, your brand can come alive, creating genuine connections with your audience that shape their perceptions and build long-term loyalty.

 

 

The 12 Brand Archetypes:

12 Brand Archetypes. Creator, Citizen, Caregiver, Sage, Sovereign, Outlaw, Magician, Lover, Jester, Innocent, Hero, Explorer

There is Only One You

In today’s world, with the inundation of content and information as consumers, we have stopped paying attention to the ads that scroll by on a social media feed or follow us around as we visit websites. Brands have a difficult challenge of grabbing their audiences’ attention and retaining it for longer than a millisecond. In this fast-paced landscape, where rational decisions take a backseat to emotions, crafting a relatable and distinctive brand personality becomes crucial in cutting through the noise and resonating.

 

It is a well-known and hard truth that consumer decisions are rarely, if ever, purely rational. Emotions steer our purchasing decisions and the way in which individuals perceive and emotionally connect with a brand influences their purchasing behaviors. Beyond the transactional aspect of commerce, a brand holds the potential to embody certain feelings and values, serving as a conduit for emotional resonance.

 

At the heart of this endeavor is the creation of a brand personality that is not only relatable but also distinctive. The brand personality acts as a catalyst, eliciting the desired emotions within the audience. It is the instrument through which perceptions are molded, and behaviors are influenced. In essence, it is the narrative thread that weaves the brand into the fabric of consumers’ lives, rendering it more than just a product or service but a key aspect of their identity.

 

From a strategic perspective, a well-defined brand personality functions as a pillar for content creators. It provides a clear roadmap, delineating the brand’s voice, style, and messaging objectives. This guidance streamlines content creation, ensuring that every piece consistently echoes the brand’s essence, reinforcing the emotional connection with the audience.

 

Disney, is relentless in delivering a consistent personality.  It’s brand personality is rooted in enchantment, storytelling, and nostalgia. This isn’t a mere marketing façade but a profound strategy. It is the very essence through which Disney captures the hearts and minds of its guests, building a loyalty that transcends generations.

 

However, it is important to recognize that crafting a brand personality is not a sprint but a long-term investment. Success hinges upon thorough research and an understanding of the target audience. When executed properly, it should be a pillar of the strategy for sustained brand growth, allowing the business an opportunity to adapt and evolve while preserving it’s core identity.

 

In the milieu of digital media, a brand strategy that includes a well crafted personality as one of it’s pillars will provide a roadmap for content creators ensuring emotional connections are made with the target audience.

a shining diamond in the rough

Why develop a Brand Voice?

At A8ency and Modern8, we perceive brand voice as the amplifier of your brand’s identity. In the dynamic landscape of content creation, your brand’s voice is an indispensable element that distinguishes you from the competition. Despite its significance, the brand voice often remains overshadowed in the strategic considerations of branding and marketing.

So why should brands spend the time, money, and resources to create one?

 

The Overlooked Essence of Brand Voice

While visual aesthetics play a vital role in branding, the brand voice is the subtle force that gives life to your identity. Developing and consistently employing a well-defined brand voice ensures that your messaging resonates deeply with your audience, establishing trust and fostering a lasting bond.

 

Elevating Perspective and Connection

A brand voice serves as a lens through which your brand’s personality is projected. It adds layers of depth to your marketing content, allowing it to shine and leave a lasting imprint. Every interaction with your audience should create resonance, memorability, and emotion which ultimately will drive the performance of the brand.

 

The Unseen Goal: Relatability and Memorability

Beyond captivating visuals, your brand’s voice is a conduit for cultivating relatability and memorability. By infusing your voice with distinct qualities, you create a relatable narrative that goes beyond the visual appeal. The ultimate objective is to make your brand a part of your audience’s story.

 

Brand Advocacy Through Voice Connection

When your audience connects authentically with your brand’s voice, they become ambassadors.  They proudly sport your logo, echo your taglines, and organically market your offerings and grow your audience. 

 

Internal Cohesion and Streamlined Communication

Beyond its external impact, a meticulously defined brand voice serves as a valuable internal compass. It streamlines content creation and guarantees consistency in every communication—be it within your organization or directed towards external stakeholders. It fosters a sense of unity that transcends boundaries.

 

A Symbiotic Fusion of Voice and Product

In the words of Lisa Gansky, “A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.” Your brand’s voice infuses meaning into your product offerings, transforming them into cherished souvenirs of your identity. When the voice resonates, your product becomes an embodiment of your brand’s essence.

 

In a world inundated with information, a well-crafted brand voice serves as your beacon— drawing your audience toward your unique identity. By strategically weaving your voice through every piece of content and communication, you create an indelible mark that lingers in the minds and hearts of those you seek to engage. Use the power of brand voice as a transformative tool that elevates your visuals, fosters connection, and resonates with the essence of who you are and your audience.

Let your brand voice speak its mind

Crafting a Memorable Brand Look and Feel

Crafting a strong brand encompasses a memorable look and feel powered by thoughtful design and aesthetics, but what does this look like in reality? Here’s a closer look at the  “how” behind creating a brand that drives credibility and professionalism while building an emotional connection that resonates with your audience.

 

Understanding the Essence

The first and most important step in creating a compelling brand design starts with understanding your brand’s essence. Define who you are, what you stand for, and the emotions you wish to evoke in your audience. This foundation will serve as the emotional strategy, the heart, of your design decisions, ensuring that every visual element aligns harmoniously with your brand’s core identity.

 

Know Your Audience

A pivotal aspect of successful branding lies in creating a genuine connection with your audience. Dive deep into understanding your audience’s preferences, aesthetic inclinations, habits, and aspirations. This knowledge empowers you to curate a design that resonates with them, capturing their attention and cultivating a strong engagement.

 

Creating the Visual Language

When it comes to brand design, the elements you choose should support your foundation and help convey emotion to your audience.  Colors, typography, and imagery need to appeal to your audience, and their preferences, and most importantly resonate and be memorable to them. 

 

Consistency

Beyond the logo, consistency in your brand elements helps make identifying you easy. It’s not just about a recognizable logo; it’s about a seamless visual experience across all touchpoints. Ensure that your color palette, typography, and design elements are consistent, reinforcing your brand’s identity and making it instantly recognizable.

 

Iteration and Refinement

Brand design is a dynamic and ever-evolving process. Regular evaluation is crucial to determine how your design supports your brand’s current and future goals. By iterating and refining your design choices, you ensure that your brand stays relevant, resonating with your audience as it grows and adapts.

 

Visual Storytelling

In brand design, imagery is an important storytelling tool. It has the capability to tap into the emotions of your audience, creating an unperceived connection. Use visuals that align with your brand’s narrative, enabling your audience to resonate with who you are and the story you are telling. Use it.

 

Gathering and Implementing Feedback

Though sometimes uncomfortable, seeking feedback from your audience is an enlightening step. These insights provide valuable guidance on whether your design aligns with your audience’s expectations and whether adjustments are needed. Feedback should serve as a litmus test, ensuring your brand design supports your aspirations and future goals. 

Crafting a brand design that truly captivates requires a blend of strategic and emotional thinking and creativity.  By understanding your brand’s essence, connecting with your audience, and creating and using consistent design elements, you can create a visual identity that shapes and transforms your brand for tomorrow ensuring future thriveability.

With Some Feeling Now Geometric 3 color illustration of a dart board and a heart at the center

That Design Feeling

How Brand Design Builds Credibility and Emotional Connections with Your Audience

 

In today’s competitive business, good design and a good brand is just good business. “While design was once largely thought of as a way of making products more attractive, it is now a way of thinking: a creative process driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs,” says McKinsey and Company in a late 2018 study. At the heart of a strong brand lies a carefully crafted look and feel, powered by thoughtful design and aesthetics. Brand design plays a vital role in influencing the credibility and professionalism of a company through the emotional connections it creates with its audience.

A strong brand is more than just a name and a logo. 

A strong brand is an experience. The look and feel of a brand beyond its identity are what make it stand out in the sea of competitors. When your audience can easily find you, remember you, and feel a connection with your brand, they are more likely to become loyal customers. Design is the tool that enables you to create a visual identity that resonates with your target audience, leaving a lasting mark in their minds.

 

Consumers buy on emotion and justify with logic. 

Human decision-making is driven by emotions, and brand design has a profound impact on how people feel about a brand. When customers feel an emotional connection with your brand, they are more likely to choose your products or services. Emotions are largely controlled by design and aesthetics, making it essential to invest in creating a visual language that speaks to your audience’s feelings and desires.

 

Brand design conveys professionalism and credibility. 

You only have a few seconds to make an emotional connection and impression, and your marketing content is often the initial point of contact with potential customers. A well-designed brand and marketing materials convey professionalism, competence, and attention to detail. When you invest in design, your audience is more likely to associate el of quality with what you offer, building trust and credibility in your brand.


In the digital age, attention spans are shorter than ever. 

You have only a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention before they move on. Design is often the first thing people see, even if they don’t consciously realize it. It’s the visual hook that pulls them in and compels them to explore further. With well-crafted and intentional design, you will connect and maintain your audience long enough to share your message about why they should choose your product or service and not your competitors.

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful brand. 

Good design can enhance the experience of your audience and make your messages more accessible and engaging. Clear and well-structured design elements help convey complex information more effectively, creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience.

 

Design as a Visual Language. 

Renowned designer Saul Bass once said, “Design is thinking made visual.”


Visual elements are the entry point to how we respond to the world around us. Whether it’s a logo, a website, or a social media post, design is the language that communicates your brand’s story and values to your audience.

 

Investing in design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about building credibility, making emotional connections, and leaving a lasting impression on your audience. A well-designed brand and marketing content create a compelling experience that captivates your audience, fosters trust, and sets you apart in a competitive market. Let your design be the visual storyteller that speaks on behalf of your brand and sparks a meaningful relationship with your customers.

CRO and Messaging: Science Meets Art

In recent years the topic of CRO, or conversion rate optimization, has grown in popularity and become a pillar for many businesses serious about their online marketing effectiveness and strategy. While the importance of composing proper website messaging with an authentic brand voice has been embraced since the beginning of the digital age, focus on optimizing a website through CRO is a newer addition to the mix. 

 

Both CRO and messaging have their own unique value on a website. In this case, both elements complement each other, while proving a long accepted dynamic within successful marketing – that being the delicate symbiotic balance between the art and the science.

 

Think of messaging, or the copy on your website as the art. The words utilized must flow and have a creative spark to them that compliments any imagery displayed, while also telling a compelling story that should always be clear and concise. If crafted properly, the message should resonate with website visitors and prepare them for the next steps of the customer journey. 

 

It’s been said that website messaging should educate customers or clients of two imperative ‘why’s’. The first being “why you”, meaning why should they choose your product or service over that of the competitions. The second why, “why now” should persuasively outline why taking action immediately would be to their favor. 

 

By taking a careful, artistic approach to your website’s messaging, the end result can be a masterpiece in its own right. 

 

Shifting focus back to CRO, or the yin to the yang of messaging, we shall give the spotlight to the science in this equation. Conversion rate optimization, if established and maintained correctly, will use well crafted messaging as a springboard for increasing desired actions on the website. It will enable visitors to morph into interested followers, purchasers, and repeat buyers. 

 

By maximizing conversions while minimizing potential drop-off points along the customer journey, CRO can essentially transform the digital assets we call websites into powerful tools that create demand and can generate consistent revenue. 

 

Depending on what you read, the average conversion rate on a website is anywhere between 1% and 4% – which leaves plenty of room for improvement. But to capture any meaningful progress, there must be a clear understanding of how visitors interact with the website they visit. By providing visitors with more features that they enjoy utilizing, and offering the types of content that best capture their attention, a better experience can be shaped, and greater brand trust and loyalty can follow. 

 

By regularly reviewing data points like bounce rates, exit pages, cost per conversion, and other key metrics, CRO effectiveness can also be increased. Additionally, researching the competition may provide insights as to how other brands are capturing the interests, engagement, and purchases of potential customers and clients. 

 

Regardless of the balance between the art of messaging on your website and the science of proper CRO, one notion should always be embraced: a website should constantly be evolving. 

It’s likely time to inspect your website with a fresh set of eyes. Dream big, but focus on fundamentals, and always, always, keep updating for increased effectiveness with right brained artistry balanced with left brained computation.