Branding in the Wild, Wild West

15th May 2019 by Elmarie Swart

A good brand strategy should cover your bases to keep you relevant but it also needs to be something your people are proud of. When people are proud it means they believe in something. But having a pretty logo won’t win business in today’s world, what people really want is consistency and authenticity.

You have to start by building belief and the easiest way to do that is through transparency, strong relationships and trust. Seth Godin said, ‘just as it takes more than a hat to be a cowboy, it takes more than a designer… to make a brand.’ And if you think of the advent of technology as providing a landscape much like the Wild Wild West, the winners will be the brands that are authentic rather than fake, who have empathy rather than those who come in guns slinging. Yes, you need a good hat, but more importantly you need a good heart.

Authentic storytelling is the antithesis of fake news and people no longer trust the sources available to them to tell the truth. In fact, Britons score high on the scale of mistrust, so much so that a recent report published by the Cambridge Globalism Project found that more than eight in ten Brits lack faith in the information they find on social networks. But how do you keep honest in a sensationalist world? Simple, you start from the ground up with a strong set of values to back up your Stetson.

The truth is, your brand values will only stand up if your people get behind them and one of the only ways to know if your people are on board is to encourage them to bring their authentic selves to work. It means providing them with the space to be themselves so they can find their own place in your values,  allowing them to identify with the things that really matter. Brands that embrace their values also have a high level of understanding that nothing is 100% perfect, it’s sticking to a good brand script that helps you win in the long run. After all, even cowboys get the blues.

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