Find your brand expression

This is a guest post from Mitch Joel — President, Mirum and author of “Six Pixels of Separation.” His new book “CTRL ALT Delete” was released in May 2013. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

Marketing is a game of differentiation.

Some might (fairly) argue that a brand’s true “win” happens when they’re so unique, that the marketing is baked right into the product and service. It’s a high bar to set for most, especially businesses that are already established and have been in-market for any length of time.

Whether the brand is an original or trying to find its differentiation, this issue is only magnified when it comes to creating content that resonates with an audience. Over the years, marketers — like me — have pleaded with brands to up their game. In order for real content to work, it needs to be valuable, human, selfless, and there are many more attributes.

What is there was to it?

Where do you find inspiration? Is it in your daily life? Those personal areas of interest could provide the key to unlocking a new type of content that your brand could use to create and connect with. Recently, I started another podcast called, Groove – The No Treble Podcast. It’s a personal art project for me, because it allows me to explore four areas of personal interest:

  1. Diverse music. I love everything from fusion jazz to death metal.
  2. Bass players. My primary instrument of choice is electric bass. I started playing it in my early teens. I’m not that good, but I love the sound that it makes.
  3. Creative conversations. To speak with bass players about their creative process and playing over technique, gears, and riff.
  4. Podcasting. If anything, I love how podcasting allows me to experiment with audio, in a way that radio does not.

It’s that new expression.

Getting back into the bass playing scene has been fascinating. I’m able to see a massive transformation in how the instrument is approached and played. With that, I have been introduced to many different genres of music and bands. Like anything else, it can become a rabbit hole. Two videos that have stood out, for me, are the following…

What a brand should see.

These artists have taken something that exists and not only put their own spin on it (which is a great place to start), but they are also able to express themselves in– what I consider to be — a very different and unique way (it may not be your taste, but look beyond that).

Let that just sit there and marinate in your brain. Content needs to have this kind of unique expression in it. All over it. It should ooze with your personal expression of words, images, audio, and/or video.

No, I’m not expecting corporate brands to be all loose and irreverent with their voice. Yes, I am looking for brands to take whatever tools they have and figure out a new kind of expression with them.

What is your brand expression? Is it different? Really different?

About Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel is President of Mirum — an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency. He is also a blogger, podcaster, journalist, speaker, and the author of "Six Pixels of Separation" and "CTRL ALT Delete." Mitch is frequently called upon to be a subject matter expert for BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Marketing Magazine, Profit, Strategy, Money, The Globe & Mail, and many other media outlets.

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