Think of a brand you love. Chances are one of these come to mind: Apple, Spotify, Uber, Nike, Sorbet, Konka, Netflix, Samsung, Woolworths, Fenty, Playstation. Depending on who you are and what your life is like, your list could be completely different.

But the point is, these are brands that excite you, that stand out from the rest. They draw you in. They are compelling. Such a brand grabs your attention and wallet share every time. How do they do it? What makes a brand compelling?

The word compelling has been one I have used over the years to describe successful brands. Because as important as it is to create a brand, define it, design it and launch it, it is also important that the brand fulfil its intent – connect with its intended audience.

The word compelling means to have a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect.

The compelling brand resonates. It strikes a chord. It speaks directly to your customer’s needs, fears, insecurities and desires. It shows them that you understand them, even better than they understand themselves. It gives them an experience worth having. It shows them an exciting view of the future, a new state of being that is truly amazing. It also reassures them that you know what they need and you are the best choice to give it to them.

How does a brand become compelling?

  1. They are crystal clear on who they are, and who they are for – The compelling brand has done the work, and continues to do it. The work of understanding who they really are, and what sits at the core of their DNA. They know their function, their value and their positioning. For instance, Uber knows that it is not just a cab hailing company, it is really a facilitator of the movement of people and things.
  2. They know their users inside out – Compelling brands are customer obsessed. They know their users, scrutinising their habits, pain points, interests, fears and ambitions, and tailor their offering to fit their users like a glove. They take the time to understand their target customers and audience and speak to them.
  3. They meet a need or solve a problem in such a way that is hard to imagine life without them – As they get to know their users better, they then work hard at meeting their needs in a way that is convenient, frictionless and satisfactory. They do it so well that they even change their users behaviour over time.
  4. They offer an experience or customer journey that is unparalleled – The compelling brand makes sure that throughout the customer journey, the user is well taken of and prioritised. From the marketing, to the research, to the point of sale, they make it easy, seamless and take great pains to reinforce the brand message and value
  5. They play to our emotions, alleviating our fears and hyping up excitement – In messaging and communication, the compelling brand often tugs at the strings of our emotions, making us feel things – happy, excited, worried, reassured. This makes the experience more memorable and draws us in.
  6. They play into our sense of self. We are not just using their products, we are making a statement – As cliche as it sounds, the best brands move from just being a product, to being a lifestyle. Now we are no longer just buying a piece of clothing, we are buying a point of view, a philosophy. It is not just a car, but a symbol, a statement of who we are and how we want to be perceived.
  7. They show us a vision of the future we want to buy into – The compelling brand is not satisfied to just dominate today, but to take us into tomorrow. it has a picture of the future and wants to bring us with it. Engaging with the brand now becomes a way to create a new way of existing in the world.

Compelling brands are the ones that grab our attention, hold on to it, delight us, and inspire us to evangelize to others about them. They move from nice to have, to an absolute must-have. They become the only choice. And we move from merely customers, to raving fans.

What brands are most compelling to you and why?

Launching a new business or looking to reinvent your image? Talk to me about how I can help you build a brand that resonates with your audience.