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  • Writer's pictureAmy Zwagerman

Marketing Jujitsu: My 3 Favorite Moves for Creating a Memorable Brand

Updated: Apr 28

Ever felt like your brand blends into the crowd?


This is a story about how you can take your business from ‘blah’ to ‘huzzah’ with a little panache.


4 sets of women's legs wearing striped pants and black shoes except for one set of red flippers.
Red flippers standing out in a sea of black shoes. Image courtesy of Happycity21 via canva.com.

The Argument for ‘Standing Out’


The marketplace is overflowing with competitors, so standing out in a crowd requires creating an unforgettable brand experience that stays with your customer long after their most recent interaction. You know the kind of experience I’m talking about — the type that makes people want to post on social media because they are in awe of how well they were treated (Chewy is an example of a brand that does this really well) or come back again and again because they feel valued (my local yoga studio — no, I’m not telling you what studio I go to — is exceptional at this — they greet me by name, send well timed incentives based on where I am in my practice, and even give me a personalized experience in class). These are actions that capture a person’s attention, drive engagement, and foster deep loyalty simply because they go beyond the status quo in ways that feel authentic to both the customer and the brand.

I know, I know — creating a stand out / memorable brand is a big idea that sounds good in practice, but I’m guessing you’re wondering if it’s something worth focusing on in your business, and, if so, how on earth to do it? Well, you’re in luck, as I’m going to give you some really specific examples of how other brands have carved a niche out for themselves using this strategy. Oh, and the answer to my self-imposed question is yes — creating a memorable brand is 💯 a great idea for every business… and it’s easier to do than you think.

The key to creating a memorable brand is simple — just focus on the needs and wants of your core audience (i.e., you don’t have to make the whole world know about your brand, just the people you care most about). Remember my Chewy example above? If you aren’t the parent of an adorable Australian Shepherd named Zoey, you probably had no idea what I was talking about and that’s ok, you’re not their target customer. Make sense? It’s completely understandable if it doesn’t (yet) — the rest of this post is designed to help connect the dots, so let’s get into it!

 

Strategy 1: Craft a Memorable Brand Experience


As a first step, let’s talk about consumer expectations. According to a study by Salesforce, a whopping 80% of customers view the experiences a company provides as equally significant to its products and services”. This statistic paints a clear picture about what drives consumer satisfaction and loyalty today, showcasing that a “brand’s experience has a big impact on consumers’ decision-making process” (Forbes). Accordingly, crafting memorable brand experiences isn’t just about dazzling your customers; it's about creating moments that resonate deeply with their personal preferences and values.


Side note: When I hear the term ‘brand experiences’, I tend to think of experiential marketing, i.e., interactive activities where a customer can engage with a brand IRL - like walking through a life size Barbie dream house (which was totally possible in CA during the movie marketing campaign btw), so I want to clarify that this isn’t what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the ‘experience’ a customer has every time they interact with your brand — be it online or in person, with a sales associate or customer service representative, or a website, social media post, advertisement, or marketing bot.


To design experiences that will resonate with your customers, you need to start by stepping into their shoes. 👟 Consider their pain points, desires, and everyday interactions with your brand. From the moment they discover your product online to the post-purchase support they receive, every touchpoint should feel personalized and thoughtful. For instance, using customer data to tailor email communications or offering personalized recommendations on a website can significantly enhance the customer experience. But, to make the experience truly memorable, you need to also look for opportunities to ‘surprise and delight your customers’. These are moments where you win their hearts and minds by doing a little something extra that is rooted in your brand relationship.

Going back to the Chewy example, one of the company’s most widely talked about customer service policies is to ask customers to donate items to a local rescue instead of returning them. This is a particularly memorable strategy because it not only allows the customer to get the benefit of returning the unused item for a refund, but to also feel good about themselves by ensuring it goes to good use. Another brand example is Supreme. They commonly include stickers inside their customer’s shopping bags and boxes, which allows their fans to showcase their brand engagement as a ‘status symbol’ on their personal computers and backpacks. While this may seem like a little thing, the stickers help customer’s feel like they are part of the brand’s inner circle.

When thinking about how you can add more personalization into your customer journey, I urge you to think outside of the box to find ideas that feel authentic to your brand. More specifically, you should lean into what makes your brand unique and valuable from your customer’s point of view and avoid emulating what others are doing. You’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot as soon as you find the idea that screams ‘your brand’.

 

Strategy 2: Develop your Brand Story


Here’s an interesting fact: “Storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability…, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone” (Forbes). This statistic underscores the power of narrative in marketing, making it essential for brands to craft stories that not only tell but resonate and evoke emotions. How often have you heard (or read) that video ads perform better than static ads? The reason for this is storytelling — the combination of a moving image and audio just draws a viewer in more than a static post, web banner, or even a podcast spot.


So, how do you create a compelling story for your brand?


My advice here is not to focus so much on the ‘art’ of storytelling (i.e., how to tell a good story), but to think about what stories you have to tell. 🤔 For example, do you have an origin story that you can tell to introduce customers to your brand (example: Beardbrand has a great origin story that you’ve likely seen in commercials) How about a funny story about how people use your product or service (example: Do you remember the Got Milk? campaign where celebrities donned a silly milk mustache for the camera?) Or maybe a story about how your brand brings people together (example: Starbucks mission is all about creating community and positions their stores as neighborhood gathering places)? There is no end to the type of story you can tell, so I urge you to find one that resonates for your brand and explore how you can use it to create a connection with your customers.

I personally introduce people to my brand through an email series that focuses on my origin story. I do this so potential customers can get a feel for who I am and what I stand for as they ‘consider’ if they want to be a part of my community or work with me. It also makes me much more relatable when we get on the phone. (Shameless plug alert — If you are interested in checking out my origin story, you can sign up for my email list by subscribing to Marketing Jam).

Once you know the story (or stories) you want to tell, go back to the storytelling fundamentals you learned in high school (develop a clear narrative arc, relatable characters, and a 3-5 act structure other’s can follow) and spend some time working on them. The story should captivate the audience’s attention from the beginning, hold it through the middle with compelling content, and leave them with a powerful message or call to action at the end, or, put more succinctly, your story need’s to draw people in by eliciting an emotion. Think about how you can replicate the universal themes from popular movies and books such as ambition (Wall Street), discovery (Eat, Pray, Love), overcoming adversity (8 Mile), and joy (Amelie) to evoke a strong emotional response that will make your brand more memorable. The truth is a quick Google will give you a solid overview of the main storytelling themes that people have been using for decades plus all the tips and tricks you will need to get started.


🙋🏻‍♀️ -- If you are a new entrepreneur or small business leader that is interested in upping your storytelling game, I’ve included three great resource options in the footnotes of this post on Substack. These resources are specifically geared towards brand storytelling and will help get your creative juices flowing, so I hope you will take a moment to join me there -- it's free!

 

Strategy 3: Commit to Brand Authenticity


Authenticity in marketing is more than just a good strategy, it’s a necessity. Let me throw another statistic at you: “Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52 percent who would recommend the brand to others and 49 percent who would pledge loyalty”(Cohn & Wolf, quoted in an article by Crowdspring). This indicates people — and especially younger consumers — are looking to support brands that offer them more than just a good product or value. In fact, a survey by Deloitte found that “almost 90% of Millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured by more than just performance” (Forbes).


Being authentic means that your brand communicates openly about its values, operations, and even its shortcomings. This transparency builds trust, which, in turn, is instrumental in fostering brand closeness and encouraging purchases.


The best way to align your business with this movement is to clearly communicate your brand's 'why'—its purpose, the big vision that drives its existence and operations. 📣 This doesn't mean just stating facts but weaving this 'why' into your brand’s narrative in every campaign, product description, and consumer interaction. Going back to what I talked about earlier, make sure your ‘why’ is integrated into the consumer experiences you create and the stories you tell. For example, if sustainability is a core value, share your manufacturing processes, material sources, and the impact on the environment openly with your customers, or, in the case of Chewy (yet again), their ‘mission is to be the most trusted and convenient destination for pet parents and partners, everywhere’, and they reflect that idea in everything they do.

Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Chick-fil-A are a few other brands you probably recognize that rank high on the authenticity scale. Each of these brands invites a strong customer connection by sharing their values with the world: As a certified B-Corporation, Patagonia lives and breaths their commitment to the great outdoors by donating 1% of sales each year to fund initiatives in support of the environment; Ben & Jerry’s strives to do good while tasting good by supporting social responsibility and social-justice causes; and Chick-fil-A honors its Christian roots by closing every Sunday and treating customers with a genuine warmth and hospitality reflective of the company’s values (authenticity.co).

Building trust through authenticity also means being honest, aka transparent, about your products' limitations and how you are addressing them. This not only sets realistic expectations but demonstrates your commitment to both the customer and continuous improvement. Customers appreciate this honesty, which enhances their propensity for loyalty. In fact, a study by Sprout Social found that 89% of people say a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue”, highlighting the ultimate value of transparency to the bottom line.

 

The Bottom Line on Brand Marketing


Now that I’ve laid out my three favorite strategies for creating a memorable brand, I am curious how you are feeling about the topic:


  • Are you ready to tweak your customer experiences to more closely align with your brand values?,

  • How about storytelling — are you thinking about creating a more personal brand story to help your audience connect with you?, or

  • Are you going to amp up your brand authenticity to cultivate more customer loyalty?

Whether you're leaning towards refining your customer experiences, crafting an engaging brand story, or doubling down on authenticity, remember that the goal is to resonate with your core audience on a deeper level. 🫶🏼 Additionally, as you consider your approach, don’t forget to think about how each strategy can be interwoven to support the others, creating a holistic brand narrative that's not just heard but felt by your customers.


Let me know if you decide to implement one of these strategies for your brand. I can’t wait to learn all about what you get up to — and am, of course, here to help if you get stuck.

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About  Me 

Hi, I'm Amy! I'm the founder and CMO of the Launch Box, a boutique marketing services firm where I serve as an advisor, mentor and Fractional CMO to entrepreneurs at every stage of the startup journey. My primary mission is to help founders like you achieve their dreams by learning how to think more like a marketer. 😘 During my time off, you will either find me lounging with Zoey (my canine partner in crime) or engaging in a never-ending quest to make the perfect pizza. (SRSLY, if you want to talk about startup marketing 👩🏻‍💻, my 🐕 or 🍕, DM me anytime.

  - Amy & Zoey

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