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Follow the Feeling. Brand Building in a Noisy World. Edition No. 1

  • Book

  • 304 Pages
  • September 2019
  • Region: Global
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • ID: 5840372

Elevate your brand, create a compelling brand story, and build brand loyalty

In Follow the Feeling, strategy advisor Kai D. Wright answers a critical question plaguing entrepreneurs, brand strategists, marketers, and leaders: how do you grow your brand in a noisy world? Analyzing 1,500 fast-growing companies from Alibaba to Zara, the Columbia University lecturer and Ogilvy global consulting partner unpacks five branding secrets. Starting with behavioral economic principles and ending with a new systems-based approach to brand building, Wright offers readers one constant that trumps the hundreds of factors entangling brand value - feelings.

Follow the Feeling will show you how to best build and position your brand so you can stand out from competitors, build a tribe, and engineer a positive feeling across five important branding territories - lexicon, audio cues, visual stimuli, experience, and culture. Sharing real-world lessons and practical advice he has gained helping everyone from Sean Diddy Combs and Meghan Trainor to Bank of America and HP, Wright can help you develop and implement shareable, culturally-infectious branding strategies. Through storytelling, global research, and practical tips, this valuable book will help you and your organization:

  • Efficiently create and deploy a comprehensive brand strategy across the organization
  • Quickly launch new brands or reboot existing brands for growth
  • Build tribes from audiences, consumers, clients, and partners
  • Lean into the convergence of communication, culture, digital, and technology

Regardless of industry or sector, branding is essential for companies, nonprofits, and even individuals. Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in a Noisy World is a must-have resource for anyone from C-Suite executives to aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to unleash the full potential of their brand. And in this world of ever-increasing metrics paired with waning attentiveness, it’s not just what your brand does, it’s how your brand makes your customers feel.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

About the Author xvii

Introduction 1

Forming a Worldview 2

A Case for Change 4

Feelings Aren’t Things to Gloss Over 8

1 Inside Out: What’s the Value of Being an Outsider? 11

A Red-Hot Industry 13

A Few Things to Keep in Mind 15

2 Going Haywire: What’s the Relationship between Economics and Communication? 17

“Most of the Time We Coast” 20

The Virality Coefficient 22

3 Resonance versus Share of Voice: In What Direction Is Technology Propelling Us? 25

A Lesson in Audience Physics 28

The Economy of Community 29

Are We Speaking on the Same Wavelength? 30

Avoiding Dissonance Begins in the Briefing 31

4 Creativity Applied Strategically: What Parts of a “Brand” Matter Most to a Digitally Wired Audience? 35

The Cracks in the Axioms 36

Emotional Horsepower Drives Many a Decision 37

Influence Rules the Day, But We Can Rule Influence 39

Surviving Brand Quicksand 40

A System Built for Brand “Value” 41

Every Hero Needs a Villain 42

5 Communication as a System: How Does Communication Work in Society? 45

Communication as a “System“ 46

Wired to Think, Feel, and Do 50

Finding the Right Triggers and Traps 51

A Fight for Equality 55

6 Lexicon Triggers: Branding Objective: Appeal to a “Tribe” 59

Limits of Words 67

Context 68

The Invisible Hand: Community 70

Shifting from Target Audience to Community 74

A Tale of Two Words 78

Niche Wins 79

Branding Language 80

A Planning Process Mindset Shift 83

The Double-Edged Sword of Being a “Household Name“ 85

Anchors and Normative Messaging 87

Cutting Anchors Loose 91

Conclusion 94

7 Audio Cues: Branding Objective: Develop Instant Recognition 103

Every Brand Longs to Be Heard 104

Audio’s Role: Hardly New, But Certainly Evolving 107

Sound as a Mood Shifter 110

Is Audio the Most Salient Part of “Memory“? 113

Our Firewall Works Like This: “Tuning Out“ 114

How Brands Learn from Television Theme Songs 116

Owning a Sonic Cue - Decline of the Jingle 118

Translating Sounds 119

Results at the Speed of Sound 121

Sound and Product Design 123

Voice 125

This Could Give You a Headache 128

Repetition Is Marketing Mythology 129

Conclusion 134

8 Visual Stimuli: Branding Objective: Become a “Conversational” Brand 145

Words Are Finite, Images Are Limitless 147

Say It with Purpose 153

Color 155

Shape 159

Becoming More Visual Searchers, Learners, and Sharers 162

The Journey to Brands Being Content 164

Welcome to the Newest Communication Club Members 167

The New Moving Image 170

Tracking Evolution One Dictionary at a Time 173

Conclusion 174

9 Experience Drivers: Branding Objective: Close the Feedback Loop 185

Create a Cross-Functional System 189

Business Models Built on Experience 191

Evolution of “Brand“ 194

Omnichannel Attributes 197

Great Strategy Comes from Unconventional Places 201

The Goal of Experience 209

Conclusion 213

10 Cultural Connections: Branding Objective: Align Thoughts and Actions 221

The Myth of “Safety in Size“ 227

Communication’s Role in Culture 229

Getting Out of Your Seat, and into the Field 232

Who’s the Villain in Your Brand Story? 235

Finding Your North Star 238

Building a Narrative 239

An Age Where POV Matters 240

Owning Your Narrative 244

Undercover Boss 246

Aiming for Success in Action and Commitment 255

Finding Your Brand’s North Star 256

11 Following the Feeling: What’s the Role of Technology in Following the Feeling? 265

Achieving Brand Lift-Off 269

Index 273


Kai D. Wright Columbia University.