Events Apr 13, 2017

Joel Halpern, Principal and Founder of Loaded for Bear, and Jason McDonald General, Director of Stringcan, work hand in hand to help French companies expand into the US. They have created a unique approach to brand development that helps companies of all sizes and sectors capture their brand essence and tap into their ideal audience. They encourage their clients to rethink their approach (or strategy?) and to discover their brand’s and audience’s emotional drivers that are the key to success in the US.

 

LOADED FOR BEAR - “We live for the journey” - Joel Halpern
• Define your brand platform
A brand is not a logo or a tag line. A brand is a collection of thoughts, emotions and ideas that people have about a company, product, service or personality.”
Loaded for Bear has developed a brand platform to help companies find the real purpose behind their company and the impact it seeks to make on the world. When you start branding your company, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my vision: why did you start your company ? what is the guiding insight into your organization?
- What is my mission: how do we do our “why”?
- What are my core value message: what is the single guiding belief of your organization?
- What is my core personality: if your organization was a single person, who would they be?
- What is my core voice: how does your vision, mission, values and personality form a voice?
Any ideas, thoughts or actions should fit into your brand platform from a communication strategy prospective. If not, don’t do it.

 

•  What is your brand personality?
“We tend to personify things, including brands, says Joel Halpern. You need to leverage your brand personality in order to connect with your target audience. Creator, caregiver, innocent, magician, rebel, lover… each of these archetypes exists in all of us. You have to identify the archetype of your brand in order to be able to communicate clearly and concisely with your consumers.” Brands archetypes convey a meaning that makes customers relate to a brand as if it was alive. Below are some examples of brand archetypes:

- Innocent: Dove, France 5, Keds
- Explorer: Jeep, Levi’s, Starbucks
- Sage: Geek Squad, The New York Times
- Hero: FedEx, Nike, Gatorade
- Rebel: Apple, Virgin, Harley Davidson
- Magician: Axe, MasterCard, Red bull
- Everyman: Gap, Leroy Merlin
- Lover: Jaguar, Target, Godiva
- Creator: Lego, Crayola, Sherwin Williams
- Caregiver: Volvo, Campbells, Johnson & Johnson
- Ruler: American Express, Brooks Brothers

Traditionally when developing a brand, you try to wrap your brand around a product or a solution. But with this scenario, we limit how far we can go and we limit new products, services and solutions we can offer. So rather than wrapping your brand around a product or a solution, the great brands like Apple, wrap products around their brands. They force products onto the brand. It is a shift in thinking, a paradigm shift.

 

STRINGCAN - “Our mission is to remove barriers” - Jason McDonald
Stringcan focuses on removing barriers between European startups and the US market. Last year Stringcan supported more than 70 startup companies in Europe that wanted to expand into the US market. “When you buy something you really love, this is because it is connected with you on an emotional level, says Jason McDonald. Decision making is driven by emotion. At Stringcan, we designed an Emotional thinking process to help companies seeking global exposure to build a brand strategy that connects with their ideal audience at their emotional core.”

90 % of our decisions are based on emotions
Emotional thinking method - How does it work?
• Asking the right questions
With its clients, Stringcan always starts with a Company expedition. The principle is the following: everybody within the organization gives their ideas around the following questions: who is your perceived ideal audience, your perceived competitors, product flexibility, brand durability, what is the unique value proposition… This is a very valuable process, as answers are always different by respondent. Jason McDonald believes that most companies have the right answers but do not ask questions in the right way. The first step is to understand what are the barriers that keeps your company from the success that you are seeking.

• Emotional Persona
You should find the way to connect with your clients on an emotional level. What are their fears, their hopes…You should be fixated about your clients and about the way to connect with them.

• Looking at your competitors
“We believe that you do not have competitors but rival emotional suitors, explains Jason McDonald. You need to understand who your rival suitors are, how they are emotionally trying to connect with their clients, why is your value proposition different from theirs: this is what will help you to define the emotional context that is going to make you stand apart.”

• Emotional thinking
Emotional thinking aligns a company’s brand, product/service, ideal audience and culture along an emotionally charged axis that drives a company’s products design, marketing and sales strategy. It becomes your starting point for your marketing approach, your sales approach and your company pitch. Before doing a pitch, you need to understand firstly what your brand is, who you are trying to affect, and who your competitors are. This is essential, as a pitch is a condensed version of who you are in three minutes. Emotional thinking allows you to remove these barriers and to successfully launch your products into the US.

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

- The best way to sell your product is to think about the end-user: the idea of B2B and B2C is dead, as at the end of the day, it is a human person who is going to take the decision. What you want to achieve with your products is to inspire people, not to make money. This is the best way to influence people to become loyal to you. Emotion means that you feel something and this is what should happen with your brand.

- Great brands either solve a problem or allow you to dream and aspire to something more intangible.

- Let the technology be your burden, not your customer’s. Think long term and do not forget about who your audience is and what they want.

- Your brand lives with your team: you need to create a collective culture within your organization and to create that love for your brand inside your company. Everyone should be involved from top to bottom. From the receptionist to the top level, everyone should carry the same message to ensure consistency.

 

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