Brand truth: what you do is not what you do

Ask less evolved brands what they do and you’ll get some pretty straightforward answers. Joe from Joe’s Brakes will tell you, “We fix people’s brakes.”

Ed from Humdinger Donutz will say, “We make donuts.”

These answers are absolutely accurate. So why do they leave us saying “meh”? Because that’s not why we would choose them. If we choose them at all.

What an evolved brand does

Creating preference is something that an evolved brand has the ability to do.

Let me use Starbucks as an example. Following the same formula as above, Starbucks would say, "We give people a delicious cup of coffee (or tea).” But that’s not really what Starbucks does. I mean, yes, they do give me a delicious cup of coffee. But what they really do can be found in their statement of purpose (which is in their mission statement):

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

That’s why people go to Starbucks and pay a premium for coffee. Sure the coffee is good. But what we crave is the way they make us feel in everything from the products to the people to the atmosphere.

Telling people what you do (literally) is a symptom of a less evolved brand. If we really want to experience what a highly evolved brand can do for us, we need to go beyond what we do to reveal what we do for those we serve. Not just fixing their brakes, giving them a donut, or making a good cup of coffee. We need to show them how we can make their lives richer. Imagine explaining it in those terms the next time someone asks, “What do you do?"