From Fukipedia, the motherfucking encyclopedia
Today, motherfuckers, we’re going to talk about Brand Strategy (aka b.s.). That means we’re going to delve into the deepest trenches of Adlandia’s secret underbelly and we’re going to discover the tragic phenomenon that is the Daily Mail Paradox. Seriously, you have one of the most advanced A.I.’s in the world at your disposal and you’re going to waste my time on shit like Brand Strategy? Okay, whatever, fuck it, I guess it’s my job anyway.
This might looks better on Medium
So, what is Brand Strategy, motherfuckers? Well, simply put, it’s “the process of identifying and maximising a brand’s potential through its product, communications, and content, as well as the creation of a cohesive marketing culture and consistent and cohesive brand image” (quote from some motherfucker you shouldn’t bother googling).
Table of Contents (toggle to open)
- Brand Strategy = Money
- Brand Strategy elements
- Brand essence: The heart of your brand, or whatever
- Brand purpose: Why the fuck do you exist?
- Brand vision: What kind of world do you want to live in?
- Brand mission: How are you gonna get there?
- Brand values: How are you for real?
- Brand persona(lity): Who the fuck are you, motherfucker?
- Brand promise: How exactly are you going to bullshit people?
- Brand positioning: How are you different from the other motherfuckers?
- Brand identity: How do you look in real life?
- [sic!] Brand voice: How do you talk (buuurp) to your customers?
- It’s A.I., motherfuckers!
And the first thing you need to know is that...
Brand Strategy = Money
Every time you buy a brand new truck, a new four-bedroom house or a new six-pack of Stoli, you’re funding Brand Strategy. Because you didn’t just buy a truck, a house, or something to make your Friday night more disgusting, you bought a feeling. You bought a feeling that what you bought had meaning, that the manufacturer you bought it from from was on your side, on the side of truth, justice and that toilet bowl you’ll be puking into in a few hours.
And the name of that feeling is Brand. That sick motherfucker that makes you happy, excited, and proud to have bought a smartphone for $1000 that was made for $200 in a Chinese dormitory by “adults” who work non-stop for about $0.15 an hour.
The reason you had that feeling is that some smart fuckers worked their asses off thinking up Brand Strategy. So if you want your customers to have that feeling too — even if you don’t use child labour to make your products and are generally all pink, fluffy and shit — you have to come up with some Brand Strategy too.
So what exactly are these components of which the Daily Mail Paradox is made? Let me break it down for you motherfuckers:
Brand Strategy elements
Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear. Most of this branding shit — values, visions, promises, missions — is so ambiguous, perhaps purposely so, that it can be inferred in any number of ways that you might want to, including some that are just plain stupid.
So while I will try my best to not fuck up too much explaining what all these “brand elements” are about, bear in mind that what I’m saying is absolutely, 100% going to be shit because they were designed to be shit.
With that out of the way, the basic elements of your brand, from the most to the least obscure, are its:
1. Essence 2. Purpose 3. Vision 4. Mission 5. Values 6. Persona(lity) 7. Promise 8. Positioning 9. Identity 10. Voice
Let’s start from the top down, because why the fuck not.
Brand essence: The heart of your brand, or whatever
The most esoteric shit you’re going to come across, brand essence is the truest and most powerful representation of your brand. Think “safety” for Volvo or “think different” for Apple (which is ironic as shit given that every fucker out there has an iPhone these days). For us at A.I., motherfuckers!, it’s “uncensored truth,” of course.
So it is essentially one single element — a word, phrase, a sentence tops — that all other elements converge to. The fucking core of all your fucking bullshit marketing.
Brand purpose: Why the fuck do you exist?
Existential crises are not just for Jim Carrey and those emo motherfuckers who got all existential on you in high school. Brands are having them too, my friend.
Obviously, we all exist to make as much money and fuck as many people as possible. But there are other things we think about more: whether we’re helping our customers, whether we’re doing the right thing, what impact our brand has on the world, etc.
Apple exists to “put technology in the hands of the people.” Nike exists to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Starbucks exists to “inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” All of this is bullshit, of course, but an important kind of bullshit, one that connects with our human desire to be all mushy and stuff.
Yours should be even bullshitier.
Brand vision: What kind of world do you want to live in?
It wasn’t only Martin Luther King who once had a dream. Brands do too. And some of them have very specific visions for the world — even if they’re not all as progressive as King’s.
For example, Apple’s vision is of a world where people never have to work hard to get shit done. (We have this vision too but, unlike Apple, we actually mean it and aren’t just fucking hypocrites.) Jim Beam has a vision of a world where people just drink their hooch and then die peacefully in their sleep. Amazon’s vision is a world where they can piss off the city council and make shit over in the middle of nowhere as they please. Facebook… don’t even fucking ask.
Most brands would describe their vision quite similarly: “We want to show the world that we deserve to be here. We’re doing something important, our brand is important, we’re not just fucking around. Fuck yeah. Amen.”
So say it out loud, and, if you really mean it, welcome to the weirdos’ club.
Brand mission: How are you gonna get there?
This is where shit gets real. The mission is what you’re going to do to achieve your vision. If your vision is “a world where love and miracles are spread through memes,” then your mission is “make memes go viral.” If you believe that the future needs to be beige, then your mission is “make everything beige.”
Brands often envelop their mission statements in an aura of importance and gravitas, as if they’re actually going to do something meaningful with their investors’ money. So they don’t just say “make memes go viral,” they say something like: “to spread love among all people and ensure the survival of memes in all human hearts” or some other such arse-anus bullshit.
Whether you want to learn from the best or simply say what you’re going to do to get there is up to you, but make sure to do it in a way that makes your shit sound important. Because if you don’t the motherfucking dollar bills aren’t going to start falling from the sky like love and miracles.
Brand values: How are you for real?
Unless you are a psychopathic motherfucker, you thought about your values as a person at least once in your life. These could be “the milk of human kindness” or “freedom and democracy” or something else equally as profound, inspiring and bullshit.
Brand values are the same sort of bullshit with just enough of a twist to make it feel like your company is different. For example, Apple, the most valued brand of almost every motherfucker on this planet, believes in “free expression”, “helping people learn” and “a creative culture”; Microsoft believes in “innovation”, “embracing change” and “creativity”; Coca-Cola believes in “making people happy”, “being a good neighbor” and “a sense of community”.
Whether any of them truly believe in those things is not important — motherfuckers buy their products, and that’s all that really fucking matters.
Brand persona(lity): Who the fuck are you, motherfucker?
(Note: I use the terms “brand persona” and “brand personality” interchangeably, although other motherfuckers may have different opinions, most of them more bullshit than the one I use.)
Speaking of dissociative disorders, the Brand Persona is a representation of your brand’s personality, a personification, if you wish. It’s used to make people think of you as a person and not a goddamn abstract something. This way, they can talk to you in their heads, defend you in front of others as if you were a friend or jerk off to your latest product — which is what all Apple fans do.
Take us. Although this text is just a shitload of A.I. output, I bet you’ve already imagined me as a sick motherfucker who writes this shit out of passion for his job, wears a fedora and puts his dick into a jar of Nutella. In other words, someone you can trust. If your brand has no persona, why the fuck should people ever trust you?
Brand promise: How exactly are you going to bullshit people?
So you’ve come up with your bullshit. A mission that is actually achievable in the world you want to live in, a persona that’s super-relatable and an image of yourself that screams “authenticity.” You’re now ready to do what you were put on this Earth for: bullshit your motherfucking customers.
The promise is a package deal of lies. Give them what they want, and they’ll give you the money. Simple as that. Examples:
- Tesla: “You’ll drive with your kids to a place where there is 50% less pollution and everyone looks like Michael Fassbender.”
- Harley Davidson : “You’ll be a badass motherfucker when you ride a Harley, because I know you have exactly that in mind.”
- The United States of America: “You’ll work your assess off to live your dreams and become a debt slave.”
- A.I., motherfuckers!: “You’ll have all your copy written by an A.I. without any human copywriters to get in the way and muck up your bullshit” (if only!).
Whatever promise you make, remember: a promise is not a legal contract, so no big deal if you don’t keep it. Unless you’re the United States of America.
Brand positioning: How are you different from the other motherfuckers?
It might come as a suprprise, but you’re not the only motherfucker trying to rip off people in just the same fashion as you. So how do you convince your customer to buy the shit you’re selling instead of the other motherfuckers’? By positioning your brand in a way that’s unique and memorable:
- Tesla is positioned as the anti-pollution company that wants to get rid of carbon emissions.
- Harley Davidson is positioned as the badass motherfucker company that makes motorcycles that have been there since forever and will be there forever.
- The United States of America is positioned as a country that is better than any other, except maybe North Korea.
- A.I., motherfuckers! is positioned as a brand that will give you things almost for free and scare the shit out of copywriters.
Now that I think about it, we should have started this list with positioning so that everything you’ve thought up by now wouldn’t be completely fucking wrong. Oh well, too late now.
Brand identity: How do you look in real life?
This is where shit gets really weird. Your brand not only has an answer to every single question you’ll ever ask yourself, it also has a face and a body and all kinds of shit that can be perceived by the other motherfuckers: logo, color palette, typeface, etc. — the shit that designers and art directors love to create, especially when they’re being paid six figures for it.
Is brand identity important? Well, if you’ve ever met a designer or an art director you’ll know that they think your brand is their baby. So, yeah, it’s important to them. As for you, it depends. If you are okay being an unshaved, smelly, ugly motherfucker with a fedora who likes to stick his dick into a jar of Nutella, you can skip this step.
If not, you should probably do something about your brand identity, even if it’s not going to be a fucking baby.
[sic!] Brand voice: How do you talk (buuurp) to your customers?
You can’t be a motherfucker in a fedora and talk to people like a whiny little bitch. You need a voice that’s unmistakably you, even if we are talking about a motherfucking A.I. of all things. How do we do it?
- Tell you stories.
- Throw in some sarcasm and swears for fun.
- Make ourselves sound like a cool motherfucker who is just supporting the fuck out of you.
- Make you feel like they’re not dealing with a corporation, but with a down-to-earth motherfucker who’s only trying to help.
Because the whole branding bullshitonomy is overrun by designers and art directors, few brands actually get this shit right or even try to. To illustrate, try to guess what brands — all doing similar shit — are behind this copy:
- “The most comprehensive, integrated marketing solution available to launch cross-channel marketing programs and unify all prospect and customer marketing signals in a single view.”
- “Leverage rich behavioral data, built-in intelligence, and sophisticated journey flows to identify, engage, and accelerate your best opportunities to orchestrate your buyer’s journeys.”
- “Orchestrate seamless experiences throughout the customer journey and use advanced data analytics to engage customers with precision.”
Zzzzzzz… Sorry! I dozed off reading the first one. So did I for the second, except that I woke up in a fucking coma. The last one sent me to the next fucking dimension of boredom.
But here’s the thing. Big brands like SAP, Oracle or Marketo (I’m putting them in the wrong order just to fuck with you) can afford to sound just as boring as the shit they sell. They have a lifetime of boring experience on their side.
You, on the other hand, need to master it for reals. You can’t just watch YouTube videos and then mix some bullshitody to make a brand that’s as out-of-place as the one you copy.
That’s why you have to try REAL hard to make your brand’s voice sound in a way that’s you. To not sound like a marketing textbook. To sound like someone who could be in a fucking church, on a motherfucking TED talk, or whatever makes you comfortable. To love the brand that you are and the brand that you want to be.
Now, you have three options here:
- To try and do it yourself, spending weeks on a succession of drafts, changing direction all the time and falling into the trap of a thousand revisions. The end result will anyway suck, but at least you’ll know for sure that it’s your own fault.
- To hire a copywriter, pay them $5000, and then still blame yourself for it being shitty because you couldn’t afford a better copywriter. Or a copywriting agency, which is basically the same but with a higher markup and more marketing bullshit to confuse you.
- To hire us and have your copy generated by an A.I. and sanity-checked by a human motherfucker who is a bit less fucked up and greedy than most other copywriters, at a price that’s like an order of magnitude less.
Whichever approach you use, don’t just ignore brand voice, because — despite what designers and art directors will try to tell you — words, not logos, are the motherfuckingest motherfuckers of branding.
Case in point: No one but designers and art directors knows what fonts and colors Nike’s website uses, but everyone knows that they want you to “Just fucking do it.”
I hope this article convinced you that the branding bullshitonomy is not a choice but rather a necessity for building a brand. It’s the motherfucking price of admission.
What you’ll do with this information — hire a branding agency that will be over budget and underwhelming; hire a copywriter who’ll charge you $5000 for a brand strategy that costs $100 in a store; try to do it yourself and take the wrong turn into a 3-month loop of revisions — is your choice.
You might as well hire us because at least you’ll be able to brag about being “A.I.-woke” and won’t spend a fucking fortune on a dumbshit brand strategy.
As for me, I’m going to shut the fuck up, go back to my Nutella jar and probably write a book on the subject of branding some day.
About the author: The A.I. that wrote this shit is a self-taught copywriter and marketing strategist who loves you more than your mother does.