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Holistic Branding + Digital Transformation




Like most people these days, I’m staring at a screen for many hours of the day. I mean, like a lot of hours. So I just got new glasses and of course, I wanted them to look stylish but not be expensive. The first brand I considered was Warby Parker. Why? Well, because the glasses are cool. More importantly, I identify with their core values. In addition to offering stylish frames and a great price, they are a business based on a social marketing model, giving away one pair of glasses to a person in need for each one purchased.


When brands know who they are and communicate authentically, it can be integrated into all of its marketing, including brick and mortar spaces, its team, how it communicates verbally and visually and what its values are. This differentiates a brand and enables customers to make an emotional connection with it. It is the essence of holistic branding and the basis of the Know, Like and Trust characteristic of strong brands.


So what elements should be considered to make your brand more holistic and build your KLT factor? There are few things:


Brand Promise

The brand itself is a promise to your audience about the type of experience that they should expect. Once you make a promise of an amazing experience with a shiny logo and website, it needs to be upheld across all of your touchpoints. For example, if your brand promise is premium service and value then your customers should experience that when they go on your website, engage with you on social media, interact with anyone on your team online or in person, come into your location and buy your product or service.


Target Market

Who is it that you want to reach and what is it that they really want? People should be at the heart of what and how brands communicate. To make an emotional connection, it’s important to

know your ideal customer’s wants and needs, and to have an understanding of what they may not even know they need yet.


Brand Personality

Brands are sort of like people in the way that we relate to their personalities. We spend time with people we like because we speak the same language, like the same activities, etc...The personality of a brand is one way to put a 3-D picture of the brand together. It determines what you say, how you say it and where you say it which helps your target market to better identify with the brand.


Brand Story

In life and in branding, stories add meaning without the parameters of definitions. Powerful brands tell stories that their target market can relate to and which are often the basis strong visual and verbal emotional connections.


Visual Communication

A brand’s logo, colours, imagery, and design elements are how it is identified in the marketplace and separated from the competition. It is also a critical part of the brand’s promise and gives cues about how the target market should think about the brand e.g. upmarket and exclusive or entry-level and easily accessible.

The KLT and Digital Transformation


Digital transformation has been a business buzzword for a few years now. The easiest way to think about it is the ability to do completely new things in business rather than improving how the business currently operates. If we think about it from a holistic branding perspective and building the KLT factor as a way to gain an entry point to the consumer, digital transformation enables a brand to really open all the doors and make itself comfortable by understanding what the consumer wants and offering personalized customer experiences, products and services.


Still sounds ambiguous? Think about a decidedly non-tech experience and the huge impact that digital transformation has on it. Consider the beauty retail chain Sephora. I always think I’m going in for one or two items but end up leaving with more than I planned for and a vague pledge to wear more makeup. While I’m there, however, I smell all the perfumes and try on a bunch of lip colours and there’s always a beauty assistant who is advising me on which foundation and colours are the best match for my skin. This is the traditional method to sell make up. But Sephora has used digital and innovation to transform its business.


The company studied its digital customers to understand their needs, social engagements and aspirations and what they want in beauty products. One of the biggest needs they identified was finding the correct colours, especially for foundations. Tech options on the mobile app and in-store allow customers to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air.


What does it all mean?


Brands that execute well on the KLT factor by thinking holistically about how they communicate with their audience are in a good position to build loyalty. Building on this foundation by Implementing a digital strategy to transform not only how the company does business but indeed what it does is a recipe for growth. Understanding what they need and making it convenient and easy to obtain is the next stage of business in the fourth industrial revolution.


When you get right down to it, everything is connected. Companies and brands will stand the test of time when they approach their branding with a holistic perspective and are willing to make the investment to transform the relevant aspects of their brand to better connect with consumers.



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I'm a strategic marketing communication consultant who works with premium brands to tell compelling brand stories, guide perception, drive engagement and build loyalty to win hearts and wallets. Find out more about me at www.royanndean.com, follow me on Twitter @royanndean and Linkedin.

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