Why your brand is a bridge
People buy things to bring about change in their lives. They want to get to a better place. Functional solutions are often taken for granted, and the holy grail of our time is identity transformation. This makes sense in a time when people use brands as raw materials to construct their own identity. What this essentially means is that we no longer simply buy things to live as liberated individuals, but to express who we are and belong to others.
Your brand is a bridge, because it helps your customers get to a better place. The gap you are bridging across can be described as identity burdens. This can be understood against the backdrop of collective anxiety, historical changes or tensions in society. The brands which provide meaningful bridges across these challenges have the potential to gain mythic proportions.
How people cross your bridge
People cross your bridge when they interact with your brand. For example when they visit your website, use your services, don your jeans, or sip your soda. On a deeper level they are transforming who they are. Identity transformation is achieved through stories and rituals. When they buy your product they are taking part in a powerful ritual of consumption charged with meanings. When they down your soda they are invoking your story. The ritual itself re-enacts a story that can potentially transform their lives. In this sense consumption is existential, it is about who they are – or more correctly who they become.
Why people cross your bridge
People cross your bridge with the help of others, and to join other people. Identity can be understood on many levels, such as individual, tribal and nationalistic. However the face-to-face level is the most important in the new world of tribalism. Your bridge can be a ticket into communities and tribes. Essentially when people buy and use your brand they can become a part of a tribe.
A bridge example
For example, when I train on a Powerplate I become a part of a smart and healthy tribe, that is consciously time effective (it takes 15 minutes). When I use the product I take part in a powerful ritual that transforms me to a healthier and more effective person. When I train I tap into stories related to NASA, and elite sportsmen. I cross the Powerplate bridge every time I use and share stories about their product.
Crossing the bridge yourself
Thinking of your brand as a bridge will liberate you from the introvert perspectives of “brand personality”, and “brand associations”. It places an emphasis on your customers, their journey and how they use your brand. You see… it’s not really about you! (Sorry for being so blunt.) People will build stronger relationships to your brand, if you help them build stronger relationships to people they want to be with (e.g. tribes).
Bridge related questions
What is your brand as a bridge?Where does that bridge lead to? Where does that bridge lead from? What tribes does your brand link people to? What rituals does your brand support? What is the story of your brand?.