Gucci, Patagonia, NotCo, Twinings. Oddbox, Vivienne Westwood, Peloton. What do all these brands have in common? Just like the brilliant people and companies we work with at Creative ID, they have succeeded by using aspirational branding to attract the right customers to their business.
In this article (clickable links below):
What is aspirational branding?
Put simply, aspirational branding is about making your business something your customers aspire to be associated with. By engaging with an aspirational brand, customers show they admire the values t promotes and wish to reflect those values in themselves. In the most successful cases, the customers even become an extension of the brand, aligning themselves as a “Patagonia wearer”, a “Peloton user”, or a “Twinings drinker” as a method of demonstrating their own values to others.
How does it work?
Brands can be aspirational in different ways, depending on the product or service they offer and the customers they seek to attract.
Some brands become aspirational by representing glamour, prestige, or status. High-end fashion brands like Gucci or Tiffany & Co for instance, or restaurants such as London’s Chiltern Firehouse where people go to be seen among a certain crowd as much as they do to enjoy the food.
In other cases, it is a brand’s reputation for quality and performance that customers aspire to be associated with; for instance Aston Martin cars, TAG Heuer watches, or specialist equipment brands like Peloton.
Many people aspire to associate with brands that share ethical philosophies, such as being carbon-neutral, implementing sustainable practices, and treating employees fairly. Oddbox, the fruit and veg supplier reducing waste by selling items rejected for their “unusual” aesthetics, and Abel & Cole, who deliver organic produce with minimal packaging, are great examples of this.
Finally, there are aspirations of personality. By creating a brand that is fun, quirky, sexy, innovative, spiritual, etc., businesses attract people who aspire to reflect those qualities. Examples include Red Bull, who appeal to active and on-the-go adrenaline seekers, or Vivienne Westwood, who built her reputation on the rebellious and provocative personality of punk.
In most circumstances, an aspirational brand will be shaped from a combination of these features, along with others.
“The most important thing to remember is you must know your audience”
- Lewis Howes, entrepreneur and best-selling author
How can you make aspirational branding deliver for you?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for aspirational branding. As the examples above sow, different qualities appeal to different people.
To make aspirational branding deliver, you must examine the values which make your brand aspirational and communicate them at every touchpoint.
Th South American mountain range backdrop of the Patagonia logo, for instance, paints an image of adventure and nature that is at the core of its sustainable and responsibly sourced outdoor apparel philosophy. NotCo places products in familiar packaging then adds a bold “NOT” to its labelling. NOT Milk, NOT Chicken Nuggets, NOT Burger. This creates the image of a genuine, quality replacement for the meat and dairy products their customers are rejecting. Twinings, on the other hand, sets itself apart from other tea brands with rich colours, a royal stamp of approval, and describing themselves as “merchants” to evoke feelings of quality, luxury, and status.
Each example is different, and you branding will be different again, but with rigorous and honest examination of what your brand represents and the communication of this through logos, packaging, images, a tone of voice, and other touchpoints, you can also use aspirational branding to attract the right customers and deliver for your business.
To talk about attracting the right customer, please contact us today by emailing us or calling +44 (0)20 7242 1877.
Until next time,