B2B Brand Identity: Why Mythology Matters

By February 17, 2014Brand Management

If I were to tell you that a brand voice and personality were a part of creating a meaningful brand identity, you would probably nod in agreement and say, “Of course, I learned that in Marketing 101.” But if I were to tell you that mythology was an integral piece of B2B branding, you may look at me as if I had a few screws loose.

But, believe me, my head is on straight. Brand mythology is important—and here’s why.

A mythology is more than a fantastical story

In the traditional sense, myths and mythologies are narratives rooted in a distant or forgotten past, often populated by heroic and supernatural characters, and viewed in a psychological or spiritual light. Myths found their value and were passed on because they explained cultural values and truths. The truth piece is the most critical.

Maybe it’s their mystic elements or the popular show Myth Busters, but myths are often regarded as bogus and false. Sure, the idea of Hercules venturing down to the underworld is farfetched. But, there’s more to that story. There are the truths and morals we’re meant to learn. The adventure narrative is just a wrapping for the herculean themes of courage, persistence and love, which are lasting, real lessons we can adapt to our lives.

So, what is a brand mythology?

Here’s a Tartan-crafted definition followed by a deeper explanation.

brand mythology  noun: a critical component of a brand’s value proposition that explains the brand’s reasons for being, in a narrative that resonates with the brand’s target audience

First and foremost, a brand mythology is not fiction. It’s a boiling down of your brand’s story into the essentials of what your brand identity stands for. These truths are stitched together into an emotional, memorable narrative that reflects your brand’s voice and personality.

The mythology should spring directly from your brand’s value proposition too. But whereas a value proposition is designed for internal audiences, your brand mythology should be written to appeal to customers and communicate what they can expect from a business relationship with you.

 The 4 Cs of writing an effective brand mythology

As branding bravehearts, when the Tartan team is working on a brand identity project we abide by our beloved 4 Cs.

Clear – Your brand mythology needs to use clear language—crystal clear language, in fact—that your customers use and understand. So, remove the business jargon and don’t be too metaphorical or flowery.

Concise – It’s all about sacrifice here. You can’t say everything about your brand and instead need to home in on the single, holistic benefit you deliver better than your competitors. Being concise will help focus your mythology, so it really hits home.

Compelling – To make an impact, your brand mythology needs to be emotional—not necessarily touchy-feely or sappy, but the message should strike a nerve with your audience. The easiest way to do this is to address your customers’ pain points and show them how your product or service will help them solve a real pain point or problem.

Convincing – Whatever narrative your brand mythology weaves, for it to be truly convincing, it has to be believable. Being aspirational is encouraged, and these aspirations can act as a roadmap that drives your communication and future growth. However, if you’re too lofty, you’re setting yourself up to disappoint customers.

Sticking to the 4 Cs will help you create a strong brand mythology that connects with your audience. Its simplicity, clarity and relevance to your value proposition will help you occupy a distinct place in your customers’ minds—a lasting impression that breaks through the clutter and sets your brand identity apart.

Does your brand have a mythology? What was your development process?  Share your thoughts on how well it’s working for you.

About Margie MacLachlan

Known around these parts as Queen of the Clan, Margie is the driving force behind the planning and strategic content development we perform for our clients. Imparting her will and wisdom, she pushes us to challenge conventional thinking, to make our customers' marketing programs more compelling, and to craft content worthy of their brands and relevant to their audiences.

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