Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trees of distinction

Trunks of colour - copyright intoimages 2010

Trees of distinction copyright intoimages 2010
I am constantly amazed by the wonderful colours and textures of the beautiful Gum trees that surround this great land of ours. I drive my family crazy taking photos of tree trunks and gum leaves. I'm saving them for a project I've had in my head for a while now.

This week I've been thinking alot about Australia and how unique a country it really is. In my work I am constantly educating myself about branding and have been recently reading a book about building brands, 'How brands grow' by Byron Sharp, an Australian author.

Byron suggests that instead of trying to differentiate from our competitors, we must discover what it is that is distinct about us. "What is the difference?", I hear you ask. The question is whether we really take much notice of the differences between brands or if we choose products or services based on something quite distinct that resonates with us as human beings. Emotional responses are probably the most powerful, whether you have a need for something or not, it is the emotional experience you have with a brand that quite often draws you back.

Take the recent Oprah visit as an example. She "loved Australia!!!!" as she shouted from the steps of the Opera House. But what was it that she loved? Was it the frisky Koala or the sites of Sydney? Was it the stage she graced at Federation Square in Melbourne, or was it the sunset at Ayres Rock?
It was probably all of these things. But it was the emotional experience that will entice her back to our shores. The connections she made with people and the special treatment she received as a guest in our country.

I'm not a huge Oprah fan but I do believe she is a very unique and distinct individual who has a most powerful affect on many people worldwide. Hey, she even caused a huge spike in donations to our flood appeal in QLD and if her raving about Australia increases tourism, that can only be a good thing for the country, especially QLD.

So getting back to the gum trees. What do they have to do with branding or being distinctive or even Oprah?
They are distinctly Australian (although we did see one in Malta in c.2000) but to me they connect me to the bush where I grew up and I therefore have that emotional experience and memory that takes me back to a distinctly emotional place. To me they are an icon of Australia because of what the bush represents to me. Fresh air, peace, wide open space, native animals, bushfires (yes I have many memories of these), camping, that unique smell, childhood spent making bark huts, colour, variation, vibrancy, shade from the relentless heat..........should I go on??

So when you think of your own business, product, service, blog or whatever you are trying to persuade people to love, think of how they might experience all of these things. What is it that makes you distinct?

Happy Australia Day to you all. We all love Australia Oprah and we love that we live here!!! How lucky we are.

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