The question you are probably asking yourself is, “Is he really using Batman, a comic book super hero, to talk about branding?”
I am absolutely going to use Batman as a model for how you should be building your brand. But if you think about it, it’s not as strange as it sounds. You know who Batman is. The character is a household name, with major movie franchises, cartoon series, comic books, graphic novels, toys and action figures, and the list could go on. You probably immediately think of the logo (or, according to what generation you are part of, Michael Keaton or Christian Bale) when you hear the name Batman.
There is a lot you can learn from Batman’s branding strategy in making sure your brand stands out.
1. A Batman Amount of Research
Yeah, I know it sounds weird. But, please, just hear me out. Batman always does his research. No matter what era of the Batman franchise you look at, he is always finding a way to defeat some villain. Dumb luck doesn’t factor into Batman’s plans. Not to get too nerdy, but he even made a contingency plan to defeat the Justice League.
There is a lot you can learn from Batman’s research. You have to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and whom you are doing it for. Brand research can’t be a one time thing. Because it touches every part of your business, you need to make sure that your brand is building value in customer’s minds.
There isn’t a balance sheet for “brand value”, but it’s a power asset. It deserves to be prioritized.
2. The Batman’s Audience
Batman knows his audience. It’s not the people of Gotham city, not the victims of crimes. Batman’s audience is criminals. He has built himself in a way that is meant to terrify his audience. Criminals fear him because he has instilled this fear in them with his branding.
Now, I’m not saying that you should terrify your audience, but you do need to build your brand around a very defined audience. You can’t be all things to all people. Your audience needs to identify that you are talking to them. And that means that your branding message needs to be strong, compelling, and clear. Knowing your target audience will help you solidify your message and increase your confidence in connecting with that audience.
Gaining the devotion of your target audience is the way to reach your brand objectives.
3. The Batman Branding Consistency
Batman is consistent. While there have been variations in the way Batman might appear, how he is presented, or how readers might perceive him, he is still essentially the same. Despite creative changes due to the large group of people who have been involved in the franchise, the origin story, the bat, the logo, and the persona are all still there.
Branding consistency is critical in establishing your presence both on and offline. To give consumers a clear depiction of your brand, you have to have a consistent message across all advertising channels. You know that branding successes don’t happen overnight. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, and Walmart, all of these successful branding stories took decades to develop. Once you have established your branding message, stick with it and continue to deliver that message time and time again.
Most brands you know and love have stood the test of time, all because of their branding consistency.
4.The Batman Brand Promise
So humor me for just a moment because I am about to get super nerdy. But I promise there is a point. In the original Batman origin story, the young, orphaned Bruce Wayne knelt beside his bed and prayed, “I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on criminals.” That is super dark, especially for a 1930s comic, but that promise is the basis for everything Batman does. If you know anything about Batman, you know that he is going to get the criminals. He promises vengeance.
While I am not encouraging you to make a brand promise to impose vigilante justice, it is important for you to create a clear brand promise. Your brand promise is the commitment to deliver made between you and your audience. Promises, by their very nature, have to be fulfilled. At the end of the day, your brand promise should be so solid that customers develop expectations for your brand. And they should know that you will deliver.
The best brands deliver on their brand promise in every customer interaction.
Branding goes beyond just a logo or a graphic element. Your brand is the way customers perceive you, and it relates to their entire customer experience. Just like Batman, your branding needs to be built on a strong idea that you and your staff can hold on to, commit to, and deliver upon. By learning a few lessons from Batman’s branding strategy, you will build strong brand awareness and find new loyalty among your customer base.