What is your brand doing so customers are proud to show off your brand?

When we make choices in the marketplace, we select on a number of factors. We consider features and compare one solution to another to make sure it meets the needs of the task. Assuming we believe the product or offering will do what we need it to, we will also factor in the external factors.

What does this selection say about me? What does this solution signify to my social circle and beyond about my taste and status? The signal to be sent is factored into every consumer choice we make. A cola may have the same caffeine as a cup of coffee or an energy drink. Yet there are clear choices on display that relate to lifestyle when someone is holding a Coke, and Monster or a Starbucks. Each is a signal.

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Kohl’s, Target and every department store (still) in existence sells coats. A consumer can go to any store to get one that will keep them warm. Yes, they can shop by weight or style based on where they live and the activity they’ll conduct in the coat. There are dozens or hundreds of suitable choices. Yet, luxury brands produce new styles every year and for a certain type of consumer, they simply must buy one. Is it warmer?

Well, maybe. But more likely, they are buying the signal. I am successful. I can afford this new style, it’s the newest. Whether a company knows it or not, its brand is sending such a signal. Some brands shape and curate the signals they intend their customers to project. Some find themselves surprised at what people interpret about their brand and its customers.

On a basic level the company behind the brand designs the base signals in the form of communication. The logo, the website, the colors. If there are vehicles or a storefront. All of these are the most basic kinds of signals. Simple. Intentional. These reach from the brand to the core consumer.

Extending the signal of your brand

How does a brand create a signal repeater? While the core elements of the business, if done right, may attract the initial group of customers, how can a company create the conditions for it’s intended signal to be carried further; From its customers to the next wave of prospects?

Details like form, packaging or shopping bags have the potential to extend the lifespan of a shopping experience that allows one person to encounter something purchased by a core customer. A well designed shopping bag, can be reused, and might serve as a meaningful signal about the promise of the brand. A sports brand might create a shopping back that could be re-used during athletic outings, to serve as a reminder to the customer and cue to prospects.

Home and personal cleaning brand Method grew by redesigning it’s products to stand out on the shelf. What they weren’t prepared for was that their core customers liked the packaging so much, they kept them out on display. At the time, most soap was hidden away in cabinets or camouflaged. Method experienced serious growth through the signal repeated by trendy customers who had the product proudly on display as a part of their kitchen and bath decor.

As you think about your brand, consider what ways you are creating for your specific customers to repeat your signal and share the brand on your behalf. What cues have you created–or might you create–that will make customers excited and proud to show off your brand?