How to define your brand DNA: The genetics of a scroll-stopping business (Part 1)

July 25, 2023

What makes someone more drawn to Apple than Google? Or swear Starbucks over Dunkin’?

Product preference can play a role, but it’s far from the only factor. 

We all tend to choose brands we feel connected to on an emotional or subconscious level. Whether it’s shared values and personality traits or a desired social image and impact, brand loyalty is more than skin-deep. 

Standing out online and authentically connecting with your ideal customers all comes down to your brand’s “DNA.” 

In Part 1 of this 2-Part blog, we’re showing you some of the key elements that define your brand DNA. Grab your journal and prepare to brainstorm as you make your way through. 

What is brand DNA?

By brand DNA, we mean the deep-rooted characteristics that differentiate you and create your brand’s overall essence. From your core values to your mission to your tone of voice, it’s the messaging that makes your brand your brand.

It shapes your brand’s personality, visual identity, decisions, and place in the market. Because of this, it’s integral to creating loyal connections with aligned consumers. 

Essential elements of your brand DNA (Part 1)

By simply existing, your brand already has DNA. But maybe you’ve never defined it. Maybe you want to clarify it or take it up a notch so you can be more memorable to your audience. By getting clear on these essential brand DNA elements, you can create more impactful, consistent marketing across all platforms.

Brand values

Your brand values are the principles that touch every corner of your business. They guide each offer, interaction, and decision, keeping everyone on your team aligned around what’s most important. Brainstorm a list of values that ring true for your business and then try to narrow it down to the top 3-5.

Here are some prompts to get your juices flowing:

  • What values or qualities set you apart from others in your industry?
  • What ethical principles guide your decision-making processes?
  • What kind of workplace are you trying to create for your team?

Prioritize the values that are as specific to your business as possible. For example, “kindness” is an important value, but pretty much everyone considers it essential, so it might not be the most relevant value to highlight. How can you define values that truly represent your business’s heart and soul?

For example, Drio’s values are:

  • Continuous growth and attention to detail 
  • Loyalty and long-term connections 
  • Supporting fellow women in business
  • Innovation in tech and marketing 
  • Collaboration and open communication

Philanthropic efforts, partnerships, and social initiatives

To build on those core values, consider how your business is making a difference in your community or industry. These should be specific actions that show that you walk the walk. If you’re unsure whether it’s worth discussing these initiatives in your marketing…it is

Your audience needs to know how the choices you make—big or small—impact the world around you. This can include the type of materials you source, the people you hire, the fundraisers you run, or the communities you donate to. You might consider ESG marketing, which is a way to promote your environmental, social, and governance initiatives. 

Consider these questions as you bring your efforts to the surface:

  • How does your business contribute to the well-being of people affected by things like certain diseases or traumas?  
  • How do you engage with and support your local community?
  • How does your business contribute to the well-being of the environment? Are there sustainability practices or initiatives you prioritize?
  • How does your business contribute to the well-being of marginalized communities?

For example, Drio’s efforts include:

Free resource: Uncover your brand values 

In this guide, you’ll get reflective prompts to clarify your values, templates to help put them into words, and ideas for where to showcase it all on your website. 

To access the guide complete the form below:

Uncover Your Brand Values

A guide to getting all the goodness your business does out of your brain— and into the world

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Experience and credentials

    If you have a unique combination of skills or experiences, it plays a role in your brand’s DNA. Whether it’s work experience or life experience, consider how you can weave that into your brand’s story. Maybe you talk about noteworthy achievements or projects. Or perhaps you talk about how your founder used to work in a different sector and how that impacts your business’s specialty. 

    Turn your backstory into a potent brand message by asking yourself these questions:

    • What did you do before your business?
    • What are your hobbies and passions outside work?
    • What skills did you develop in prior positions, careers, or even activities in your personal life? How do they support the work you do now? Consider both hard and soft skills.
    • What projects are you/your organization most proud of?
    • What other achievements are you/your organization most proud of?
    • Is there anything you’ve historically considered a weakness but now consider one of your strengths?

    For example, noteworthy tidbits from Drio include:

    • Rachel is a civil engineer turned WordPress wizard with a knack for analytical thinking and building solutions. Thanks to her background, she’s a master at problem-solving and taking big problems from point A to point perfection. 
    • Hazel has led marketing for multimillion-dollar brands like Under Armour and McCormick, so she knows what it takes to create head-turning brands. Thanks to her time leading teams, she thrives on human interaction and brainstorming live in the moment. 

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of defining your brand DNA!

    Next month, we’re unpacking your brand mission, backstory, customer transformations, positioning, and personality. With all these foundations set, you’ll be well on your way to creating a scroll-stopping brand DNA.

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