Aug 22, 2017

Discover Your Brand’s Spirit Animal

Animals are powerful symbols to personify your brand and what it represents. If your brand was an animal, what kind of animal would it be?

Is your brand:

  • Analytical and thoughtful like an owl?
  • Independent, ambitious, and strong like a lion?
  • Intelligent and creative like an octopus?
  • Playful, generous, and optimistic like an otter?
  • Community focused like a honey bee?

There is no shortage of animals that could represent your brand, and discovering your brand’s spirit animal is a useful exercise to try.

Connecting your brand to an animal creates self-awareness. You get to explain why one animal better reflects your company and its values more so than any other animal.

Go Beyond the Obvious

You may not feature the animal in your logo or marketing collateral, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discover your brand’s spirit animal. Increasing self-awareness is where you can gain brilliant insights into your brand:

  • Why you do what you do
  • What intrinsically motivates your team
  • Why are some customers a better fit with your brand
  • What to look for when hiring new talent

The key to making this exercise work is getting specific.

For instance, many companies are drawn to dogs, which isn’t too surprising. “Dogs are man’s best friend.” If you happen to land on a dog, go deep. Which breed? Does your brand have endless energy but a misunderstood personality, like a pitbull or staffordshire terrier? Or is your brand smart like a collie?

The point of a self-awareness exercise is to go as deep as you can. When you understand your brand’s inner motivations and traits you can pull that out into your marketing.

Showcase Your Animal

Don’t shy away from your brand’s spirit animal. It can become a brand symbol or even a brand mascot.

Think of the Alfac duck or the GEICO gecko. Each insurance company uses animals as brand mascots. These mascots are the face of the brand, and clearly differentiate each company.

 

Geico Gecko Aflac Duck

 

Animals take a company from being faceless and cold to giving it a voice with personality. The gecko helps to position GEICO as a servant brand that is accessible to anyone.

The gecko is portrayed as a neighbor offering a friendly tip when buying car insurance, “Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.”

I too use animals in the development of my brands.

In my family business, we used a frog in our logo and brand mascot. Choosing a frog was easy for this brand, because the name LEAPJob is a play on the phrase “leap frog.”

LEAPJob Logo LEAPJob Brand Mascot

 

That said, we did a lot of research and self-discovery to create a frog that was unique to our brand. Our guidelines stated the frog always had to be in motion, youthful and energetic, and be a derivative of the red-eyed tree frog.

In Sticky Branding I use a bee.

Sticky Branding Logo

Finding the animal representation of Sticky Branding was a little tougher. We were looking for a symbol of attraction and connection, but we didn’t want to use images of glue or honey. Being stuck isn’t the point.

Sticky Branding is about attraction and connection. It’s about drawing in customers, building relationships, and creating a first choice advantage. This led us to the idea of bees attracting bears to honey, and how bees create highly organized communities. The bee stuck.

What Is Your Brand’s Spirit Animal?

What animal best represents your brand?

This is a simple and fun exercise. Start with a broad question, “What animal best represents our brand and why?” Then go deeper. Continually ask why. Compare your options, and consider other animals. Push yourself and your team beyond the obvious, and get to the real truths of your brand.

The reward of discovering your brand’s spirit animal is self-awareness. When you know what your brand truly represents and why, you can create brilliant marketing that brings those truths to life.

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I’d love to hear from you. Share your brand’s animal with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. And as always, I am here and happy to chat. Send me a note.

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