The Brand Kernel
The kernel is the core of brands. It is the beating heart that imbues them with life and it is the source with which all marketing efforts should fundamentally begin.
Brands are as complex and varied as people. They have a personality: a face they show to the world and a charm that attracts people to their camp. Just like people, there is also an intangible aspect about them that makes them tick. Some sort of overriding passion at the core of their existence. Their raison d’etre.
Let’s take for example a well known brand like Nike. Its kernel is clear to all of its customers. It stands for unadulterated performance. The human need to excel. The drive behind all great achievements in sports.
Not all brands are this clearly defined. Not every company knows what to tell its customers. But every company, no matter its size, was started for a reason.
Has one thing it does best and has a destination it wants to reach. That is where branding experts begin. First lay the foundation and then build towards the sky.
In order to be successful, designers, creative directors, and brand managers all have to agree on the kernel. They must begin their efforts from the same starting line and face in the same direction.
Tangible attributes such as taste, colour, feel, touch and smell are great for use in marketing collateral but it is the emotive kernel that great brands are built on.