When It All Comes Together

The Above-the-Waterline Stuff Can Tell Your Brand Story

Much of strategic branding (positioning, differentiation, focus, brand personality, voice and tone, etc.) happens below the waterline—you know, where customers and prospects can’t necessarily see. But here’s an example of how purposeful branding and forethought can help tell your brand story by infusing your above-the waterline elements into the stuff customers and prospects CAN see. Your trade dress—as it’s often referred to—can help tell your brand story.

Plus, this example just made me smile.

Business Name: Nun of Your Beeswax

The Logo: A stylized nun doubling as a candle

The Tagline: Holy Smokes

From these three elements, I can infer the following about this business:

  • Personality: They’re playful. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Their voice and tone is light and easy going.

  • Audience: This candle company has a specific target marketplace in mind: churches and religious institutions that use candles; everyone in the world who uses candles.

  • Positioning: While I did not study the competition, I can safely say that in the religious candle space, Nun of Your Beeswax holds a specific distinction of “that funny candle company.” They are likely the opposite of—or positioned directly against—the serious, buttoned-up, and holier-than-thou candle companies that serve this niche.

This example of the above-the-waterline branding also demonstrates the power of alignment. When your character (who you are) is aligned with your conduct (how you act), which in turn is aligned with your conversation (how you “speak” in your marketing and communications), your business is in alignment. In this case, the Nun of Your Beeswax name is perfectly aligned with their mark, which is perfectly aligned with their tagline, or descriptor.

Let me mention one final benefit of this approach: It’s just plain fun, which builds buzz and word-of-mouth opportunities to spread your story to those who can and will buy what it is that you’re selling.

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