Why I founded a design firm with the goal of growing positive social movements through design.
The Goal of Social Entrepreneurs
Every social entrepreneur wants to create positive social change. We work on products, services, content, and distribution in order to get our story out into the world. But for us, simply being “out in the world” doesn’t cut it. To fulfill their purpose, these stories should be acting in people’s everyday lives to empower happiness, facilitate empathy, and raise collective energy in service of a cause.
So, how does one craft stories in a way that drives resonance and engagement?
Brands as Intentionally Designed Stories.
When I say “story”, it’s interchangeable with “brand”. A brand is basically a cohesive, designed story.
You can tell people resonate with a brand or story when the following phenomena occur:
- A shift in values.
- A change in behavior.
- Sharing and expression of happiness.
How do you get to the point where people resonate with your story?
People resonate with a story when the story evokes emotion.
But why does this emotional resonance matter?
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).
Note: Facts and information are one way to evoke emotion when framed correctly.
So you see, people make their purchasing decisions (and some behavioral decisions) largely based on the strength and nature of their emotional response to a brand.
So, now let’s zoom out with this concept. This shows the true power of brands ( to shape our society. People around the world associate Coca-Cola with the feeling of happiness, and it’s lead to the consumption of massive amounts of sugary drinks. How did Coca-Cola do this? A cohesive brand strategy.
- They created a soda that tasted good, and resulted in a sugar rush and feelings of satisfaction.
- Their tagline also represents this feeling: “Refreshing the world, one story at a time”
- Their main color , a solid red, stimulates a release of emotions, possibly more than any other color. When you attach the emotions stimulated by the color with Coca Cola’s relentless positioning as a bringer of happiness and refreshment, those emotions are framed as positive in your mind, and Coca Cola is associated with those positive emotions subconsciously.
So a cohesive brand involves much more than just looking aesthetically pleasing. While well designed marketing material is essential for people to understand your message, cohesion of the mood, voice, and intention of the material is essential for forming an emotional bond with your target audience.
The Importance of Branding For Social Enterprises
Being a social entrepreneur is all about convincing people of stories that, when engaged with, could change behavior in a way that betters society on an individual and systematic level.
Roza Ferdowsmakan. Roza created bites.mobi to change attitudes around our food system. She wants to facilitate cultural exchange, consumption of local food, and support a farm-to-table infrastructure that benefits our health and our environment.
When Roza’s story resonates with a large amount of people, the outcome could be a full-scale paradigm shift in the way we produce and consume food. Since 95% of the serotonin in our bodies and brains gets produced in our gut, and ethically produced local food has 5-17x less of a carbon footprint than conventionally sourced food, large-scale adoption of farm-to-table eating habits could result in a much happier population, much less expensive health care, and better protection against climate disasters.
An amazing story, backed up by researched facts, but way more people are associating Coca Cola with happiness than local food.
Herein lies the reason I founded emote.design. I work with social entrepreneurs like Roza to find their cohesive voice, and turn their story into an engaging brand through the design process. There are many different facets to a brand:
- Typography and color palette.
- Voice guidelines and word usage.
- A logo.
- A website.
- Application design.
- Content strategy.
- Internal company culture.
- Business processes and knowledge sharing systems.
and finally the outcome of those parts, customer experience. How does someone feel when interacting with your company? Your visual identity, product design, and how you speak to your customers must all be aligned to magnify positive emotional connection at the essential touchpoints.
When all of those pieces align through brand design, your story becomes more accessible to people. They feel like they should engage with your business and have the power to do so.
I hope through this article I’ve made it more clear what the impact of a well-designed brand can be, and the elements that combine to create a potent brand. I’m overjoyed to go down the path of implementing this thought process and working with passionate social entrepreneurs to make people’s lives better in a time of mass migration, polarization, climate uncertainty, and growing income inequality.
I want to give social entrepreneurs the power of a brand so they can turn their vision into impact.
Are you a social entrepreneur that wants to make an impact? Let’s work together. Head over to https://emote.design/get-in-touch/ and we can start the process of increasing your impact through design.