The Dark Knight’s Philosophy of Branding

    By Joseph Parker | Small Business

    Comic book characters continue to resonate with audiences through traditional and emerging forms of media. The success of these masked hero stories is dependent on the connection between the audience and the characters, both with the fantasies of their situations and the real-life issues that the people face in their lives. The Dark Knight’s Philosophy of Branding image batmanThe Dark Knight’s Philosophy of Branding

    Batman is a prime example of this, both in comics and in the recent Nolan film trilogy that ended last year. Unlike other costumed heroes, the Dark Knight found his purpose through a traumatic experience that him with a problem he—and only he—could solve. The connection that this character development made with the audience is a real one, in that any person could see it happening to them. And just as Batman was Bruce Wayne’s answer to Gotham’s problem, your brand must be the one and only answer to your audience’s problem.

    Do you feel in charge of solving your customers’ problems?

    As a result of Gotham’s endless plague of crime, Wayne goes on a journey that takes him all over the globe. He learns martial arts of every kind, gets into shape that would rival any Olympian, and learns how the criminal mind works.

    For brands, there is little difference. The brand sees the problem and is required to learn every possible way to solve it. Each moment is the result of research that ranges from customer analysis to regional market data. For example, Android developed a platform that allowed app developers to create whatever they willed. This was done because the Android platform was being installed on most everything non-Apple and, quite frankly, because Apple has fair strict rules on what people can and cannot develop. This is by no means the only problem Android was solving, but stands as an important solution in the mobile war between the brands.

    It’s what you do that defines you

    In his first encounters, Batman made a tremendous impression with the criminals of Gotham City. With a wide range of gadgets and top-secret weapons, Batman was able to create a perception that made him a symbol. He was the nightmare to those who would do wrong and his symbol (logo, if you will) represented all the consequences that would result if anyone committed a crime. Upon first impression, no matter the interaction, you knew what Batman—and his symbol—stood for.

    A brand’s first impression is not the ad, but the first experience of the user. This is the age of the educated consumer who expects perfection when it comes to what they buy. Any impression that the brand can make on the consumer is worthless until that brand can deliver on that impression.

    Being the hero your customers deserve

    In comics, escalation is inevitable. With each encounter, the Joker—Batman’s nemesis—does something more horrible than before, and Batman has to adjust. Batman must constantly change, grow, and master the problems in order to save the innocent.

    In today’s market, the brand that becomes doesn’t adapt is the brand that dies. Individual tastes, habits, priorities, and lifestyles change faster today than ever before, so brands must be aware of these changes and capitalize on them. Like Batman, brands are equipped with gadgets and devices to combat negative forces. Social media, email marketing, and website design are all tools that brands can utilize and consistently update to meet the needs and expectations of the consumer. Brands must move quickly, always measuring, always testing, in order to meet the customer where they are.

    The fundamental of any brand is the “why.” Why does the brand exist, why is it in business and why should I listen to them? Bruce Wayne created Batman because of an event that was symbolic of a larger problem. His why was to protect, deter, and inspire. The brand is no different. In finding its “why,” the brand can find an unending reserve. In finding its “why,” the brand can become something more than just a product. It can become a symbol that is remembered.

    Image credit: Sundance Channel

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