Stand out from the crowd, even if you’re in a saturated market. But how?

#Branding

By Taehee Kim Verney-Carron

MYS Team during photoshoot

In today’s world where everybody is distracted and overwhelmed by the flood of information, messages, and all kinds of overstimulating attacks, how can you rise above the rest and attract the right people to your brand, offer, and business? 

The secret lies in the humans. Let me tell you what this means.

At Making You Smile, we approach business and branding by bringing together two timeless figures, Steve Jobs and Socrates.

(We like to imagine discussing with these two over an irresistible cup of flat white and matcha cake on a Monday morning to start the week with a dopamine boost, or chilling out with a soul-cooling beer after work on a long sunny Friday in June. Wanna join us?)

“Get closer than ever to your customers.” - Steve Jobs

People want to feel seen, heard, and cared about. In branding and marketing terms, this means identifying and addressing the deepest pain points and desired outcomes—often hidden—of your target customers (who are, by the way, people, not mere targets of “transaction” or “conquest”). In short, a greater understanding is key to creating deeper bonds with one’s audience at an emotional level. That’s what successful brands do.

“Know thyself.” - Socrates

Many brands strive to understand their target customers well, but it's not enough. What's as important, if not more, is defining what makes YOUR business ultimately unique and attractive from the perspectives of the right people. To do that, try to answer how you can solve their problem in a way no one else does in your market. It’s equally crucial to determine how to express the unique energy, visions, and stories of the people behind your brand. Whether they’re there now or have been an important part of your brand’s history, the authenticity of these people shapes your brand’s identity and appeal.

"Get closer than ever to your customers." - Steve Jobs

"Know thyself." - Socrates

👉 Connecting the two dots ⚫ ⚫:

Once you’ve done the two fundamental things explained above, move forward with how you’re going to connect the two dots. 

Weaving together

⚫ the energy of the people behind your business 

with

⚫ that of those whose lives would be improved by your products and services 

...is how you build a powerful brand no one can imitate.

When you identify how to make the HUMANS behind your business connect with the HUMANS that are your target buyers by seamlessly bridging their ENERGIES, you can craft strategic and creative solutions that resonate deeply with your audiences in a unique way. Your offer becomes the only choice for your ideal customers, not just a better choice in the market.

Utilizing market data, user research, and competitive analysis is definitely important and useful. We do all of these a lot at Making You Smile. But these methods alone can't capture the more subtle and non-verbal cues—the energy—of the people representing your business and your audience. This is why it’s crucial to observe people with keen, unbiased, and sharp 'human' senses—including eyes, ears, nose, and intuition. 

This ENERGY MATCH creates a unique experience that competitors or AI cannot replicate. It’s the secret to compelling storytelling and forging a deeper connection between the brand and its public. It’s also why a brand with a clear, positive internal culture aligned with its officially communicated belief system attracts delighted buyers who are eager to be a part of that energy.

This approach that we implement at Making You Smile has delivered results across diverse sectors, including beauty, consulting, education, healthcare, high-tech, luxury, non-profit, outdoor, and renewable energy. We're passionate about uncovering what makes each client unique and helping them win the hearts of those who matter most.

In the past, I often felt shy about expressing my belief in human-centric branding openly, fearing I’d be told, 'you're too naive,' 'people come and go,' or 'you don't know how it really works in business.' In fact, back in 2021, someone from a client's team even wrote me an email with at least 10 people CCed, saying, "your feminine approach is interesting, BUT..."

Now, I’ve decided not to give a fxck about whatever others might say or think. 😎 

(In case you didn’t know, I’m a recovering excessive perfectionist who used to be deeply insecure and overly self-conscious. I grew up in a conservative family in a dynamic and fast-evolving yet paradoxically oppressive and face-saving country—South Korea—with strong remnants of Confucianism, where 'others' matter more than 'myself.' But guess what? It’s also one of the factors that fostered my sensitivity in observing other humans’ energy!)

I can confidently say your one-of-a-kind brand that your ideal customers will be thrilled about is waiting to be (re)imagined, shaped, and revealed to the world. 

Make that happen by connecting the two "dots" explained above. ⚫ ⚫

Or...does this approach resonate with you, but you lack the time or team to bring it to life? Remember we're here to help you rethink your brand strategy, copy, design, website, and other marketing tools so your business can win the hearts of the right people. Don't hesitate to hit reply to this email and tell me about your wish. Let’s talk to see if we're a good fit. [Explore our work examples

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