Have you ever met a raving fan? Maybe you are one yourself.
You know—a person who is so gung ho about a sports team that they can’t stop talking about them. They go to every home game, and they buy all of the team’s paraphernalia. The same could be said about raving fans of a band and even a business brand.
When business branding is done right, it creates raving fans, and then people line up to buy. Just look at Apple, for example. Talk about raving fans!
But branding isn’t easy. It’s not just a logo and it’s not just a name. It’s the essence of a company—the character traits that make the company unique—and it’s what the company stands for. If your company has a personality of its own, that’s when it has successful branding.
But that’s a tall order. How do you turn your bland brand into a powerful personality?
For most people, that thought is pretty overwhelming. If your brand is not relatable, it will be ignored and considered irrelevant. If it doesn’t show a vulnerable quirk, your strength isn’t recognized.
If it doesn’t make an impact, it doesn’t draw people to it, and it doesn’t compel anyone to buy its products or services.
If you want to create a brand that compels people to become raving fans, you must turn your business into a character they can relate to and resonate with.
The Character Diamond provides an easy way to bring your brand to life, and in this article, we’ll explain how it works.
Why Are Character Diamonds Valuable?
Ryan Deiss, cofounder and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com, discussed the importance of using Character Diamonds in branding during his presentation at HYPERGROWTH 2018.
He explained that a company that has no soul hires a celebrity to become the soul of their business because they have no personality of their own, so they need to borrow it. And he went on to explain that the story of your brand is the best type of marketing, but it’s the characters that we really love and even crave.
That’s why a successful brand is a fictional character. The “character” of a business brings life to it and gives it a personality that people want to be around.
What Is a Character Diamond?
Character Diamonds offer a framework that helps businesses define their brand by mapping out the parts that make up the character of the company. They are primarily used by screenwriters when they are creating characters that they want people to fall in love with, but marketers have found it to be an excellent tool for branding as well.
By creating a Character Diamond, you’ll find that the character of your brand naturally emerges throughout the process, and you’re left with a brand that people can connect with.
There are 3 main things the Character Diamond will do for your company:
- If you’re having any uncertainties about what makes your company unique, you’re likely to discover it through this process.
- It gives everyone involved with the company an easy way to understand the soul of your business so that everyone can be on the same page.
- It helps you turn your brand into a personality that lives beyond you, is scalable, creates an emotional connection, and attracts people to it.
How Do You Build a Character Diamond?
Not surprisingly, Character Diamonds are plotted out in a diamond shape. And you’ll label the corners of the diamond as such:
- Top (North) – The North Star
- Bottom (South) – The Counter Star
- Right (East) – Nonnegotiable
- Left (West) – Flaws & Masks
Once you’ve filled out the diamond for your company, you can then figure out what characters from movies or books your company matches up to, and that helps you solidify your branding even further.
The North Star
The North Star is the primary character trait of your business. It’s the one that stands out and defines your business’ character. Ryan Deiss refers to it as “your brand’s mutant power.” It’s what makes you unique.
To figure out what your superpower is, ask yourself what makes other people admire your business. Look back to all the ways you have had success, as your successes point to your greatness. Remember, the North Star should be something that is innate to you or your business, not just something you have accomplished.
The Counter Star
The Counter Star is your company’s secondary character trait, and it balances out the North Star because it is typically the opposite of it. As Jen Hudye says, “Your North Star is really your Kryptonite in disguise.”
For example, Sherlock Holmes’ North Star is that he’s a genius, and his Counter Star is that he’s kind of a jerk. Apple SEO, Tim Cook, says, “Our North Star is making the best products in the world.” Their Counter Star is having the patience to make it right out of the gate, which often makes them look like they aren’t coming out with anything new.
This conflict between the 2 traits is what makes the character intriguing. Movie characters need that conflict, and so does your company’s brand. As Tim Miles says, the Counter Star is “a little off but still gives the character its special sauce.”
When you’re mapping this out, remember that it’s the thing that can take you down. Think about what has consistently gotten in your way. What’s that thing that keeps you from success most often?
The Nonnegotiable is also known as the hill you’re prepared to die on. It’s the things that your business stands for; it’s what your business is willing to die for. For example, if we look back to Apple, their nonnegotiable is “giving people the ability to do things that they couldn’t do before.” For Sherlock Holmes, it’s that the puzzle has to be solved.
This is the part of the Character Diamond that makes people trust your brand. When they know what you stand for, others line up to follow you. Your nonnegotiable gives you the strength to overcome your obstacles. It’s the thing you value most and can never compromise.
Flaws & Masks
Flaws and masks are your company’s weakness or its not-so-secret sin. It’s either a flaw or the mask you wear to hide your flaws. These things shouldn’t be hidden because they are what make us relatable. Our flaws are what make us fall in love with and root for a character.
For Sherlock Holmes, his flaw is that he’s a drug addict. For Luke Skywalker, it’s his dark side. For your company, it might be something such as arrogance, perfectionism, ruthlessness, absent-mindedness, audaciousness, obsessiveness, rebelliousness, or the tendency toward the theatrical.
This is probably the most important part of the Character Diamond. According to Ryan Deiss, there are only 2 ways you can fail at Character Diamonds. One is to not do it, and two is to be weak on the weakness part. As he says, “your customers won’t trust you until they know who you are, warts and all.”
When you act like you are perfect and are afraid to show your weaknesses, you are essentially acting like you are above your customers, but what they want is to know you are human and to be able to relate to you.
To discover your flaws and masks, ask yourself, what is the biggest misconception people have about your company? What do they say about your company when you’re not around?
Using Your Character Diamond Moving Forward
Once you’ve drafted your Character Diamond, it’s important that your “character” remains consistent. A successful brand is one that always delivers on itself. You expect certain things from it and it never falters. Fortunately, Character Diamonds provide you with a map to make that happen, and it’s one that your entire company can be on the same page with.
Raving fans aren’t just for Hollywood. Your business can have raving fans as well, and it all starts with powerful business branding.