A brand is a reward that the public bestows upon those individuals, companies, products and services that consistently fulfill their promises of satisfying wants and needs and, thus, establish an earned reputation for “delivering the goods.”
Everyone wants to establish or build their brand for their thing and make the sale. But guess what, only the customer can grant that -- and the customer can take all of it away -- fast. Otherwise, everyone who can act, sing, dance, tell jokes, play music, etc. would become rich and famous.
It’s also why so many of the lucky few that do achieve stardom don’t seem to last too long. Because, in many cases, the public literally gets tired of their “act”-- both on stage and off. And, more often than not, there is not a newer one or a better one sitting in the wings or under development to replace it.
A brand is also a living, fragile, breathing thing. Like smoke, both tangible and ephemeral. It needs care and feeding. Its caretakers must remain vigilant about its reason to exist, its place in society and behavior in the marketplace. You see, even though a brand takes time to build, it can be extinguished in an instant if improperly managed.
If taken for granted, the customer always retains the option to seek out others and stop paying you for what you are selling. That’s why, when the smoke clears, long-standing, once successful brands like Oldsmobile, Arthur Andersen and Circuit City, among many others, have gone bye-bye -- while other familiar faces like Coke and Disney thrive and grow.
It Starts With A Blueprint
If you want to build a house, you start by choosing an architect.
Then, in order to build the house that is right for you, he or she will ask you a series of questions about style (period, colors, etc.); budget (building to a standard or from a price point; location; lifestyle; family situation (children, extended family, pets, etc.); number of bedrooms and bathrooms; entertainment areas and uses; special needs; and many others.
Next, your architect will show you something that must come before anything else: The Blueprint. Essentially, it will show you the overall layout, and how much it will cost -- if you choose to build it.
Only then can the house be built.
When it comes to building a brand, you must start the process in the exact same way. With a blueprint. Something that guides and drives everything else (marketing, advertising, public relations, promotion, etc.).
In our world, this is called your Brand Story.
It’s All About The Story
Ever try to recommend a book or movie or show or thing to someone?
What’s the first question they ask you?
What’s it about?
And so, to the best of your ability, you tell them.
Perhaps, even try to persuade them to see it your way.
Then, act upon it.
Go read it. Or see it. Or buy it.
This is called a Story.
And since the dawn of man, it’s been all about the Story.
Oh sure, technology helps. From cave dweller drawings to the Internet.
But after the novelty of the “shiny object” dulls, what remains to be told and retold again and again is the Story.
Simply put, what matters most is not the latest gizmo. It’s the Story. To do that, you must either do it yourself or find the people with the “knowledge” on how to construct, craft, tell and sell yours. Why? Because those that end up telling their Stories extremely well are the ones that reap the benefits.
Only the good Stories survive. Only the good Stories grab you; move you; persuade you; inspire you; sadden you; make you laugh; make you cry; keep you on the edge of your seat; make you turn page after page; and, because you may have missed a few things during the earlier tellings, make you want to hear them over and over.
Some become classic tales for all time known by everyone from generation to generation, in every language and around the world.
Others, especially the weak or bad ones, don’t. It’s that simple.
Make no mistake, it’s all about the Story. It’s the only thing that really matters. It’s the foundation from which to build and the glue that holds the thing together.
With a good one, you can make history.
Without one, you will quickly be a thing of the past.
Mark Rothenberg has over twenty-five years of marketing, advertising and branding experience. And is an expert at creating original Names for businesses, products and services.
He has also produced countless breakthrough branding campaigns…
- Run two full-service, offline/online advertising agencies
- Conjured up boatloads of memorable Names and Brand Identities (names, logos and slogans)
- Written, cast, directed zillions of ads and commercials
- Penned thousands of slogans
- Composed the music and lyrics for umpteen jingles
- Created and illustrated innumerable mascots and characters
- And received many of the industry's most prestigious awards for creative excellence.
Mark's recent book on branding.. The Brand Story In All Its Glory… is also posted for sale on Amazon.