The Most Important Thing I Ever Learned About Branding

Do you know what an “I remember when…” moment is? More than nostalgia, it is a clear, specific moment in the past when you either had a very emotional, spiritual, visual, or auditory experience that resonates for you even today. Some call it the “aha!” moment.

You know what I mean, right? That kind of stomach flipping feeling you may get when your song comes on the radio.

Eventually it becomes a quick story – perhaps funny, or maybe poignant, but often told in recollection with some fondness. Believe it or not, I have that exact “aha!” moment when it comes to what brand or branding means for successful business owners, companies and corporations.

Read on as I tell you what my “aha!” moment was – but also as I share how you can have an “aha!” moment to when it comes to your company or organization as well.

Here is the key (sounds simple enough, but for practical intents and purposes it may very well be the most challenging thing your organization can face)…

In order to have a successful brand – you have to be the brand.

That’s it, you ask? In order to have a successful brand you have to be the brand? THAT is the key that creates powerful brands?

Well, not quite, but it is the start.

Here’s how it works. Think about powerful brands you know: Coke, McDonalds, Toyota, and Merge Left Marketing (Hey, I gotta try). What is it that makes these brands successful? Is it the colossal budgets and advertising campaigns? While a budget for advertising is important, I’m about to shock you. The most important thing isn’t the budget, but instead it is the consistency of how those brands look to you.

You will never see a Coke bottle without a white swoosh on it. You’ll never see a McDonalds without the golden arches. And that is just the beginning of things: All of the brands that are successful are where they are because they understand how to consistently apply their brand.

And, no, the arches are not McDonalds’ brand. And the white swoosh is not the Coke brand…well, not all of it, anyway. But you get my drift.

Successful brands deliver a consistent visual, audio, kinesthetic (feeling) experience every single time you experience it. And that is what I mean when I say you have to be the brand.

If your company is simply trying to be something it’s not, you will be discovered – and not in the movie star way, either. Remember, I wrote about how the “aha!” moment was a very emotional, spiritual, visual or auditory experience that resonates even today? Guess what? We also just described a successful brand.

A successful brand generates an experience in all those aspects because all of the aspects of the brand are consistent in application, awareness and foundation. If one branch of your brand is delivering one thing, and another branch is sending an alternate message, you aren’t creating a brand; you are creating confusion. And we all know where confusion will get you.

So, I say it again: In order to have a successful brand – you have to be the brand.

Now, while it is a good thing to know why brands are successful, it is even more important to know how YOUR brand will be successful. Be sure to join me next time as I begin to get more into how to “be” the brand for your particular situation with the C.D.T.M.R. strategy of brand building.

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