Rule of Work: Brand Everything
You’d think this would be a well-worn platitude – a friend, like an old ball glove. But no, I still see businesses that aren’t branding everything they touch. Corporations do it – badly, I might add (except for Apple and Google which, frankly, just get it). But it’s almost as if, because corps do it, small business people find it tacky.
It’s not tacky – in fact, it can be deeply creative – unless you don’t get it either. Tell me a Mercedes key chain isn’t cool (if it’s not a knock off from Walmart). The Harley people really understand the value of branding. How many Ford Rangers do you see with a little Harley emblem in the back window. All pretense aside – it really means: 1. I wish I could afford a Harley and 2. I wish I was as rugged as all that – to ride one in any kind of weather, and car my stuff around in saddle bags.
Branding is basic and you either do it tacky or you do it creatively. Part of being an internet marketing consultant is doing a bit of web site work. In the course of that, I actually create a certain amount of back end material and collateral. It’s all branded. I brand things no one would think to brand. If you can affect it at all, it can carry your name.
Someone once pointed out that I’m my own brand – I’m flying my own flag. It’s true. I have more than one, now, but the name is certainly part of it. That statement is part of what led me down the path of flying a flag at all. I was trying, but I wasn’t seeing what I was trying.
Brand it. It’s more important than just the logo – that’s not a brand, that’s a branding tool. Branding is a scheme – a schema – an entire marketing approach. Apple doesn’t brand things the way Microsoft does. Microsoft slaps a fake name on something (Mohave) and tries to capitalize on the very thing that pisses people off – too much top down control. Apple opens stores with nothing but a piece of fruit for a sign – no words – and people understand.
The branding scheme is what matters – the logo either follows it, or is just strangely incongruent. Incidentally, if you want a good logo, ping me – I’ve got a new source and they’re great – they’re giving people who wave my flag a referral discount.
Meanwhile, for my regular readers, I know I violated the one rule of blogging – consistency. I dropped off for a couple of week. There’s no excuse, and I have none. If I’m on the Titanic and we’ve just started filling the boats, I need to post, because it might be a week before I see land. I could tell you I’ve been building something new and spectacular (it’s true), but it doesn’t matter much if you’re not reading. So, for those of you who are, I beg your forgiveness. You’ll be hearing more from me. That’s not a claim that I’m ever worth reading, but I will at least respect your interest better from now on.
Brand it. Don’t spend all your time thinking up the ultimate slogan, sign, or color scheme. Start with your own name, if you’ve got nothing else. Besides, it’ll teach you to be audacious – and that, I’d argue, is one of the essential business skills that got blotted out of the book of cubicles.