In Branding, Media

I have spent most of my life in the branding business. Every day, I think about creating, maintaining, migrating, inventing, reinventing, positioning, repositioning, maximizing, enhancing and extending brands. I help to develop brand standards, brand stories, brand statements and brand icons. I deal with logos, tag lines, graphic standards, colors, sounds and shapes. Thoughts about personifications, mascots and spokespersons fill my mind.

And sometimes, I think I have it all figured out. But then I face reality—and, well, I realize that no one will ever really figure it out. That’s what makes my job so humbling…and so much fun. Go figure!

Allow me to share three brand stories that illustrate this point perfectly. These are examples from the world of branding. On the surface, they appear to be contradictory, breaking some fundamental rules of brand marketing. Yet, in the end, there is logic inherent in them all.

1. New Jersey Vacations
In a recent NJ tourism effort, Dana conducted a qualitative survey of hospitality professionals and NJ friends, asking attitudinal questions about NJ and travel. One thing we asked was, “Do you consider NJ to be a vacation destination?” 82% of the responders indicated that they did NOT view it this way. Later in the survey, we asked, “Where have you vacationed in the last three years?” We listed options that included several destinations in NJ. 64% of the 82% who said they do not consider NJ a vacation destination had, in fact, vacationed at a NJ destination within the past three years. Go figure!

2. Geico Campaign(s)
One of the written rules in advertising and branding is to present a consistent image and demonstrate continuity over a specific period of time. Allow your marketing to reinforce itself. Implement a campaign that builds memorability within the minds of your current and potential customers through variations of repetition. Yet, think about what Geico has been doing over the past decade: the gecko, the cavemen, the celebrity customer interpreter, the wine tasting, the squealing pig, stupid ways to save money, Tiny House and more. It is all over the map, breaking one of the most accepted rules in the business. Nonetheless, Geico is the fastest growing auto insurance company in the United States. Go figure!

3. 1984
1984 is a 60-second television spot that Apple produced to launch the Macintosh in 1984. It was conceived at Chiat/Day, a Los Angeles ad agency, and directed by Ridley Scott. It is regarded as a masterpiece—perhaps the finest and most memorable advertisement ever made. However, it only ran once, on January 22, 1984, during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The most famous ad ever made, which significantly defined Apple—one of the greatest brands in the world—and it only ran once. Go figure!

Interested in discussing the logic behind these paradoxes or defining ways to strengthen your brand? Call me at 609-466-9187. I’d love to chat with you.

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