My father loved to take excruciatingly long drives.
Growing up in the small state of Maryland, we’d often venture out to Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the cozy surroundings of Western Maryland.
So, what in John Travolta’s hairpiece does this have to do with branding?
Well, please read on for a not so scientific explanation.
As a kid I hated, hated these long excursions. Good lord, the man would drive for hours and those precious pee breaks were few and far between.
But one little delicacy kept me from holding this against him and scorning him for life. Ah, the wrath of a 9-year-old.
I loved cheeseburgers, but there was something else that would often make my day and dull the pain of four plus hours in a Ford Pinto station wagon.
The smell. The color. The salty goodness. You probably already know what I’m writing about. Those crispy little things cooked up by an estimated 33,000 plus restaurants with the famed golden arches.
I think the Belgians are credited with inventing French fries, and good thing, as the French might scoff at the fast food version McDonald’s perfected.
And I’ll admit a slight weakness for fast food. At least, fast food fries.
Listen, I like to cook. In fact I’ve made my own Pommes Frites, double fried just like the crafty Belgians, but sometimes a boy has a Big Mac, um, french fry attack. Less often now, but when I was a kid I would’ve bit your fingers off to get to those golden strips of goodness.
And that was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But those fried tubers have not changed much over the last 30-plus years.
And that’s where this boring story comes to a grinding halt and we talk about good old fashioned branding done right. I think Don Draper would be proud.
I was recently listening to a podcast and ad guy Bob Hoffman briefly described what a healthy brand is all about.
I’m paraphrasing of course, but according to Bob, a healthy brand comes into existence when:
1. You make a really good product.
2. You treat customers right.
3. And create good advertising around it.
That stellar brand? Well it’s simply a byproduct of doing a lot of other things right.
But by turning branding into an activity, you’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s more about consistency and just delivering on a promise.
And one little promise the wizards at the golden arches continually deliver on: Those crispy, golden fries.
I know, after watching “Food Inc.” many people want to drive a stake through the heart of Ronald McDonald, but the clown, the Big Mac and all, are part of one of the biggest brands on this third rock from the sun. Ray Kroc’s baby is often listed as one of the world’s most recognized brands.
So, trying to cram a brand down someone’s throat ain’t gonna cut it. Consistently delivering on a simple formula will. McDonald’s is beyond gigantic, and they sure advertise, but their promise is oh, so simple.
How are you doing in this department? Once you’ve defined your brand, use the purpose behind it to distill a steady, spot-on delivery.
Are you delivering? Making customers happy? And what about your online presence? Is it simply shouting “I’m the best” or are you doing all of the above and delivering great stuff based on that foundational purpose?
The world of brand-building truly comes to life on the web. The big consumer brands are taking on this challenge daily, but what about you and your little world?
How healthy is the foundation of your brand? Are you delivering? Are you being consistent.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur with a super-cool doodad, a designer looking for work, or an aspiring pro-blogger, you need that brand bedrock to persevere and flourish.
Like Mr. Hoffman said, “a healthy brand is simply a byproduct of doing a lot of other things right.”
So before delivering on any promises, make sure your brand has purpose, clarity of mission, and every touchpoint delivers on said core. Oh, and then reward yourself with some deep-fried goodness (just don’t do it every day).
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