“A Brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.”
BRANDING IS MAKING A NAME: BUILD A BRAND, MAKE A NAME
You might think that a brand hinges on a logo. Get a great logo and you will have the great brand. Get a bad logo and the brand will be viewed just as bad. The branding process would then consist of thinking of the best name and a matching logo or brand image with all of the right colors and then slap it on a bunch of coasters, t shirts, your website, and maybe a few pens, business cards, and a bumper sticker or two. Though it is true that you want a great name and a matching great image with colors and shapes that remind and point to the value of your company, they don’t come from the image itself. The image has to be created. That creation, the creation of a great name, comes through your revelation to customers over time and through experience. The experience will be associated with the brand image and name, but what makes or breaks whether you are a great brand or not is not the colors, or name, or logo, it’s you. You are the brand.
WEB DESIGN WITH BRAND IN MIND
I’m reminded of a story of a nation of people, maybe a tribe, but likely a whole nation of men, women, and children that were so strong, so united in their mindset and goals, and so close knit that they decided to pull together and build a massive tower. On the top of that tower would sit their brand, their city, and it would bear their name. The tower would represent the people who built it and nothing would stop them from accomplishing anything they set their mind to because they were so strong, so likeminded, so determined to work together to be glorious that no one could stop them.
They built that tower. They put it in place. It was huge, but it wasn’t really that huge. See, that tower had limits. It was as limited as they were. It is true that it was likely magnificent by our standards. I bet it was tall and beautiful and full of people who were very proud of it. It’s likely that they would gather around it and proclaim how great it was and do all they could to draw attention to it. There’s one problem. The tower was likely more powerful than they were. Though they sought to make their name known, all they did was worship a little man made tower that could hardly compare the awe we find in the Grand Canyon or the depths and reach of the oceans. In the end, when the tower was smashed by their opponent, the very one they were striving to prove they were equal or greater than, they found that the tower was all they had. With it gone, they dispersed. Their power was gone. Their unity was gone. Their name was…gone.
AN UNLIKELY HERO
In this story it is also said that the mighty fallen nation’s enemy had decided to make a name for himself. He decided to do it in an odd way. After attacking the city and crushing the tower, he would grab an unlikely brand image out of the chaos that would come. He decided beforehand to choose one man in the people there, a very specific man, and make a promise with him. He promised that he would bless this man and make a massive nation out of him if he only trusted him. And the man did. He even gave him a new name to remind him of the promise and all of that man’s days, He walked and talked with him. He blessed him and treated him well even when the man proved over and over how faulty and weak he was. But the man trusted the king who made the promise and he obeyed him when the time to perform came.
See, while the man thought he was the one making the king’s name great, the king proved he had already made his name great by keeping his word and walking with the man in all of his times of trouble and joy. The man trusted the king because the king was always exactly how he said he would be. The man knew the king’s name was reliable. That man would have a child, and his children would have children, and nations would hear repeatedly of the greatness and faithfulness and reliability of the king. It was on each of their lips as they spoke of how great he was. The king’s name outlasted and outgrew the man, his children, his children’s children, and generations and property boundaries that would come. The king lived in such a way that he rightly promised that his name could not be contained in this world. In the end, it could not be. For a great name cannot be contained in a single person, or family, or house, or city, or even a generation of time. A great name lasts because it is built on the solid foundation of who it is that carries it.
BUILD A BRAND BY BUILDING A FAMILY
Would your brand survive a competitor’s blow? Is your brand great because you built it around a logo or an idea? Or is your brand built on you and your name? If you get knocked down, will you get up? How does your brand help others? How do you walk with them in their world? How will they speak of their experience with you? How will they speak of their experience of interactions with those who carry your name with them?
The Difference in Two Kings is the Difference Between a Name That Lasts and a Name That Doesn’t
The first city, and its king, built their name on something that could not stand. They made a monument and lived in it. It was for them, not for others. It brought no value and no good to the world around them. It was built in competition and out of spite to distinguish themselves from those around them and especially the king they despised. But the second king built his brand, his name, by loving someone who needed help. He stuck with him. He gave his word and he kept it. When the time was right, the man knew he could trust the king and he was willing to go to great lengths because of it. If you genuinely seek to serve others and give them what you have, yourself and all that comes with it, and you follow through, in time I am sure you will build a great name, a great brand, and whatever logo you choose will work just fine. They might even see your name in things that aren’t your logo simply because they are looking for you and expecting you to be where it makes sense.
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