Dr. Seuss said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
This is one of my favorite quotes, and it’s how I relate to branding. Branding is a big, amorphous topic. It encapsulates design, language, strategy, and relationships. Branding has a lot of moving parts, but it’s energy is internal.
We build brands to stand out.
Let’s look at this idea from a personal branding context. Everyone has a personal brand. Even without trying you have a personal brand. It’s your reputation.
You may have a reputation as a hard worker, a creative person, a connector, or a person to call in a crisis. However people identify with you is your personal brand.
There’s a difference though between having a personal brand and personal branding. A personal brand is something you have by default, where as personal branding is something you work on and nurture.
People are interested in personal branding because they want to stand out. The status quo does not fulfill them. They possess a deep energy and desire to be something more, and they work on their brand, build it, and scale it. Personal branding is the steps we take to stand out.
The same is true for branding a corporation. Every company has a brand, but the companies that grow remarkable brands are deeply interested in branding.
Why Some Brands Are Better
I profiled over 150 companies from the United States to New Zealand to write Sticky Branding (the book).
I wanted to uncover how small- and mid-sized companies — companies that have a marketing budget, but not a vast one — grow remarkable brands. I didn’t care how Apple, Nike, or Starbucks grew their brands. I wanted to understand what mid-market companies were doing to stand out.
During the research process it became very clear: it’s no accident that some brands are better than others.
The companies that grow the best brands are the best marketers:
- They invest more in their brands.
- They make bigger bets.
- They defend their brands.
- They delight in serving their customers.
- They love their brands.
The companies with the most remarkable brands are compelled. There’s something baked into the organization’s DNA to make the brand stand out.
Usually this energy and drive starts with the founder. The founder took Dr. Seuss’s quote to heart, and breathed it into the organization. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
Branding is a process, but the drive to grow a brand is internal. It’s your drive to challenge the giants of your industry, delight customers, and stand out. This internal energy is what propels some people and companies to have brands that are better than their peers.