Whenever I venture to the beach for my routine walk, I leave between 8000 and 10,000 footprints in the sand. Except when the water erases them, I have essentially left my brand behind, or more correctly, the brand of the sneakers that I wear.
I have had an intense love affair with sneakers, owning at least one pair of every major brand. I was mainly attracted to the colors and the design, so I did not favor any brand over another. The intensity of the love affair subsided, but there is still some residual affection.
This morning while I was pounding the sand along the Gracebay beach, there was a woman ahead of me by about 10 steps heading in the same direction. The sight ahead of me was nothing that I have never witnessed. The beach is beautiful, the air is fresh and it is paradise to those who live, work and play here.
The sand ahead of us was like a brand new canvas waiting for an artist’s brush. We were both on a path, not too dry and not too wet, to make our walk efficient. This narrow path also offered the perfect conditions to leave our signatures.
As I prodded along the pristine surface, listening to Jack Welch’s book Winning, my eyes caught attention to the footprints that I was following. I immediately recognized it. I moved my gaze from the footprints to the sneakers being worn by the woman ahead of me to confirm my suspicions.
She was wearing an Adidas running shoe, one with a footprint similar to the one I wore about 10 years ago when my sneaker collection was at its peak. BINGO! I broke a smile. It was a small victory on many levels. My memory served me well on this occasion. And more to the topic here, it reinforced an argument that I frequently make with my clients about branding – consistency and cohesiveness.
I may have had a love affair with running shoes, but my relationship with branding is bordering on obsession.
Before I attempt any kind of design for a new client, I often look at the previously designed artwork to borrow any elements to make my design consistent. Whether its the colour, shape, typeface, a message or a combination thereof, I want to ensure a semblance of continuity. Be it overt or subliminal, there is something magical about being able to provoke brand recognition or some other emotion.
Before any organization begins trading, its brand must be developed to serve as a backbone for its public image, which must then be maintained at all cost.
According to Michael Eisner, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, a brand is a living entity—and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures. How true is this statement? Is your brand alive?
Adidas has hundreds of different sneaker designs, and certainly the soles differ, but there are some elements that are consistent. Do you pay attention to these little details for your brand? Hopefully I have created some awareness of these little gestures that will enrich your brand.
Every footprint has a story. What’s yours?
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