The Brand Story
“Our lives are shaped by how we move through them. Because for every callus on our hands, and scar on our bodies, an even deeper mark is made within. We become more human.”


Contrary to what you may think, this quote isn’t from a book or a movie. It’s from Reebok’s massive ad campaign to document human potential.

Let’s take another example – Justin Bieber’s 2016 Calvin Klein underwear shoot. The black and white sensual advert of the music sensation playing the drums and calmly proclaiming ‘My Calvins’.

Or how about the 2013 Rolex commercial starring tennis legend and the icon of incredible achievements, Roger Federer? It doesn’t just narrate time; it narrates history.

This is our world of brands. Billboards, autos, buses, TV serials, movies, newspapers, and social networking platforms are all ‘branded’. We are walking signboards ourselves. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat; from the gadgets we use to the vehicles we drive – everything is not just a product, but also the poster, of a brand.

What, then, is a brand?

In the words of Matt Shadel, of We Are, a brand is that which is simple, unique, and easy to identify. It is the summation of all that a company is and all that a consumer feels about it. A brand is a portkey (Potterhead, y’all!) into the company’s essence, ethic, and external yield (aka the product).

When selecting players for a team game, a reputed player does not yap with fanatic gusto to call the selectors’ attention to himself. The “pick me, choose me, me-me” reaction does not exist for him. Instead, a “This is me and this is what I offer” approach is what makes him sell and succeed.

That’s why branding is important. Not just to sell, but also to succeed as a competitor amongst the many sellers in the market.

This can be illustrated by an analogy of a love story.

First, there is the promise of attraction. A pull towards each other. For the consumer, that’s the logo, name and the design of the brand. The green siren of Starbucks, the giant, yellow M of McDonald’s, the leaping feline shape of Puma, the unobtrusive black check mark of Nike. The appeal generated by marketing and the general design of the logo attracts the consumer.

Then there is the attraction itself. Backed by the push of marketing, the product is no longer an idea to fall for, but becomes the real deal.

Apple’s status as the forerunner of the smartphone, the Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to luxury as seen in their motto (We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen), the rich history and culture of Harley Davidson bikes – all of these convert a consumer into a faithful customer.

And then there is the marriage: the marriage of the customer to the product. The customer recommends it to others and the association is as good as it gets. He becomes an evangelist of love. The attachment of the user, word of mouth publicity and voila! The public becomes the strongest marketeer of the product.

However, without giving time and constant attention at each level of this relationship, the likelihood of divorce is high. Companies must ensure that there is no stagnation or depreciation in product quality at any level.

In short, “The only way to advertise is by not focusing on the product,” said Calvin Klein of Calvin Klein.

Need I say more?

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