Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a father who taught me the importance of honesty, integrity and hard work. Whether it came to sports, school or relationships, he raised me to live my life based on those values and refused to accept anything less from me.
At times, I remember feeling annoyed when he would repeat the same clichés over and over again and gave little thought to his heartfelt wisdom; but looking back now I realize his advice not only shaped me as a person, but also as an advertising and branding professional.
Every brand should strive to establish transparency, authenticity and leadership early on. Then as the business grows and evolves overtime the fundamental values of a socially conscious brand will always be at their core, in return building trust with consumers and enabling leadership to make smart decisions. When coaching clients on this very notion, I often find that my advice is eerily reminiscent of the values my father instilled in me.
So in honor of Father’s Day, my dad, and father figures everywhere, I thought I’d share a few critical branding dadisms:
Dadism: “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it?”
Brand Lesson: Brands will never get ahead by following the crowd, adapting to trends that have no relevance to their brand or mimicking the success of others. Decisions shouldn’t be made based on what everyone else is doing. Smart companies strive to pave their own path and make decisions based on what’s best for their brand and unique business goals.
Dadism: “People will like you for who you are.”
Brand Lesson: Branding is not about creating a façade for your company that you think your customers will like. Instead, brands should be built from the inside out. The most likeable brands are those that are a genuine representation of the company. It’s about having a strong, authentic point of view that captivates your target audience, not about creating a gimmick with no relevance to your business.
Dadism: “You’ll never know unless you try.”
Brand Lesson: Don’t be afraid to experiment, test and refine. Innovation is at the core of any successful business and branding is not a stagnant process. Define, create and then evolve along the way to stay relevant.
Dadism: “Keep your eye on the ball.”
Brand Lesson: Never lose site of your aspirations. First, ask yourself what you see for the future of your organization. In order to achieve your goals, you have to know what you deem as success. Once you’ve done that, all decisions about your brand, whether it be a new product, campaign, or business initiative should be made with the end goal in mind.
Dadism: “Actions speak louder than words.”
Brand Lesson: Keep your brand promise. A brand is the promise you make with your customers. It tells them what they can expect in all interactions with your products, services and company. Do what you say and say what you do to gain the trust and loyalty of your customers.