Brand defined

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“A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time…the product of a thousand small gestures.”

~ Michael Eisner (while CEO at Disney)

There is it, in all its simplicity.  Your brand is alive.  And with every small gesture, every detail, every extra mile traveled and each ignored opportunity — you either enrich or undermine all of the previous efforts.

With every decision, big or small, you should be asking yourself — are we enriching or undermining our brand.  And then behave accordingly.

What small gestures have you noticed in others or in your own organization that enhance the brand?


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15 comments on “Brand defined

  1. Jason says:

    So true – it takes a long time to build one and a short time to destroy it – look at Ratners and NewsInt

    1. Jason,

      And now Netflix!


  2. Ripe, Inc. says:

    Completely agree, and beautifully stated too. Every business engages in either positive or negative branding. If they excel at what they do and communicate a clear and consistent message that is memorable and meaningful to the audience, it’s positive. Negative branding leaves the audience confused, unsure of who you are and unconvinced that they should choose you over the competition. There is no neutral ground here because not being aware of your brand premise leads to negative branding. The audience/public/end-user ultimately decides what your brand is but you can help shape their perceptions with smart, savvy, authentic branding.

    1. Len,

      God point — great branding removes all confusion. It’s crystal clear — here is who/what we are and here is what we are not. It allows you to attract the right kinds of customers and repel the wrong ones.


  3. Hi Drew,

    Well said.

    Each act either strengthens or weakens our brand. Each interaction, each conversation, each comment, all of it adds up to how we’re perceived.

    Everything you do carries your brand’s signature, whether you pen one or not. Each act. It pays to be mindful and proceed with brand building in mind throughout the entire day.

    Those who remain vigilant can build an absolute empire using this strategy, for as you continue to impress each and every person you meet, your presence expands exponentially.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Drew.


    1. Ryan,

      It does pay to be mindful. We call it being purposeful. So often businesses and their employees behave on auto pilot — not really being intentional about their choices. But a smart company thinks through all the little nuances and plans for as many of the variables as they can. They train to that planning and now we’re doing the right things on purpose.


  4. Pamela Burke says:

    We are an LED Lighting company and our message is simple, “Smarter Lighting”. I’ve noticed from viewing many of our competitors and they either don’t get the point across that they are a lighting company or focus more on the manufacturing part. At LumaSmart, we focus on energy efficiency and cost effective savings. It’s amazing the type of stories these businesses are telling and not getting it across clearly!

    1. Pam,

      Bravo for being clear. Clarity in loud, crowded marketplace is incredibly valuable. Other than your tagline — how does your company deliver on the smarter lighting promise. Beyond the product itself, how does your organization demonstrate/act out smarter?


  5. Right on! A brand reflects the image and identity of a company.

    What a business must do is to cultivate its name through good service and effective marketing so that its name remains untarnished over time.

    1. Amelia —

      AND….have a plan in place for when they fall short of the mark. No business will get it right 100% of the time. So how do you respond when you’ve made a mistake or disappointed a customer?

      That’s a very important element in delivering on the brand.


  6. Sharon P. says:

    I am really impressed with the blog and content. I am new to the world of marketing and the yoga studio where I work is just now starting a marketing plan. We have a logo, it’s a little busy, but no real brand. As we are building our brand name around town, it is important to note the seemingly heavier impact of negative experiences. It seems you can spend a lifetime building a strong brand name only to have it destroyed overnight.

    1. Sharon,

      Why thank you…you know how to make a guy’s day! As you begin to talk about how to build a brand — remember that it comes from within the organization. What promise do you believe in so strongly that you wouldn’t break it? What makes you different from all the other yoga studios? If people were going to describe the studio in one sentence…what would you want it to be?

      Begin asking yourselves those sorts of questions to get on the right track.

      And I disagree on your concern about building a strong brand for years only to have it destroyed over night. If you genuinely build and live a brand — the only way it can be destroyed overnight is if you don’t handle a crisis or bad situation well. If you continue to behave the way your brand dictates you behave — you’ll be fine in the long run.

      Every business hits bumps in the road. It’s how you handle the bumps that actually prove to us that your brand was genuine and heartfelt or fake.


  7. Marty,

    At the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. That’s the one in Orlando, FL.


  8. John U says:

    You are so true Drew.
    John U

  9. Emmanuel says:

    This page is awesome, I am advertiser and need to know all about authenticity of the finest in branding. Please post me every reply’s and comments from all, most specially, from you Drew McLellan, I love your site. Can I also receive your newsletters if you have such option? Thanks.

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