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WWBD [What Would Brand Do]: Living your brand

If you work for a company or are a company that has put some blood, sweat, tears and money into building a brand reputation for the organization, the next step is to be sure that everyone “lives the brand.” At first when the brand is all shiny and new, most people will get behind it and be pretty darned vigilant about making sure they use the right logo, use the tagline correctly and follow the usage guidelines established.

Human nature being what it is, after a while, we begin to get a little sloppy, maybe a little bored and don’t always consider the effect our actions have on maintaining the brand image. We may need a little reminder about doing the right thing.

Back in the 1890s, (yup, that’s not a typo), “What would Jesus do?” became a popular motto for Christians in America. It served as a reminder in daily life for believers to measure their actions against the example set by their prophet. In the 1990s apparently folks needed a reminder. The phrase, abbreviated as WWJD, resurfaced, emblazoned on a rubber bracelet. (Perhaps the intention was similar to a rubber band worn on the wrist and used as aversion therapy to cigarette smoking.) By giving it a vigorous snap, you jar yourself out of whatever nasty impulse you might be entertaining and refocus on your personal commitment to being a better (or healthier) person.

Rubber bracelet proselytizing has spread to many causes, including such worthy ones as Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong campaign. So maybe, it’s time to put the rubber to the road…er…the wrist in support of good branding.

The branding bracelet, lettered with WWBD, would remind its wearer to measure decisions that may impact the organization’s image or public perception against the branding foundations and guidelines established for the company. Any time the wearer is tempted to reconfigure the logo because it won’t fit in the tiny cell on a spreadsheet, whenever he or she considers accepting sponsorship dollars from an advertiser who doesn’t fit with your brand philosophy, or, heaven-forfend, someone gets a little crazy partying at the convention while wearing a company-logoed shirt, that person gives the bracelet a resounding snap.

For example, “Wow, that was close! I almost accepted sponsorship from a cigarette company to put their logo on shirts and banners for the U.S. Lung Association Kids’ Run…SNAP.” Or, “I think we should advertise our radar detector in Safe Driver Monthly magazine…SNAP, SNAP, SNAP.” Or, “Let’s get our company logo tattooed on our foreheads for the next convention…SNAP, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP…” just wrong in so many ways.

The bands will come in a number of strengths and widths, such as, Oops, Somewhat-Confused, Easily-Tempted, The-Devil-Is-My-Co-Pilot, and If-Ignorance-Were-Painful-I’d-Be-On-A-Morphine-Drip. Cargo container pricing is available for some of the more beleaguered marketing directors. Get yours today.

Sometimes people forget and need a gentle reminder to honor and be consistent with the brand. Sometimes common sense just isn’t that common. So, try to save your team some pain, agony and wrist burn by making sure the brand and marketing guidelines are clear, simple, known and understood. Reiterate often…there will be a test. Encourage your staff to weigh their concepts and impulses against your marketing goals, brand image and company values, then ask, “WWBD?” Good luck. And keep those bracelet orders coming.

 

 


Next Issue:

Anti-social media: Finding the balance between timely marketing and TMI

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