They Can't All Be 'Best': Infusing Your Brand With Character

Often when I’m writing for clients, there’s a natural temptation to jump to the superlative. After getting to know a company, along with its people and products, I find myself wanting to cut to the chase and say it’s simply the best. But those kinds of claims take time and work — and I was recently struck by a quote from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson:

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

The keyword for me here was “acquire” — because I believe messaging plays a vital role in how brands build up that equity with customers over time. It’s about telling your story and staking your own claim about what sets you apart in the marketplace.

I also appreciated Branson’s use of “texture” and “character” to describe the way a brand should ultimately have a life of its own. Anyone familiar with Branson’s companies through the years is aware that he’s not afraid of surprises and adventures. While his unconventional style has been controversial at times, there’s no denying that his brands have developed a completely unique texture and character in the public eye.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but when it comes to building and shaping a brand, it takes far fewer words to start painting a picture of what makes a company and its products special. Taking the time to discover those ownable qualities — and acquire texture and character, to Branson’s point — is the first chapter of the story.

 

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