April 22, 2016


If you want to build or re-build your brand, the fastest and cheapest place to start is with word association. So let’s play our own little word association game. Ready?


(Did you say safety?)


(Did you say search/find?)


(I’m not sure I want to know what you said.)

It shouldn’t surprise you that, when asked this same question, people said things like “even as a very young kid, the name Trump meant rich” and “it meant success.” To see the responses for yourself, watch this clip from John Oliver’s Trump monologue on “Last Week Tonight” (note that some language is NSFW).

Hate him or love him, Trump’s brand is real. Forty years of telling people he’s successful, showing people he’s successful and living his success has sunk in. People believe Trump equals success without too much thought. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers associated something that easily and that consistently with your brand?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to build a brand like Volvo, Google or even Trump. It requires constant effort, re-evaluation and focus. After the word association game is over, companies work with us to develop their brands through our brandincite workshop. We discuss what makes their brand different, how customers benefit from their brand, and what one promise they can make to customers about their brand.

The results drive naming, messaging and creative development to ensure the customer hears, sees and experiences that brand promise at every touchpoint. But two years later or 10 years later, who is there to ensure the brand promise still rings true? In the case of Donald Trump, he was there. For 40 years (read: nearly two generations), he has beat that drum of “Trump means success” every day. And people believe it.

What’s the one thing you want your customers to believe about your brand? Who is beating that drum inside (or outside) your company? I don’t know how the election will turn out or if it will change the nation as everyone says. But I do believe knowing your brand promise and delivering it consistently in every touchpoint is a lesson that can change your company if you let it. Then it will be your brand people will be talking about 40 years from now.