(Part 1 of a 2 part article)

When my daughter was younger she had difficulty understanding what I do at work. I didn’t think answers like, “I help people to sell their products to people who might want them” did my business justice.

I also didn’t think aligning myself with the dysfunctional cast of Mad Men was accurate. Confident, driven and ambitious maybe, but long gone are the days of three martinis before lunch.

Her innocent inquiring got me thinking and somewhat foolishly my first response was;

“Establishing brands and helping them grow”.

Well that wasn’t very helpful, because like lightning she fired back “Dad, what is a brand”?

I needed time to think, I wasn’t going to be beaten by a kid.

A quick Google found David (author of On Advertising) Ogilvy’s explanation: A brand is “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.”

This only served to confuse the situation. I needed to make this simple.

I remember our conversation went something like this….

DAD: OK, this will help. Grab some paper and a pen: You see, a brand is like a person…

DAUGHTER: What do you mean, everybody is a…?

I stopped her there.

DAD: Let me finish. Write down how many people you saw or talked to today. Then write down how many you remember well. Now, think of the number you want to see again, the ones that you think of as friends.

DAUGHTER: I don’t know if I can give you the exact number. But the ones that were friends isn’t very many.

DAD: That’s my point, brands are like people—you see lots every day, but you really only remember the ones you like the most.

Now I want you to write down these statements and tell me if they’re true or not.

DAUGHTER: OK.

DAD: My friends are a lot like me.

DAUGHTER: Yes, that’s true.

DAD: Nobody knows me better than my friends.

DAUGHTER: True.

DAD: I trust my friends.

DAUGHTER: True again.

DAD: I know a lot of things about my friends.

No answer here, just a shy giggle.

DAD: OK. Now I want you to cross out the words “my friends” and write above them “the brands I like”. When you’re finished read it back to me.

DAUGHTER: The brands I like are a lot like me. Nobody knows me better than the brands I like. I trust the brands I like. I know a lot of things about the brands I like.

DAD: Congratulations, now you sound like me when I’m at work. You have just outlined the four pillars I teach every business who wants my help to build their brand: Find a difference that appeals to your customers, make sure your know your customers well, earn their trust, and show your customers who you are and what you stand for.

DAUGHTER: OK, I get it – you show brands how to make friends.

…. for those who want to see if dad manages to succeed – keep an eye out for part 2 next week.
About the author

Peter Engelhardt - Director Creative Brew

Peter Engelhardt

Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and passionate about branding. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.