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Inspire and Delight: Brand experiences that build a bond

Back in my Boston days, I was car-free. If I couldn’t reach it on foot, I rode the T. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the T is Boston’s subway system. For me, riding the subway has always been like stepping into a movie. To paraphrase the words of The Naked City, an early ’60s TV drama, “There are a thousand stories in the naked city…” and most of them are riding the subway with you. With nothing better to do than let the imagination run wild during the commute, I would conjure up all kinds of stories about my fellow riders.

Now, I live in a public transportation deficient city. I have to get my people watching kicks through the windows of my car. Since a good amount of drive time involves sitting at signal lights or in traffic jams, I make good use of that time assessing how people feel about various brands as expressed on their T-shirts, bumpers and through graffiti. Sometimes, I am inspired and delighted by their creative use of media.

As an example, one SUV was promoting a dog sitting business on its rear window. It used a sticker for the dog body and wiper as the wagging tail. It was a very clever way to grab the attention of dog lovers and differentiate their brand.

And then I saw the pick-up: Its oversized tires, “Mud Life” emblazoned in black gothic lettering on the window, possibly a gun rack in the cab…and a little something extra dangling below the bumper (look closely at the photo above). It helped me know right off the bat, that I am not Mud Life’s target customer. So, I guess their branding did its job—separating out those whom they do not want to reach and undoubtedly delighting their target audience.

Getting your brand positioned accurately requires you have a clear understanding of your value, your personality, whom you need to reach and what communicates to them. Let your brand be authentic. Own It. Be it. That’s right, grow a pair.

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