ODE TO BRAND YOU
If you were a brand,
Would you be fresh and sweet as Krispy Kreme,
Or aged and mellow like a sip of Jim Beam?
You might be calm like NyQuil or rowdy like Harley-Davidson,
Or hot as Tabasco or warming like Lipton.
Whatever your message, one thing is true,
No brand is more you and today new than you.
“Brandweek” the “Newsweek” for branding and product creation, once ranked one of my marketing promotions in “The Top Ten Branding Campaigns in America for the Year.” Echoing the television catchphrase, “No brag, just fact.” A key target audience for that advertising effort was age 50-plus.
When I made the decision to shift my career path from becoming a traditional gerontologist to brand myself “The JOYrontologist” and focus on adding joy to the 50-plus demographic, I joined the branding and product development team at a major corporation. After 14 years of market research and ideation, I left to partner an ad agency and then create a luxury brand—all positively addressing the senior consumer.
BRANDING MADE SIMPLE: A product is what you sell. A brand is the perceived image of that product. Branding is simply the strategies you use to create that image.
Here is a great illustration from “The Branding Journal,” (updated March 2022): “Water is a free resource that every human being needs to live and survive. Yet it became a product the day humans and companies started to commercialize it, for example, by selling mineral water in glass and plastic bottles…each one of these brands provides a different meaning to the product water:
– Evian makes you feel young
– Perrier is refreshing, bubbling and sexy
– Fiji Water is pure, healthy and natural…and so on.”
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU is about understanding the unique person (the product) you have created over the years, celebrating what makes you distinctive and sharing that with those around you. Branding isn’t smoke-and-mirrors bogus; it’s authentic and original, like you.
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU encourages you to think of yourself as “The World’s First,” “The One-and-Only,” “The Best Ever”—all the superlatives we in advertising use to highlight what makes something super-duper special and preferred.
Every state in America has branding examples to tout. As you think of yourself and the BRAND NEW, NOW YOU, you may find inspiration in these:
ALABAMA—Bama football “the most national championships”
ALASKA—Alaskan pleasure cruises for tourists
ARIZONA—PetSmart “where pets find families”
ARKANSAS—WalMart “always the best price”
CALIFORNIA—Google/Apple/Facebook “high tech, Silicon Valley innovation”
COLORADO—Coors “born in The Rockies”
CONNECTICUT—Hartford Insurance “trustworthy”
DELAWARE—DuPont “Better Living Through Chemistry”
FLORIDA—Disney “imagination and family fun”
GEORGIA—Coca Cola “The Pause that Refreshes”
HAWAII—Dole pineapple “a taste of the islands”
IDAHO—Panera Bread “Fresh. Delicious. Simple.”
ILLINOIS—John Deere “Nothing runs like a Deere”
INDIANA—Gurney’s Seed “from America’s heartland”
IOWA—“American political polling”
KANSAS—AMC Theatres “movie palace magic”
KENTUCKY—bourbons “aged, mellow, American”
LOUISIANA—Tabasco pepper sauce “Turn Up the Heat”
MAINE—L.L. Bean “traditional, American clothing”
MARYLAND—Black and Decker power tools
MASSACHUSETTS—General Electric “We bring good things to life”
MICHIGAN—Ford/General Motors “American vehicles”
MINNESOTA—Pillsbury “Lovin’ from the oven”
MISSISSIPPI—Peavy rock band loudspeakers
MISSOURI—Anheuser-Busch “working people’s beer”
NEBRASKA—Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffett “The Oracle of Omaha”
NEVADA—Casinos “sexy gambling entertainment”
NEW HAMPSHIRE—Timberland “outdoor adventure wear”
NEW JERSEY—Caswell-Massey “America’s Original Soap and Fragrance Company”
NEW MEXICO—Santa Fe western arts
NEW YORK—Broadway “live theatre entertainment”
NORTH CAROLINA—Krispie Kreme “fresh donuts”
NORTH DAKOTA—Native American tourism and arts
OHIO—Proctor and Gamble “Touching lives, improving life”
OKLAHOMA—Phillips Petroleum “Live to the Full”
OREGON—Nike “Just Do It, get moving”
PENNSYLVANIA—Hershey’s “affordable chocolate”
RHODE ISLAND—Hasbro toys
SOUTH CAROLINA—Denny’s Restaurants “breakfast all day”
SOUTH DAKOTA—Mt. Rushmore tourism
TENNESSEE—FedEx “overnight delivery”
TEXAS—Whole Foods “Takes Your Whole Paycheck” (I’m joking)
UTAH—Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
VERMONT—Ben and Jerry’s “hippie ice cream”
VIRGINIA—Marriott Hotels “Travel Brilliantly”
WASHINGTON—Starbucks “coffee culture”
WEST VIRGINIA—“Almost Heaven” tourism
WISCONSIN—Harley-Davidson “road warriors”
WYOMING—Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks wilderness tourism
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU—Now, that we’ve looked at brands across America, let’s bring it back to you with these questions I have asked branding clients through the years:
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR NOW? For those in the 50-plus category, this may have changed for you over your adult life. You once might have been especially delighted to be known as someone’s spouse or parent—and you still may be—but you’ve layered your identity more now.
“If you became known as the world’s go-to expert on a specific topic, what would that be?” asked business journalist Caroline Castrillon, in “7 Steps to Create a Powerful Personal Brand,” (“Forbes Magazine,” June 2020). Castrillon continued, “What makes you unique? By leveraging your special gifts, you’ll be more likely to stand out from the crowd. Your personal brand should be an accurate reflection of your passions, skills, values and beliefs.”
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU is about managing how the world see you—now. Being aware of this can help you add joy to your life by UNITING your evolved, authentic self with others. Also, by showing the world your new, now self you open yourself to new opportunities for NEIGHBORING. People begin to think of you when their projects need someone with experience like a “creative brainstormer,” or a “compassionate mentor” or a “roll-up-your-sleeves gardener/builder/doer.”
WHO DO YOU WANT TO APPEAL TO—NOW? In advertising and product creation, we ask: Who is your target audience? Per “Fortune 500” brand strategist Re Perez at brandingforthepeople.com, you should ask yourself, “What is the perception that you need to create in order to appeal to the target audience you’re trying to appeal to?” Think here about individuals not some mass audience; what do those individuals need and how can you help?
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU needs a consistent message in all communication including social media and in-person activities. Find your unique voice, tone, personality and let those things “sing your own special song” as Cass Elliot, one of the creators of the entertainment brand, The Mamas and The Papas, reminded us in “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”
BE YOU in your BRAND NEW, NOW YOU—If you could only use one word to honestly-but-positively describe yourself, what is that word? Celebrate the unique individual product you have created. It would wear-you-the-heck-out to contrive some persona that isn’t YOU at all. People want to UNITE with real people. Don’t underestimate the public, they can smell fake brands from here to Milli Vanilli.
One word for my personal brand, “The JOYrontologist,” is: UNSOLEMN. However, some might say: ZANY. Several years ago, my older, wiser, loving brother told me he had always thought of me as acting a bit “zany.” ZANY?!! Moi? At first, that bugged the hell out of me. I wanted to be respected not just be a clown. Later, I realized my brother was exactly right and I’ve added “zany” to my personal brand mix. As “The JOYrontologist” I opted to not be a solemn gerontologist but to try to bring some smiles by amplifying the zaniness and add some joy to my target audience while sharing some serious ideas and information.
BRANDING BUDGET for BRAND NEW, NOW YOU—Unless you’re going to be launching your personal brand to generate revenue, you may not need to shell out any money. Business marketing can be a huge expense.
The award-winning, national advertising campaign I mentioned at the beginning of this article involved my convincing the corporate client to sponsor a NASCAR driver and team for a year, hire NYC-based graphic designers, produce television ads in Los Angeles and pay for lots and lots of expensive ad placement in print, television and radio. It paid off handsomely for my client, but most of us don’t have such deep pockets.
Today, promoting your BRAND NEW, NOW YOU on social media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok will mostly cost you the time it takes to create and refresh content. This suggestion could seem slightly old-fashioned, but to add a personal touch to your personal branding, I encourage you to consider some design-it-yourself notepaper and a quill. Fine, support their brands and buy a Sharpie from Office Depot.
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU recognizes that each of us already has a personal brand whether we are consciously managing it or not. By thinking about the “NOW YOU,” you can intentionally optimize the joy in your life through “The S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) Joyous Aging System” elements that matter most to—YOU.
BRAND NEW, NOW YOU ODES FROM OTHERS
“Start my knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it…”—Krista Neher
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination.”—Sir Richard Branson
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”—George Bernard Shaw
“Brands should think of themselves not as storytellers but storybuilders. We plant seeds of content and let our community build on it.”—Am Pascal
“If no one hates it, no one really loves it.”—Jessica Walsh
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”—Warren Buffett
BIG BRANDS BEER LAFF
Three brewery executives walk into a bar. One from Corona, one from Coors, the other from Guinness.
The exec from Corona says to the bartender, “Give me a Corona, the best Mexico has to offer.”
Next, the Coors exec orders a Coors, saying, “Hand me the only beer in the world made with water fresh from the Colorado Rockies.”
Then, the Guinness exec walks up to the bartender and asks for a Coca-Cola.
The baffled Corona and Coors execs turn to him and ask, “Why didn’t you get a Guinness?” He replies, “Well, I figured if you guys weren’t ordering beers, why should I?”
JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK
Sept. 10—Arnold Palmer
Sept. 11—Julia Reed
Sept. 12—Jesse Owens
Sept. 13—Don Ho
Sept. 14—Jeremy Dunham (video game designer)
Sept. 15—Robert Benchley
Sept. 16—David Copperfield
EASY TANDOORI CHICKEN WITH YOGURT SAUCE—NEW YORK YOGURT
Each week, “The JOYrontologist” shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. This delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise of a long, healthy, joyful life.
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 4 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup yogurt, garlic, turmeric, ginger, 2 tbsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat.
- Transfer chicken to rimmed baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 160 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel apple and coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add cilantro and remaining 1/2 cup yogurt; season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce alongside chicken, with rice, if desired.
“The JOYrontologist” RECOMMENDS—a good wine to pair with tangy Tandoori Chicken is Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweilier German Riesling (Mosel) from 2018 which according to winemag.com “offers piercing pink grapefruit and lemon flavors…It’s delicious now but should improve through 2035 and likely hold further.”
1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS (continued)
802. Plymouth Barracuda, my first vehicle
803. Swanson’s frozen TV dinners
804. Evan Williams, my bourbon for four decades
805. Desilu Productions
806. Ford Lincoln Continental with the “saloon doors”
807. Woolrich, the feel
808. Playtex rubber gloves
809. Guerlain Imperiale cologne and the “bee bottle”
810. Uni-Ball roller writing pens
811. Schwinn bikes
812. Neatsfoot Oil for leather baseball gloves
813. Lemon Pledge, the smell
814. Saab convertible
815. RCA, long-playing vinyl records
816. Clorox, the smell
817. Mod Podge for decoupage
818. Jeeps, all the ones I’ve loved before
HAPPY BRAND NEW, NOW WEEK!
Read all the installments in this series at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/odes-to-joy-2022.