There he is, sitting at the other end of the bar all alone. Young, hip, well dressed and he smells nice too. Your friend leaves you for just a brief moment to use the restroom and in a New York minute he appears. Avoiding eye contact won’t help you now, not even a thousand ‘Hail Marys’, not even accidentally spilling your drink; that will only give him an in. It’s your worst nightmare, it’s Marlon Brando.
He starts his pitch with well seasoned ease and the verbal agility of his silver platted tongue, “Hellooo. You can call me Brando, Marlon Brando. I couldn’t help but notice you’re all alone in this ‘marketplace’. You’ve got a real niche here baby and I can help you to capitalize on those assets of yours; I mean, you’re spilling over with brand equity”.
It’s too late now, the iceberg has struck, the Titanic is sinking, the lifeboats are long gone. Don’t bother to speak, he’s got you in his sights, you’re in it for the long haul. Mr. Brando takes a seat, making sure to flash the expensive Rolodex on his arm, showing you he has worked with the biggest and the best. He’s good, real good.
“As I was saying baby, I picked up on you. You know why? Cause I can see that you’ve got potential, but it takes a guy like me to help you explore your brand definition. I can really help with your brand recognition, I know all the right brand positions”.
It’s no secret that our good friend Brando is smooth as silk, but don’t let him get near your drink; you might wake up in the morning regretting your new found brand identity and he’ll be long gone, off to his next ‘client’.
Is branding a dirty word? It shouldn’t be. But beware the Marlon Brandos of the world. Industry jargon, vernacular, slang and ’shop speak’ aren’t necessarily bad things. A good mechanic might throw around some terms you don’t understand, they have to speak a little Latin to you. But a good mechanic, like a good branding firm, will also translate for you; show you the parts that need to be fixed, define why they don’t work anymore and explain how the new ones will get the job done.