“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something, You have to do something” This quote comes from the late John Lewis. What a man he was. Georgia Congressman serving our government for over 30 years, protégé of Martin Luther King Jr., inspiration to Barack Obama to run for office, family man and so much more. I wanted to dedicate this blog today to his memory. This legend was an an agent of change. A Civil Rights leader who fought til his last breath for what he believed in. His passion fueled around equal rights for African Americans and people everywhere. An icon. John Lewis and many others like him: Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill And Malcolm X to name a few, were not only heroes but they were brands as well.
So many people, entrepreneurs and businesses question “why are brands important”? Let’s explore that a little further in the context of people who have impacted the world through their vision, mission and purpose. Think of some of the famous leaders you know that have or are changing history and have influenced you in one way or another. Maybe your thinking about someone you personally respect and admire. Why do you respect them? Are they valuable and contributing figures to society? Do you recognize them when others reference them in editorials? When you hear their speeches or talks, do they inspire you and others? Like icons in our lives and history, creating a brand for our products and services identify what our businesses stand for and the impacts our products or services will make to society. Like these prestigious figures that we respect, branding makes you and your products and services a valuable asset to others. Through your branding, you ensure that your products will always be promotable, valuable and recognizable while also solving a problem for your target audience. Brands are meant to inspire. Here’s where some Entrepreneurs might go wrong though. They fail to realize that if people can’t recognize you or know who you are or tell you apart from a competitor, how can that brand serve its target audience in a way that is profitable for the business owner and impactful for consumers?
Think of a brand that you use and support. Some of them might be Brands like Apple, Mercedes, Coach and McDonalds. Each of them have developed themselves as leaders in their space by having a logo that people around the world can recognize. They have established their purpose, mission and vision which identifies what they do to support others and explains their Why. Like Civil Rights icons, their journey includes serving people in a way that differentiates them, changes lives or sets them apart from their competition. Granted, brands can run the gamut and represent things from fun and leisure to political organizations but the fact still stands that they differentiate themselves in a way that forced people to see them as valuable. Like icons, they make a mark on the world and stand firm on their mission and promise to serve the people who subscribe to or follow them. That is what a brand does. It is your mark. It represents what value, promise, mission and purpose you are using to serve those who need your services. It elevates and distinguishes you from others that may have a similar purpose. It represents the why that compels people to become more intimate with it through sales. Like your name and personality, your brand is what makes you unique. Now, while you could live in this world without a name and personality, think about how hard it would be for people to refer to you or tell you apart from someone else? Branding helps businesses stand apart in the a world where products and services can be a dime a dozen. Don’t you want to be promotable, recognizable and valuable to your target audience? Branding is going to create that positioning for you.
So if you ask me, is a Brand important, I wouldn’t hesitate to say YES! Your brand represents what you stand for! The way you want to support others. Your voice, your ability to stand up and say something. It’s your creative dream come to life. People buy products because those products speak to their emotions, tug at their heart strings and solve a problem for them. Just like respected icons, they inspire people emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually. Having a branding strategy is your mark in The world. We all have a purpose in life and that purpose is part of your brand that deserves to be shared with the world.
So to ALL the leaders out there, dead or alive, Thank you. Thank you for being a brand that inspires. Thank you for bringing additional value to the world. Thank you for not sitting still but for promoting what you believe would change the lives of others. Thank you for making your life’s mission recognizable through changed lives, editorials, speeches and actions. To all of you, you have changed the world of marketing and branding in ways never imagined, my hat goes off to you. You redefine the meaning of branding everyday. And especially to you John Lewis, today, I want to remember to thank you for being a voice that resounds for days and years to come. May your light and brand continue to change lives and inspire the best in all of us. Rest in Power!
Esteemed Politician and Civil Rights Leader