Stand By Your Brand (Part Two)
Here at Cronin Creative, we work with our clients on the various touch points – from design to messaging to strategic marketing – that make up their unique brand. Once you’ve put those elements together and established that authentic brand, however, it’s up to you to protect it. And make no mistake, some brands take this very seriously. Try using Mickey Mouse anywhere in your company’s materials, and you will hear from the nice attorneys at Disney.
Surprisingly, some of the biggest, most established brands in the world just let this stuff slide, diluting the meaning and the value of their brand and costing untold millions of dollars. One of the best examples of this kind of “asleep-at-the-wheel” policy would be the cotton industry. Once an unassailable product, “the fabric of our lives,” associated with purity and “natural fiber” quality, cotton has been hijacked to the point where a big brand like Cottonelle can incorporate the name and all it implies, while utilizing not one molecule of actual cotton in the product. The term “denim” is another example. Once synonymous with “cotton,” the term has come to mean “jeans,” whether or not they contain any cotton. Unlike those vigilant folks over at Disney, the cotton industry allowed this to happen.
With our planet in an environmental crisis and cancer-causing, man-made micro-fibers polluting waterways and clinging to clothing, cotton has an opportunity to tout its genuinely laudable qualities. Unlike man-made fibers, it’s totally biodegradable and naturally comfortable. There’s a lot to like about cotton. Somebody just has to let everyone know.
Another recent brand-related battle involved the dairy industry. After watching the word “milk” get co-opted and attached to everything from soy to almonds to oats, the dairy industry finally took action, lobbying hard for enforcement of a new definition of “milk” that excludes anything from non-dairy sources. That fight continues, but there’s a good chance that, due to their sluggish reaction time, the dairy lobby may be left “crying over spilled almond milk.”
You may not be a major corporation and you probably don’t hire lobbyists, but if you’ve built a brand based on the unique value you deliver, that brand is an extension of yourself and well worth protecting. The fundamental idea that differentiates you from the competition is yours and yours alone. Stand by your brand!