Dating the Brand for Valentines Day

KW Brand Blog ( gives us some brand advice appropriate for Valentine’s Day.  According to KW, brand strategy is more complicated than dating.  No wonder I can’t get it right.  For a timely perspective, keep reading.  And Happy Valentine’s Day.

Brand strategy is like dating, but on a bigger, much more complicated scale. It’s like this…

  • If you are one of two people on a deserted island, you probably don’t need a dating strategy. If your product or service is the only one in the market (i.e. no competitors offering or doing something similar), you may not need much of a brand strategy. If, however, you are one of many, you’ll probably need to do more than stand around and smile to get the attention of your intended…especially in a tough economy when customers are even more judicious about their selections.
  • If, like most organizations, you are one of a crowd trying to get someone’s attention, sitting on the curb and cat-calling every cute passerby on a busy street is unlikely to be successful (can we say “junk mail?”) You’ll need to know who you are and who you’re looking for to enhance the possibility of a) finding that market niche and b) once found, connecting with the people in it.
  • Relational success is enhanced when you know how to start the conversation once you’ve made the introduction. Do your homework and go much deeper than simple demographics (e.g. “she’s a woman and therefore MUST love the color pink and kittens.”). Good listening works for daters. In brand strategy, qualitative research is good for identifying the emotional triggers that tend to motivate customer behavior.
  • Loyalty and love are built on authenticity. The romantic comedy film genre has proven over and again that faking one’s way into a relationship is always a disaster; except that in real life it’s not hilarious and the love interest doesn’t always come back. The same is true of branding strategy. The strategy absolutely must be based on who you really are–your organization’s legacy, values, strengths, goals, etc. Marketing a false image of your organization only increases the number of people who will be disappointed when they realize the truth. So, identify your strengths and relax into them.  Or in other words, it’s time to validate and use that mojo of yours.
  • When I was a child, my mom ended her reading of fairy tales with a different twist. Instead of ending the story with a “happily ever after,” we were told that the prince and princess “worked hard and made their marriage work.” (My mom’s a smarty.) Marriages whose visions don’t extend past the wedding day don’t tend to last. Similarly, brand strategies that don’t extend past the first sale fail to cultivate loyalty. Good brand strategy must guide customers to and through the relationship. Keep it fresh, deepen and enrich the relationship, and keep it going.

The truth is that I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day; the pressure, the hype, the color pink, who needs it? However, the study of relational complexity and the pursuit of connecting and deepening the bonds between people, now that I can get into. Happy strategizing.

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