Friday, October 14, 2011

Branding, Branded, Brand-Pa

Seen on the uptown 59th St. Lexington Ave subway platform, a young woman waiting for the #6, intently reading a book: 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding. It's comforting to find something in this world that's immutable.

We imagined a couple of these Laws, while waiting for the same train:

1. When branding, you want to be sure that the little guy's legs are tied real tight. You don't want that little cow to brand you where it will hurt for a very, very long time. Branding should be fun...and safe. Ride a fast horse, buy the best rope, and use an iron with a long handle.

2. Sometimes you should place your brand on a shelf along with your own similar looking brands and those of your competitors, just to have some fun with the customers. For example, mix the real Cranberry Juice among the 231 other kinds of flavored "cranberry juices:" your own and competitors'. The customers' initial confusion and anger about this will pass, when they finally do find the one marked Cranberry Juice. Good for a laugh, and hey...

3. Remember. It's your brand, not theirs.

The train arrived before we could imagine the other Laws; we'll save them for another rainy day.

"A touch more drama, a touch more luxury, a touch more sophistication but still totally J.Crew"
-Jenna Lyons, President and Executive Creative Director, the J in J.Crew.

We consider the J.Crew catalogue of the past few years to be a something more than just a catalogue or a walk through Ally McBeal's closets. At its best, it approaches an art form and at its worst seems like a fan mag for J.Crew's Jenna Lyons herself.
Ally, Jenna's Muse?

But, what's truly startling to us about the September 2011 catalogue, which we've just gotten around to looking through, is that we can add at least one more thing to say about what we expect from black people. In 144 total pages, 107 of them for women's clothing, shoes, accessories and wedding stuff...not a single black American.

Immutable Law #4: Be careful that you don't allow yourself to get so caught up in your own brand that you get branded as something beyond your control. It's hard to undo a brand.


Brand-Pa? Sir Paul, We love you, but what's with the hair color? When one is Seventy-ish, and one has one of the most famously branded former mop-heads of hair in history, don't you think it's a little late to have the same color as your also-famous much, much younger daughter?

Yea, yea, yea.


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