Blog

Caine’s Arcade: Great Brands are Great Storytellers

This week’s viral sensation was Caine’s Arcade, the story of 9 year-old boy who built a cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store. It’s the kind of story great writers conjure – except it’s true, and it provides great lessons for storytelling and branding.

Caines Arcade

Caines Arcade

1. For a story to connect, it needs to be real.

9 year-old kid, summer vacation, nothing to do, so he builds an elaborate arcade out of cardboard in his dad’s store.

He doesn’t mope about. When Caine wants a claw game, his dad says, “why don’t you build one”? So Caine builds a claw game.  No helicopter parents. No carefully crafted messages. No Disney production value.

Just a real kid, with a great big imagination and incredible focus. And when the arcade becomes real to a bigger community it’s much more than a flash mob event, it’s a story of vision, perseverance, and imagination. If there’d been any question of Caine’s authenticity – if it looked like dad did the work, or that the video had been overtly staged, the story would fall flat.

2. For a story to connect, it needs to be told.

What are the odds that a filmmaker would be Cain’s first customer? Pretty small. He was lucky. And, to be honest, the filmmaker was pretty lucky too. You don’t find authentic, simple stories everyday. That’s why they’re so powerful when you do find them.

For a story to connect with a bigger audience, it needs legs. While the subject is one boy and his homemade project, it’s bigger than just that. It’s about believing in a dream despite all obstacles.

Brands are rarely lucky enough to have their story “discovered,” and overt attempts to capture attention often ring hollow.  The greatest brands figure out how to connect with authenticity, telling their stories in a way that resonates and enables others to embrace them.

3. For a story to have impact, it needs to engage.

Great stories engage their audience and ask something from them in return. The genius of Caine’s Arcade is that it asks for you to believe in small miracles and the simple genius of a 9 year-old.  It has worked, and quickly – people have donated over $140,000 to Caine’s college fund. He didn’t ask for it. It wasn’t what he set out to do. But his story inspired people to action. Brand stories are about more than selling or promoting a product or service – they inspire and engage their audience to believe in something.

Caine’s Arcade is a great story. It gives us hope that imagination and perseverance will prevail in an often cynical and manufactured world. It also is a great lesson that the best stories are real, easy to tell, and inspiring.

0
2

Brand Positioning: How Many Brands Are Too Many?

For companies looking to successfully achieve positive brand positioning, a good rule of thumb is “the fewer brands a company has, the better.”

Without discipline, brands tend to proliferate because as new products or services are developed, it is natural to want a unique name, logo and story to rally behind. In some cases, this leads to confusion, with too many brands for customers to distinguish.

The more brands you have, the more expensive it is to keep those promises distinct and relevant in your audiences’ mind.

Do you want to improve your branding and corporate identity efforts? Marshall Strategy has a proven track record of making a difference for our clients. Make a business inquiry today to find out how Marshall Strategy can do for you. Find out what we’re doing in the social world by “Liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel. Also, find us on LinkedIn and follow our blog for more useful industry information.

0
0

Branding vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between branding vs. advertising campaigns? And, is it smart to have both a brand agency and an advertising agency for your business?

Do you want to improve your branding and corporate identity efforts? Marshall Strategy has a proven track record of making a difference for our clients. Make a business inquiry today to find out how Marshall Strategy can do for you. Find out what we’re doing in the social world by “Liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel. Also, find us on LinkedIn and follow our blog for more useful industry information.

0
0

Brand Identity Personality Should be Behavior-Based

Brand Identity PersonalityBrand Identity Personality
Last year’s loss of Steve Jobs was a real-world test of the effect an iconic personality can have on a brand’s identity. Many people wondered if the Apple brand would be as valuable without him. There is already strong evidence that Apple’s strong organizational culture and focus on insanely great products will continue after Steve. If Apple can stay true to its promises, it remains a valuable brand, vs. a brand dependent on one man’s personality.

It’s not unusual for an emerging company’s brand identity to be connected to a charismatic or visionary leader. Tony Hsieh with Zappos, Jeff Bezos with Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, and Richard Branson with Virgin are all great examples of such brands. The real challenge for a brand, however, is to be recognizable, relevant and meaningful over time regardless of who is in charge.  Corporate identity should be built through shared organizational philosophy, not solely on a leader’s personality.

For a brand to survive in the long term, its leaders must embody the values of the company, not the other way around. Any company whose identity is linked solely to an individual should move away from being a personality-driven brand and move toward being a behavior-driven brand. Behavior-driven brands reflect how the company, its product, and its people, fulfill their promises. These behaviors can be inspired, or introduced by a strong leader, but must also be deeply embedded within the culture of the company to be sustainable over time.

Many companies have proven that they are fully capable of maintaining a strong brand without always having high-visibility leadership. Richard Branson is instilling sustainable differentiation for the Virgin Brand—building the “Virgin Experience” into a variety of existing products and services.  Nike adopted 11 core principles based on the vision and leadership of Bill Bowerman, but not dependent on his personal stewardship. As a result, both brands are associated with delivery of a clear promise, and not solely with the constant public presence of their founders.

Brands achieve greatness when people—customers, employees, and investors alike—feel an affinity to the product and want to be associated with it – not just with its founder or leader.  Companies with highly-visible leaders need to clearly show that the company as a whole embraces a singular vision, and doesn’t just rely on the cult of one personality.

Marshall Strategy

Do you want to improve your branding and corporate identity efforts? Marshall Strategy has a proven track record of making a difference for our clients. Make a business inquiry today to find out how Marshall Strategy can do for you. Find out what we’re doing in the social world by “Liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel. Also, find us on LinkedIn and follow our blog for more useful industry information.

 

0
0