What Your Three Year Old Can Teach You About Branding

Sometimes we as adults make things complicated when they should be simple. Take for example branding. Ask a marketing expert and you’re likely to get a drawn out answer about equity, awareness, image, positioning, long term value and who knows what else. But, maybe there’s an easier answer….

We recently took a flight from Dallas to Boston on American Airlines. My three year old son had a great time looking out the window, ordering juice and watching other planes when we landed. Just another flight for Mom & Dad, then on to the vacation with little mention of the airline. Fast forward to yesterday as we’re driving through downtown Dallas. My son says “Hey Daddy there’s the airplane company, can we go see the airplanes?” Perplexed, I look out the window only to see the American Airlines Center and the signature “AA” logo prominently shining down to the freeway. That’s branding! My son had an experience with the AA brand that caused a connection and immediate recognition when he saw the same logo in a completely different place!

Now obviously there’s more to building a brand than simply throwing money at multi-million dollar sponsorships. A balanced effort of marketing activity, consistency and engagement are all critical to building a successful brand, especially for small businesses.

Start with small steps to build your brand like reviewing your logo placement and usage on your business. Is the logo the same on all assets? Is it stretched, skewed, crammed or just plain missing? If you have any sponsorships are they aligned with your goals and providing the right type of exposure? Then ask your employees if they know what your brand stands for. Further, are they empowered to back this up?

Just remember to keep it simple and focus on the client experience. If applicable, ask yourself “Could a child understand this?”. So, what are you doing to make your brand connect with three year olds?

– Matt

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