I drive a Jeep. I have, for most of my life, owned one kind of Jeep or another.
It started with a 1979 CJ-5. It was a big, mean, off-road machine.
When our first was born, my wife made me sell the old CJ-5. Apparently 35 inch tires and a soft top wasn’t going to work with a car seat. So we bought a ’94 Cherokee that served us well.
Next was a Jeep Liberty. It was black with bad-ass fog lamps on top that only got used once, when we needed extra light for a street hockey game that extended into the evening.
When we lived in the Caribbean, we went for the classic Wrangler soft-top. I bought it used, and the previous owner of this particular Jeep was fantatical about dolphins. So much so, that she had them painted on the side and the hood. I bought the Jeep thinking I would have the dolphins painted over, but never got around to it. Promise to never use this picture against me… seriously. As a man and a Jeep owner this picture is highly disturbing.
Back on the mainland a few years ago we bought a Jeep Patriot with nice leather heated seats and a sunroof. No sea-dwelling mammals. And we loved it, but it just didn’t feel “Jeep” enough for me.
So now I am driving a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Four doors, two tops, and all the off-road capability of the original. Doubtful I’ll ever drive it on anything more challenging than a dirt road, but still good to have.
What’s my point?
The cars we drive say things about our personalities. Seth Godin, in All Marketers Are Liars, would say that the car we drive reinforces the lie we choose to believe about ourselves. Driving a Jeep reminds me that I’m adventurous, take the road less traveled, and don’t want to have myself confined by a roof. I might never actually go off-road in my off-road truck, but I like to think I’m the kind of person who goes off the beaten path.
Music is the same. It helps define you… and your brand.
Do you think Lennon was the true genius behind the Beatles, or was it McCartney?
Are you a Stones person or a Beatles person?
Where were you when you found out Kurt Cobain died? John Lennon? Jimi Hendrix?
Did you go see “Mama Mia” because you wanted to, or because she wanted you to go?
Which early 80′s British band was better: Duran Duran or Iron Maiden?
Does “Seasons In The Sun” make you reflective, or nauseous?
Did you think Alanis Morissette circa 1995 was angry and scorned, or just bitchy and whiny?
Although these questions are personal, it is a very cool exercise to put them to your company or product.
What song would be your brand’s theme song? Who would you get to sing it?
What concert venue would your brand play, Bonnaroo or Radio City Music Hall?
When your brand plays live, do girls flash their breasts or flash their camera phones?
Using these human terms can really help you define your brand.
You won’t ever market yourself in those terms, but by defining your brand in human terms you start to give your brand qualities that people can identify with and relate to. People don’t bond with corporations or mission statements or companise. We bond with other people, who share similar values and experiences.