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Every great brand has it. It isn’t visible to the naked eye, and you can’t account for it in any spreadsheet or P&L statement.
And for that reason, if your brand is left in the wrong hands it is sure to be lost. Haven’t we all seen that happen? A great brand is taken over by a new CEO or purchased by a new company that just doesn’t “get it”. For no apparent reason, the brand starts to slide and eventually fades away.
That’s what happens when a brand loses its soul.
As Dodge prepares to roll out their new line up of 2011 vehicles, “soul” is what they are striving for. Ralph Gilles is the CEO of the Dodge brand. He told the Wall Street Journal “I’m a big believer in cars having souls, and these do” as he showed off the latest Dodge products.
I’m not convinced Dodge is the best example of a brand that is full of soul. On one level, they are the “power” brand with their famous Charger, tough Hemi engines, rig-styled Ram trucks, and Durango SUVs. On the other, they are brand famous for perfecting the minivan, a vehicle that is impossible to position as powerful. To that end, they will soon be revealing their “man van“, a minivan injected with testosterone. Full points for striving for soul, though. It’s a good mission.
Great music is all about soul, too.
In the recent documentary about the making of “Darkness On The Edge of Town”, Bruce Springsteen talks about the lengths they went through to create a drum sound with soul. They spent, literally, days upon days in the studio trying to find the perfect sound for Max Weinberg’s snare drum. Other musicians waited for the phone call to come in and lay down their tracks, but the call never came. Bruce was busy finding soul in his drum sound. He eventually found it, and proceeded to record an album chock full of soul on every level.
Does your entire team understand and respect the soul of your brand?
Great brands recognize it, salute it each day when they come in to work, and steadfastly refuse to let it be compromised.
After all, human beings have soul. We connect with other living, breathing creatures. We don’t connect on the same level with inanimate objects lacking a soul. If your brand is perceived as having soul, imagine the depth of emotional connection you can create with your customers.
That connection will take your brand to “The Promised Land”.