In the background, HLN played on the hotel room TV. I was only paying passing attention while working on a project. Then a commercial came on that captured my attention. It was a message from the people of Japan, thanking us for supporting them in their time of need.
A massive earthquake and tsunami is hardly an opportunity for traditional branding, but I think what Japan is doing in this case is brilliant. The message is a simple “thank you”, but the visual paints a portrait of a beautiful country with warm, gracious people. The visuals are not scenes of devastation but rather inspiration. These commercials not only said “thank you” as intended, but they also subtly started to rebuild Japan’s image as a tourism and business destination.
A brand isn’t built just your commercials or your slogan or your logo. A brand is built on how you carry yourself. It is the result of everything you say and do.
This commercial sends a powerful message about Japanese qualities: Gratitude. Respect. Honor. Debt. Responsibility. Strength. Resilience.
Like a person’s character, maybe a brand’s character is best measured in troubled times. How your brand handles itself when it’s down say a lot.
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