“Did I tell you about my new gig?”

If you’d asked me last month if I’d like to go to White Horse, I’d have said – no thanks, how about Tofino? But things change. Ian, my #1 son, just moved there to apprentice as an aircraft mechanic. Now I”m dying to go see him in White Horse. My desire to see him has re-ranked some other priorities in my life and the trip will subtly alter my perspective of Ian, myself and all sorts of other things along the way. As brands move through time and space their relative value, utility and capability change. As such, it’s important that we use insightful qualitative and quantitative research to track changes to the brand persona as well as changes in demand to enable us to understand how to keep the brand we manage relevant to our constituents. Changes can come  quickly – and obliquely – altering the brand terrain as quickly as Ian altered mine with his 10 word text message: “Did I tell you about my new gig in White Horse?”

H. Wehrmann+Residual Brand Value

The other night my wife and I met my sister-in-law, her son and a bunch of friends at a pub to honor Henry, my brother, who died ten years ago. It was a wonderful evening. The following day it got me thinking about great brands and residual brand value.

  • I can think of household brands like Tide and Sunlight that I’ve known for more than 50 years. If they stopped advertising it would take years for me to lose ‘faith’ in them and substitute those with other brands on my shopping list.
  • I can think of business brands like HP that I began using about 10 years ago. We now have three HP computers and four HP printers. I like HP because the products do more than the ads promise they will.
  • American Idol is now in it’s 10th season and is gearing up to create a handful of new brands. Their association with Ai as well as all the air-play Ai gets will keep these new brands top of mind for a short period of time. And as long as the brands are heavily promoted, fresh brands like Adam Lambert will hold my attention. But once the promotional engine stops – they drift off of my radar screen.
  • I can also think of brands like Dr. Martin Luther King: brand that will grow, not diminish, over time because the brand’s message was and continues to be so relevant to so many.
  • My brother Henry is like other good personal brand. In his time he gave so much of great relevance to so many that the ripple effect of random acts of kindness and common sense will keep him alive and well for years to come.

Transition zones and periods

Spring is a real mixed blessing for me and Charlie. As the snow melts we find balls that have been there for months, as well as little wild things that didn’t make it through the winter, dog waste, human garbage, mud and, well – you get the picture. All that yuk is enough to make me yearn for a fresh July afternoon – 1/2 hour after the thunderstorm rolled through – or a clean crisp ice-cold winter afternoon.

And then it struck me: seasonal transitions (read spring and fall) are always messy. Personal and corporate transitions are as well.

Transitions have become much easier for me because I’ve learned that neither the good times, nor the bad times last forever, and that at the macro level we are all ‘brands in transition’.

Look at your brand as one that is in transition and give it the opportunity to become more relevant, current and the permission to deep-six the attributes that have become irrelevant to the brand’s essence.

Happy Valentines Day - F!


What you are saying is not wrong, but . . .

Dear Abby,

For the last two years I’ve been trying to help one of my clients understand that all we say and all we do helps our clients believe that they have come to the right place – or the wrong place.  So today he sends me a contact report for a meeting that he had with one of his clients. Buried in the contact report was this gem: ” . . . a co-worker said to her “what you are saying is not wrong, but the way you are saying it makes us all not want to listen to you.” While the fact that he made this entry in his contact report suggests ‘he heard it’, I still don’t think he gets it.

What now Abby?

I’m running out of time and patience. How do I make the ‘clapper’ connect with the bell!?