Branding Tips: Is Your Brand an Elvis or a Ricky?

When Elvis Presley first stepped on the world stage and released “That’s Alright Mama” with Sun Records, his rhythm & blues style was immediately recognized as the next new sound.  Within weeks, this debut song climbed the charts and Elvis began his ascent to the throne of rock & roll – a genre he would help to define.

Elvis’s good looks, charm, charisma, and talent had women swooning over him and men wanting to be him.  His personal brand not only represented him, but an innovation, a movement, an era, and so much more.  The Elvis brand continues to influence American pop-culture even today.

So what about Ricky Nelson?  By many accounts, he possessed the looks and musical talent of Elvis.  He was arguably a better actor and enjoyed decades of notoriety; but where Elvis gave people something lasting that they craved, Ricky Nelson gave them something momentary that they wanted.

What’s your brands story?

Could your brand hold a small audience captive for 10 seconds?  Could it hold a large audience’s attention for centuries?  The Elvis’s of product brands such as Coca-Cola have engaged generations for over a century with their story; past generations picked-up a Coke and a smile, where this generation opens happiness.   Other kings of branding such as McDonald’s have given past generations a break they deserved and this generation a reason to say, “I’m Loving It.”  Brands such as Merry Go Round clothing stores offered the teens of the ‘80s cutting-edge clothing; but in the mid-90s, it gave teens a reason not to ride.

Next time you are planning out your marketing, put aside for a moment the blasé, insipid talk of metrics, conversions, budget, etc.  These are important topics, and you will get to them.  Think first about what story you can’t wait to tell and what your audience is craving to hear.   Think about how to turn your story into an enduring legend that is constantly reinvented rather than just a remembered star.  Think Elvis not Ricky for your branding.

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