Let’s face it. The branding tips you read on most blogs are not some great hidden secrets suddenly discovered by the author of that post. They usually involve common sense solutions that are relatively easy to discover but prove difficult to implement. We keep reading these posts hoping to find some new technique or insight that will make that light bulb go off in our head.
This weekend, I was watching The Mask of Zorro, and I had one of those moments. Zorro is a great example of how to brand oneself. Think about it. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word Zorro? His mask? How he’s all dressed in black? His sword swooshing through the air as he carves out his trademarked Z? If we called in a police sketch artist, chances are the drawings would look nearly identical.
Isn’t that what we want from our branding efforts? How did Zorro develop this image that’s so uniformly etched on our minds?
Successful Branding Requires a Consistent Image
When Zorro showed up to fight the Spanish government’s oppression of the people, he was dressed in his famous black cape, hat, & mask. Imagine how confusing it would have been if sometimes he showed up as Don Diego de la Vega (his true persona) with sword in hand ready to fight.
He didn’t, because he knew the power of Zorro was in the image. When he trains the new Zorro, he is careful to replicate this image. The new Zorro looked just like the old Zorro. This consistency is how branding is accomplished.
Your stationary, business cards, website, blog, and social media accounts should all have this same consistency. If not, you’re just confusing your target audience and frustrating your branding efforts.
Successful Branding Often Includes Something Unexpected
The character of Zorro was a unique hero in the western genre. It’s why we are able to easily describe him from head to foot. The image of him is seared into our memory.
Here are some of his unique characteristics:
- He was part of the aristocracy he fought against.
- He broke the law instead of enforcing it.
- He hid his identity with a mask (yes, so did the Lone Ranger).
- He wore a black hat when all the heroes wore white ones.
- He used a sword instead of a gun.
Successful Branding Requires Others to Spread the Word
The image of Zorro was only effective because his exploits were spread among the masses. Yes, he had a great image. Yes, he had several unexpected characteristics. Without actions to attach to these though, his brand would’ve been worthless.
You have to give your target audience something to talk about. Write great blog posts that solve their problems. Organize events that help some cause that’s important to them. Most of all, provide outstanding quality in the goods or services you provide.
You knew where Zorro had been because he would carve his Z in a conspicuous place – usually on the face of his enemies. It served as a reminder of what he had done for the people. What type of Zs are you leaving behind?
What else makes the branding of Zorro so effective? If we polled your target audience, would we get a consistent brand image like Zorro’s? Where do you struggle in keeping consistency in your branding efforts?