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Branding: As Taught By My Four-Legged Kids

Photo of a black and yellow lab.

We have two Labradors in my family — Bailey and Omar. Every night, my wife, Jennifer, and I sleep upstairs, and we close the two boys off downstairs in the mud room at the back of the house. It’s a comfy place with beds, toys, bowls and a dog door. Each morning, when I come downstairs that room is literally shaking. I open the door to reveal two wagging, whining, jumping, spinning, prancing, frothing, drooling Labradors.

And why do you suppose that is? Right. I’m going to feed them. But not only am I going to feed them, I’m going to feed them first. Before I make coffee, turn on the news, check my emails or do much of anything at all, I am — by God —g oing to feed them. This is the implicit promise I’ve made, the brand I’ve built.

My brand is: ‘The guy who feeds us FIRST!’

In fact, my brand goes even deeper. Not only do I feed them first, I do it in a certain order. I greet them, go to the closet, pull out their bowls, scoop in the food, set Bailey’s bowl to my left and Omar’s to my right, give them both a pat, then head to the kitchen.

Now, once in awhile things don’t go down that way. Maybe Omar has to go to the vet and isn’t allowed to eat. Or maybe I just decide coffee trumps dog happiness (sorry, boys). In any case, I change the order. And guess what happens? Bailey and Omar get worried. They follow me around. They run from me to the closet looking back expectantly, their eyes pleading, ‘But we thought you were the guy who feeds us FIRST!’

And this is exactly how your brand works with clients, because brand isn’t an ad, logo or person. A brand is a promise built over time through interactions and relationships. When you live up to that promise, your brand gets stronger. When you fall short, your brand weakens.

That’s why understanding the specifics of the promise you make to consumers, clients, prospects, stakeholders and others is so critical to branding and brand development. If you want a lesson in how we at PartnersCreative do that — the Tangible Brand™ — give us a call.

Or just swing by my house around 6 a.m. tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. You get the point.


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