Many times when I talk to an audience about branding, I tell them they have a relationship with their toothpaste. After getting a few chuckles, I proceed to convince them about this metaphor and about brand loyalty.

Every time you go to the store, you make a conscious effort of what you buy and in particular what brand you buy. (They don’t call it brand marketing for nothing.) When you need toothpaste, you probably go to your favorite store (first brand) and go to the health and beauty section. There you stand amongst 20-100 brands all screaming at you to, “BUY ME”. (They don’t literally scream, but the packaging is sometimes really convincing.) Each time you go, you find your toothpaste that you’ve used for years and continue on with your shopping adventure. Now, lets think about that moment. Did you consider using a toothpaste from another company? Probably not because you’ve used Crest, Colgate or some other brand most of your life. You are part of that brand community and brushing your teeth would not be the same with any other toothpaste, right? I told you that you had a relationship with your toothpaste as you probably do with your shampoo, coffee, cereal, and the vehicle you drive. The goal for you is to figure out why your clients are a part of your brand community and how to attract others to be a part of your community. Let’s take another step back, we all like being part of a community, but we all hate being sold to. Did anyone ever really sell your toothpaste to you? Probably not, you can probably blame your parents for making that decision for you when you were a kid and you never switched.

People blow off brand marketing as hog wash until they cry about their local stores closing like here in New Orleans with the loss of K&B Drug, Schewagman’s Grocery Store, McKenzie’s Bakery, Maison Blanche Department Store and other brands that were a part of your life. Now do you believe me that branding is just stupid marketing fluff?