It’s not “What’s your brand?” It’s “Where’s your brand?”

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Everyone has heard the word “branding,” but no one really understands what it means in terms of its everyday power — not even the people who write books on it.

Let me give you an example. I was at the Omni Houston Hotel in Texas. When I went into the shower in the morning, I dried off with their huge towel. It was big, and real pretty. I thought to myself, “Boy, this is a nice towel. I think this towel might be as nice as the ones I use at home. Maybe even a little nicer.”

So I went downstairs to my seminar and asked 150 people in my audience who were also staying at the hotel, “How many of you bathed this morning?” (I suggested everybody raise their hand, even if they didn’t bathe, to pretend like they did.) I held up the towel from my room and asked, “How many people used this nice, fluffy towel?” Everyone raised their hand.

Then I asked, “How many of you thought to yourself, when you were drying off, Hey, these towels are better than the ones I have at home? More than half the audience raised their hands. I said, “I know this is a surprise to you, but sometimes people take this towel from the hotel and bring it home – without telling anybody. Yeah, they steal it. Isn’t that interesting?” (Large audience laugh.)

So, I mused with the audience, “How many towels do you think this hotel loses from people `taking them home’ annually? My estimate is about ten thousand a year. Ten thousand towels they lose, because someone steals them.”

Then I asked, holding up the towel, “When people get this towel home, how would they know they stole it from the Omni Houston Hotel in Texas?” I looked at the towel, and asked the audience, “What is missing?” And someone yelled out, “Their name!”  Right! People are taking ten thousand of these towels home and nobody knows where they got them. Is that dumb, or what?  Some lame-brain in purchasing said, “No, let’s not spend the extra 50 cents that it takes to put our name on the towel. Let’s be cheap, stupid idiots, and let people steal it without our name on it.”

What kind of lost branding opportunity is that? A BIG ONE. Why don’t they embroider the towels nice and pretty with “Omni Houston Hotel” and place a little sign in the bathroom that says, “Buy one, steal one free.” Why don’t they do that? Answer: Because they aren’t thinking. They’re not thinking “branding,” they’re thinking “cost of towel.”

I continued the lesson, “So a few weeks ago, I was at The Greenbrier. It’s a really fancy resort in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. I went into the bathroom, and all the towels have a `G’ on them. I’m thinking to myself,G.GitomerThey have towels with MY initial on them.Big fluffy ones. Right there in the hotel. So I took this one (I held up the “G” towel. Big audience laugh), I had to take it – it had my initial on it. I had to take it.

Even though they had great, embroidered towels right there in the bathroom, there was no offer to buy them. And just like the Omni Houston Hotel, they didn’t brand them either. I called The Greenbrier to pay for this towel and got a whole set. I didn’t care how much they cost, because they have the “G” on them. I also gave them my sales idea.”

Here’s my challenge to you: How are you displaying your brand on everyday items that others see, buy, or use — even if you have to buy the items from an ad specialty company?  It would give you the opportunity to become better known, and be in front of your customer every single day. The towel stays in the shower, the towel stays in the bathroom, and the towel is there for years. I see the name every time I use it. ASK YOURSELF THIS: Where is your name on the stuff that your customers will keep in front of them forever?

Let me share something with you. Not only can you create a memorable brand, you can also (with the proper branding item) make your competition hate your guts when they see it around town. Is that cool, or what?

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Comments

  1. Jeffrey,

    Only you could have stated this so well, thanks. My business is ad specialties a.k.a. promotional products or stuff with you name on it.

    It’s amazing how many businesses don’t grasp this concept as branding because they are focused on “cost of towel”. Those that focus on cost are short term business minded people and will lead their business growth to stagnate.

    I like to tell them to consider cost but invest in the future. Where do you want your business to grow? Thanks for the reminder and the lesson.

    John Prusa, CAS
    The Promotional Fool

  2. Great article! I wish more people understood the power of BRANDING!

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